Artist, Writer, Widow and Creative Mentor
Today is my Dad’s birthday. It’s hard to believe he died 8 years ago. That eight entire years have passed, and so much more living has happened for me, since he died. It’s hard to believe I’ve been without any parents now for eight years. But it’s amazing to see where things have gone in my life since his death. Not only the good, but also the challenges and hardships. Not only have those struggles taught me more about myself, they’ve taught me so much more about my dad. You see, he was also widowed. It was a journey I never expected to go on that horrible day when I got the phone call that my fiance was killed in the accident. A journey of walking in my father’s footsteps in so very many ways. Of being able to see with new eyes the depth of his love for me.
My dad struggled with depression and alcoholism for most of his life. I watched it periodically destroy him, and strain our relationship in such complex ways over the years. But for a time, when I was between the age of 9 and 17, he was sober. He went to AA meetings weekly. And though I wouldn’t quality our life as normal or healthy by any means, he did create some semblance of stability in my life at a time when his had fallen apart.
The catalyst of his sobriety? My mom’s death. I don’t quite know how it all went down… whether he had begun to stop before she died, or after, or what the main motivator was. I wish today I could ask him those questions. I wish I could know… how on earth did you stop drinking? How on earth, when the love of your life had been ripped from you, and you were certainly plagued with guilt for how your addictions created unhappiness in your marriage and family…. How?
As I sat down this morning to take stock of the week, and search the corners of my mind for what to write about, I realized something kind of surprising, and pretty huge...
I’m not tired.
Holy crap, what? I’m NOT tired? What’s happening here? I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for a nap by 4pm most days, but I’m not talking about that kind of tired. I mean the kind of tired you guys all understand - the heavy-tired of grief. That dull, dragging, languid, energy-sucking kind of tired that I seem to have been carrying around with me ever since he died that summer in 2012. Today, right now, this past month, even in the busiest of times, I’m not feeling that particular tired.
I don’t know what has changed, but something very big has. I think a number of various things have really. Mike and I both started seeing counselors a month or so ago, and no doubt that extra support is helping us both. For me, having that space weekly to care for myself with my counselor has definitely taken a load off of my shoulders. A little daily yoga seems to be helping still too. But honestly, not much else has actually changed, except how I am seeing it all.Read more