Three years ago, on September 4th, Tom Fogarty passed away in a way I could have ever in a million years imagined. He was practicing bow hunting in the back yard, went down into the woods to retrieve a bow and was stung by several wasps. He's allergic, and it was just too much. I still don't believe it. Not a single day goes by where I don't utter the words in my head, "I don't believe it."
I try not to talk a lot about it because I don't want to bring others down, but the truth is sometimes talking about it might help someone else. You're not alone. Whatever you're going through, just know you're not alone. Maybe I'll share more here about my journey through all this, but maybe I won't. Right now though, I just want to share three things I've learned in the three years since he has passed.
1) YOU DON'T GET TROUGH GRIEF, YOU LIVE WITH IT.
I'm not over it. I'm not past it. I have tears in my eyes as I'm typing this. Grief is not something you get through. There isn't a start and end point to it. Grief is something you live with.
In the beginning, living with grief is like having the smelliest, messiest, loudest, most obnoxious roommate in your home. You always notice it, and it takes over you. No matter what you try to do, it feels like you can't escape the grief.
Then, that roommate starts to take a shower, they start to pick up after themselves, and they get a little quieter. But, they still do things to make sure you continue to notice their presence. They're just someone you can't ignore, and you can't kick them out either.
Someone once explained grief as going under a wave. At first the waves are huge and take all your breath away. Then, eventually the waves get a little smaller and learn to swim through them, but the waves are still there. Every single day I am hit by a wave, even three years later.
Ways that help me live with the grief is to talk about him, to say his name, and to laugh about the memories we have. I still try to think to myself, "what would Dad do/say/think?" when trying to make a decision. To keep him alive in our day to day life is a way I am able to live with the grief. I pray too. He's our guardian angel and I pray to him to watch over us. I also know I'll see him again. Faith and belief in Heaven is sometimes the only way to lift your chin back up in those waves.
Nothing ever prepares you for the loss of a loved one, especially a loss so unexpected but I have learned that you can survive it, you can grow through it, and you can even flourish through it. But my goodness... you don't ever get over it.
2) I THOUGHT HAVING A BABY WOULD MAKE MISSING MY DAD EASIER, BUT IT HAS DONE THE OPPOSITE.
It hit me on the day Everett was born. When my mom was there, all I wanted was by Dad to be there too. I wanted my Dad to see this amazing little human that joined our family. The worst part was when my Mom left the hospital. She went home without someone to share her pride and excitement with who would be just as excited and happy as she was. In this happiest moment of my life, it also felt like one of the saddest.
I thought having a baby would keep me too busy and too distracted to miss my dad. In a way, I think I was hoping that would happen. But, the truth is, it makes me miss him more. Oh, how he would get a kick out of our little man... I know they would be two peas in a pod. He's just as big of a goofball as his Grandpa.
Adding this new member to our family didn't fill part of the void of missing someone we love. It actually feels like it made the void bigger, because becoming a mom has made my heart grow exponentially. Adding more to the "Fogarty Crew" doesn't make his seat at the table smaller, it makes it more noticeable.
Since he's passed, our family has experienced a lot of things that make us all missing more than ever. He would be so proud. Two new babies, a wedding, two high-school graduations, job changes and so many other day to day things he would be encouraging us through.
3) WHAT YOU SAY AND DO MATTERS-- YOU LEAVE AN IMPACT
I catch myself saying things my Dad would say. One of my favorites is when my ears perked up at something he said while watching the Vikings get beat. The refs were always and easy target. "Those flag-happy bastards!"
I also catch myself making up things I'm pretty sure my Dad would say. I hear stories of people sharing memories of my Dad, and I realize I'm not the only one missing him. I realize his impact was far larger than the walls of our home growing up, the bonds of our family, or the ties to our friends... his impact has a ripple effect.
That's nice to think about, but also a brings with it a weight of responsibility. What you do matters. You leave an impact on the lives you touch. I try to keep that lesson in mind, and try to carry through the impact my Dad has made of the lives of others.
-- Act like you know the person when you see them... and be really excited to say hi (even if you don't know their name).
-- Give a person the time of day to talk to you. We all just want someone to listen to us.
-- Don't worry about the mess.
-- Let your creative spirit out, and do the things that bring you joy.
-- Give gifts that are made with your own hands, they show the greatest love.
-- Say yes if someone wants to do something fun with you. Stop with all the serious and take time for fun.
-- Get to know people, and do a favor without any strings attached.
-- Ask questions. Be curious about the person you're talking to.
-- Make jokes even if they aren't that funny. At least you get a kick of out it!
-- No one can do it the way you can, and there is no one else quite like you.
-- Don't be lazy. If you're going to do it, do it right.
-- Love your family most.
It's been a while since I've introduced myself, so let me take a second to do that now.
My name is Kelly. I'm a mom of a 10-month-old sweet boy, the wife of a baseball coach, the daughter of two amazing parents, and the little sister of two big-brother (and one sister) protectors.
I've found great love, chased down a passion to make it a reality, lost a parent at a far too young age, work through grief on a daily basis, struggled with body image issues, moved across the country, changed jobs, titles, roles and all those professional things... and most of all, I have found peace with my life and my journey.
I'm also a certified health & life coach. But, when I say those coaching titles, I don't think it accurately describes who I am or what I do. Here's what I really am:
✨✨✨I'm a Mindset Coach with an emphasis on health and business.
What the heck does that even mean?
I help women create healthy routines so they pour energy into their business and dreams like they've always wanted to!
This isn't where I started, though. Where I started is in the same place that so many clients start at when they work with me. My goal was their goal... to help them lose weight.
But over time & experience with coaching amazing women, something became SO SO clear for me.
Now, my goal is that we set new goals after the weight is lost.
Losing weight, dropping those extra pounds and removing those guilt feelings associated with "bad" food you actually really enjoy is just the starting point.
Then, something miraculous happens. When the stress related to our physical health shifts, we truly get a hold on a routine that feels good and a have a mindset of believing that we are actually really freakin' awesome, our focus magically shifts from worrying about weight loss and having zero energy to being obsessed about your dreams.
Yes, my clients have lost weight, but here's what else they have done too:
-- Become a morning person
--- Qualify for a less-invasive hip surgery option
--- Keep up with their kids while biking
--- Start knitting & making furniture.. doing things that bring them joy
---Shift from saying YES to all clients in their business because it's income, to actually choosing who they ideally want to work with... and say adios to the clients that are stressful & draining.
--- Apply for a different job
---Leave their extremely stressful job for one that is more aligned with what they actually want to do
---Dream. Like, actually take time to dream of what their ideal day will look like.
--- Join a gym because they want to, without worrying what people will think of them
I could go on, and on... and on. I'm so passionate about meeting women where they are at and helping them actually do the things they never imagined they could or would.
I'm passionate about this because that was me. Obsessed with my body. Obsessed about losing weight. Waging war against myself was the name of the game.
Then time, patience, practice, experimenting and being open to taking a different approach caused a huge shift. No longer am I obsessed about the number on the tag of my pants, but rather about waking up each day and doing what makes me feel giddy.
Do you want to experience this too?
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll set up a time for a FREE Breakthrough Session.
Last night as I was reading an article in a local newspaper and a piece of advice that my mom shared with me came flooding back into my mind.
This article was written by a friend of mine who is making a big transition in her life. When I saw the article I felt no sense of surprise about what I was reading. Instead, I felt a huge sense of pride for her. It was just over a year ago that a group of girlfriends were getting drinks together, talking about life and she began to have tears in her eyes about her career. Something had shifted. Something was different, and "right where she belonged" wasn't the feeling she had anymore.
As I sat there listening to her, my heart broke but also held so much hope for her. My inner cheerleader kicked it into high gear. The reason why it did so is most likely because at that time I was feeling exactly what she was feeling. For those close to me and those I work with, it's not secret that the last year was one of high stress, many unknowns and a roller coaster of emotions. So, as we sat there with our friend I felt like I was seeing a part of me in her.
A few weeks after that night out, I talked to her on the phone. She shared more about what her visions were for her life and a bit of the uncertainty around those visions. I shared mine with her as well. We both were in a place of discontent, but not quite fully invested in the idea of where to go next. Neither of us realized when hanging up the phone that it was this particular conversation that prompted me to dive deeper into my Health Coaching which led me to enroll and complete a certification program.
Last night when I read that article, I realized that was just a little over a year ago. That's it-- just one year ago we were two lost souls talking on the phone trying to find our way. Now look. She's on to the next big adventure and I'm getting more and more into my groove of helping people by doing exactly what I love. I don't know about her, but lost is certainly not the feeling I'm facing anymore.
My mom's words came to me as I reflected on this journey. "The time is going to pass anyway." This is a statement my mom shared with me when I was debating several years ago about whether or not I should go to Graduate school. It was a financial commitment, and more than that, a huge time commitment. In my heart I knew without a doubt this is what I wanted to accomplish. But my brain started making excuses... "It's going to cost money. I won't be able to spend as much time with my friends. I will have to spend my nights doing homework." Doubt, doubt, doubt. Fear, fear, fear. Then, my mom said to me "the time is going to pass anyway so if this is something you want to do, do it now."
She was so right. In the beginning, two years of grad school seemed like a huge commitment. Sitting there on the last day of class, I couldn't believe how quickly it flew by. I survived the homework, the bills and the classes. I made some really awesome friends in the process too.
Fast forward to the present time, and the same has occurred. I was scared to commit to a Health Coaching certification program. It was a financial investment. It was right before our wedding. It was while working full time. But, my mom's words came back to me.... "the time is going to pass anyway." So, squashing those doubts and the fears and I enrolled. I committed to it. I worked hard, and here I am.
Sometimes it feels like it's going to take forever to get what we want. Sometimes it doesn't fee like we've hardly made any progress at all. But in reading my friend's article last night it occurred to me that the last year of both of our lives is just a snapshot in time and the girls we were on the phone then are not the girls we are now.
If there is something your heart is being called to do, explore it. Find out more. Recognize if it makes you feel alive, excited and energized. If it does, girlfriend, you better go for it! That desire in your heart is only going to grow bigger and bigger... and you guessed it... the time is going to pass anyway.
Have you ever left the doctor's office feeling overwhelmed, a little lost, or even defeated?
We go in for a check-up, we learn something new about ourselves that we likely didn't want to, then the doctor makes recommendations for us to make changes.
They say it like it's just so easy. "You just have to cut out _____ (insert food group here). Here is a brochure."
We leave the doctor's office with the feeling of "this is it. No more. This time I NEED to make a change."
Then, somehow in that time between getting in your car, driving home, and walking into the house you sit on the couch wondering "what next?"
That's what happened to me when I went to the doctor for one of our first prenatal visits. I left with a 30-item to do list and a bag full of resources that I'm pretty sure weighed 12 pounds. When I got home, the bag sat there and the to-do list got mixed in with the rest of my lists. It was all too much. I didn't even know where to start.
Recently, one of my new coaching clients went to the doctor's office and had a similar experience. She was surprised to see the scale, the number was higher than she'd seen in a long time. She felt down when she saw that... like she just got punched in the stomach.
She also KNEW this time was going to be different. This is IS different.
When she went to the doctor's office this time she wasn't in a place of feeling defeated and lost. She was in a place of feeling in control, planful and ready to take action. Sure, the number on the scale took a second to absorb, but it didn't ruin her day.
Her doctor appointment was in between our first and second session. We'd already laid the groundwork of really putting our finger on what was slowing her down from making progress and identified what it was that led to this place of being the highest weight she'd seen on the scale.
We then came up with a plan. I shared with her a system to make changes... a system that is 110% customized and unique for her.
We then made some powerful goals. These goals we made are ones she is excited about. How do I know that? Because I listen to her. I HEAR her. What was an original idea for a goal was paired with a dull tone in her voice. After digging deeper and asking some questions her goals changed in the slightest and there was power & excitement in her voice. THAT is how I know the goals we set are right for her.
Instead of walking out of the doctor's office last week asking herself "how the heck am I going to cut out wheat from my diet?" (per doctor recommendation) she left feeling okay about it.
She left knowing she has a coach ready to help her shift from feeling overwhelmed about this fairly big lifestyle change. She left knowing she was ALREADY taking action to make changes in her life, and now she had more specific information about exactly what needed to change.
In sharing her doctor news with me, we met it in a place of "Okay, we can do this. What do we need to do in order for you to not feel deprived? What can we do to make this change last for good?"
What's one lifestyle change you've been recommended to make and it just felt like "TOO MUCH"?
Connect with me about it. You don't need to feel overwhelmed. You CAN make this change and you WILL feel amazing!
** side note: This client has already lost 3 pounds**
**I realize in sharing my opinion, I open up the opportunity for people to share their opinions or arguments with my opinions with me as well. This post is to explain my thought process journey of someone judging from the outside to someone now living the experience and learning from it.**
At nearly 23 weeks pregnant, this morning I had a thought in my workout class that made it all just click. You see, before being pregnant I would only form my opinions about working out during pregnancy purely from observations and what I read, not experience. Now that I'm in it, it's a little more clear to me.
My ah-ha moment this morning was:
Working out during pregnancy is more of mental game than it's ever been before.
Not only do I want to move in a way that feels good physically, but also in a way that I'm comfortable with mentally, and in a way that doesn't create anxiety. Let me explain...
I strongly believe in moving in a way that feels good. Before becoming pregnant, it would feel frustrating to me when I would hear of pregnant women not getting any form of exercise at all. My thoughts were "can't you just go for a walk?" On the other hand, it would also frustrate me when seeing women who would appear to be pushing it to their max well into their pregnancy. My thoughts were "How selfish. What impact does you pushing yourself this hard have on your baby?"
Looking back, I realize that was just me judging from the outside (yes, I admit it!) without having my own experiences to draw from. Now I get it. Now my thoughts on this topic are a bit more clear.
We all have a baseline from where we start. As someone who has built a pretty solid foundation (that I'm so thankful for) of working out consistently and moving in a way that challenges my body daily, working out while pregnant doesn't feel like something I'm struggling to continue with. What has been a struggle, however, is adjusting how hard I workout.
Lately my mental state is driving my workouts more than my physical state. I'm sure I could push it harder in my workouts if I really wanted to. Physically, I know I could do more jumping, and move a little quicker. Mentally, I don't want to.
You could tell me it's fine and it's safe and everything will be okay, but at the end of the day I'm going to choose what feels right for me. I don't want to jump a lot. I don't want to do fast moves. I don't want to lift really heavy. Why? Because it doesn't feel comfortable for me mentally.
In one of my pregnancy books, "Girlfriends Guide To Pregnancy" I read something that helped it all make sense. This book isn't a scientifically based book, it's more so one girlfriend talking to another about pregnancy, so please take my takeaways from it as just that. Basically the book states that nature is doing something amazing to your body. And, the human body is amazing in knowing exactly what to do. When we work to contract our muscles, maintain our previous fitness levels and fight against the amazing thing that's happening to us in a way to control our exterior physical state we are essentially fighting against nature. This in turn could create a more complicated delivery as our body has gotten used to fighting nature instead of giving in to it.
Instead of fighting against the miracle that nature has created in my body, I'm trying to lean into what's occurring. Instead of being fearful of what my body will look like after pregnancy and how long it will take, or how hard it will be to get "back to normal" I'm choosing to *try* to surrender to the process.
Is pushing my workouts to the max, getting red in the face and lifting heavier than I did before worth the anxiety that may come with what I'm doing to my body during this time while its working hard growing a human? No. To me, it doesn't feel worth it. Before I would workout without consequences, however now it's not just me that's impacted by my workouts, but our baby too.
Before becoming pregnant I wasn't doing Crossfit, lifting heavy and doing box jumps everyday. Why would I start that now? On the other hand, I wasn't sitting on my butt all the time. I worked out at least 5 days a week. So, why would I stop that now?
For this morning's workout, I didn't finish all four rounds prescribed like the "old me" would have. That's okay. I modified like crazy, because it's what felt right. I moved slower with intention and took several water breaks. I showed up and moved without any expectation or goal to finish in a certain time. I did what I could and left feeling physically pushed and mentally okay. Truly, that's all I'm striving for right now, and I'm good with that.
We are each different. We each have a starting baseline and varying comfort levels. What's right for me might not be right for you.... and what matters most is doing what feels good for YOU.
But today let's stay focused on the word "WILLPOWER."
We as humans naturally don't like being told what to do. We like to rebel. We like to be independent and do what we want. Wait?! Is that just me? Is that just my Taurus, bull-headed personality? Maybe that drives my rebellion a little further, but to be honest we all have some part of us that is like "don't tell me what to do!"
Think of a little kid. Try telling them what to do and see how well that goes. It's something that is a part of us from a young age.
And, you know what?! There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. Instead of seeing it as a problem or a weakness, I want to help you shift how to look at is as strength.
So, back to the statement "I need to work on my willpower." To me, that statement feels like there is something wrong with me, that there's an area of my life where I'm lacking or you need to improve, like I'm being told from an external source that there is something that you need to make myself better. It's a comparison-- I don't measure up like so and so. Or it can also be considered a term of endearment. "Look at ______, she's been looking fabulous lately! She must have really strong willpower." It implies that we are taking action because of negativity, not self-love or positivity.
But what if you're already really awesome? What if you know you are capable? What if you know you have strength to make good choices?
So, you might be saying "Okay, Kelly... so what's your genius idea to remove the word "willpower" from my vocabulary."
I want you to think about a word or statement that is empowering.
To me, that word is CHOICE. Notice what happens to your body when you say "I am capable of making choices that will make me feel good."
What do you feel? Lighter? Empowered? Excited? Motivated?
So today, I challenge you to identify a term you are using that doesn't feel good, and find a way to flip it into an empowering word or phrase.
YOU are CAPABLE of taking amazing ACTION!
To set up breakthrough session with me to talk about your goals and vision for your life, check out my calendar and find a time that works for both of us! I want to hear your goals, that big vision you have and help you identify ways to breakthrough those barriers!
Excuses. Low confidence. Second guessing. Stuck in a funk. Fear of failing. Not feeling "good enough" These are all things I've dealt with and I'm willing to bet you have to.
You know what, though?
Once I started just freakin' taking action things started to shift. My mindset started to change, I figured what is the worst that could happen and I just decided to start trying things. One of the best ways to gain confidence is to take action. MAybe I still get those fears but I don't let them stop me.
That's right-- do something-- one thing, you're nervous about doing and just freakin' do it!
It doesn't need to be nutrition or fitness related.
To help get the juices flowing, I'll give you an example.
Several years ago I purchased a nice Cannon camera because I LOVE taking photos and think there is just something magical about the treasure of a photo. When all is said and done, when our loved ones are gone and the "good times" fly by, having those photos are sometimes the only thing we can really hold on to. I would always think to myself that I was meant to be a photographer in another life. But then I realized, why not this life? Why not now?
So, fast forward several years and that camera that I used my hard-earned tax refund money on was just collecting dust. Sure I would use it from time to time, but I just wasn't sure how to use it. I wasn't confident with all those buttons, I didn't know how to operate it and just kept it on "automatic mode." I might as well have just stuck with using my iPhone.
But I really wanted to STOP having low-confidence with my camera. I wanted to overcome that fear of all those crazy buttons. I wanted to create beautiful images that so many other photographers capture as well. So, this spring I did it. I signed up for a photography class.
Pulling the trigger was both exciting and nerve racking. Once I signed up I wanted to start NOW because I was so excited, but it also made me nervous for several reasons. What if I'm in class with people who are really good? What if I spend all this time going to the class and then I just go back to "life as is" and don't use anything that I learned in this class?
So, instead of letting my nervousness and fears decrease my excitement for this course, I acknowledged them, decided that I'll figure it out as I go and used them to help me set up a plan. Now, fast forward a few months to when the class actually starts. The first week we learn about the three functionalities that are essential to getting off automatic mode. Our assignment for the week was to then go out, practice our new skills, take photos and then bring a few prints to class the next week to critique.
My first thoughts were "Woah, this is getting really real. We're actually applying our so-called skills." So, that week I set out on a mission and snapped a ton of pictures. I'll tell you it wasn't easy. Getting the light just right was a challenge and don't even get me started on my focus struggles. Come week two of the class and I bring in my images with my head hanging low. My pictures weren't the best in class, and in fact there were a few that I actually felt a little embarrassed about.
These are some of my raw, unedited photos that I took after class number one. While they're a start and I'm proud of that, I know now what TLC is required to make these images better.
But you know what? In reviewing those images I learned so much about what I could have done better, what went wrong in capturing that image, and how I can take control of my camera better next time to produce a quality image. It was like those so-called "bad" photos were just what I needed to become a little more fearless. I honestly don't think I would have learned as much had they turned out perfect in my first round of practicing. The light bulbs started going off in my head, "now I know what I need to do to fix this, that and the other." Had I hid my images from the teacher, I wouldn't have learned the lessons I now know to fix them. Had I not taken action, I wouldn't have any proof that I tried.
These are some of my raw, unedited photos that I took after class number two. A bit better than week two!
I signed up for the class without much knowledge of my camera. I did it anyway. I took some pictures and they turned out crappy. I took more anyway. It was through just taking action, just pulling the trigger that I gained confidence. Through my struggles I learned what I can do better next time... and that made me feel good.
Even if the the outcome isn't the way we envisioned it right away, it will get there. After class I set one small goal. The goal isn't even to practice using my camera each day, it was to leave my camera out. When it's visible I'll be more likely to use it. The more I use it, the more confident I become with it. It's through this process that I get closer to my vision of capturing the treasures of all that surrounds me. I'm still learning as I go, but I'm trying and practicing. I'm getting more comfortable with my camera through practice. The more comfortable I'm getting, the higher my camera-confidence is soaring.
These are some of my raw, unedited photos that I took after the class was completed. Each click of the camera brings more practice, confidence and treasures to last forever.
Are you looking to set some goals that ignite your soul and want to create confidence through action? Stay tuned as I will be sharing more about the "Just One Thing" program launch and accountability group coming soon!
Two weeks ago I saw this picture and I cringed. I almost deleted it from my phone.
Upon first glance of seeing this photo I was frustrated. “Why do my legs look so bumpy? In the front?? Cellulite is only supposed to be in the back? Why did I decide to wear shorts? Did I look like that the whole day? I should have worn pants… totally should have worn pants.”
Then, it occurred to me there is actually so much to celebrate about this photo, aside from the actual moment itself where me and my baseball man were celebrating a pretty awesome victory. The thing to celebrate goes beyond the image.
I want to celebrate the fact that shorts are being worn. I have always struggled with how my legs looked. Just a few years ago I would not be caught dead wearing shorts. Even if I were wearing them and looked confident with that choice on the outside, on the inside I was fidgeting and insecure. Not only did I think that my legs were so “fat” they are so terribly pale as well. Well, thanks to sunless tanner that is an easy fix (and let’s be honest…a little fake sun never hurt nobody!). And the idea that they “look fat” is just silly.
I want to celebrate what my legs can do. They’re strong, they take me places, they are always there for me when I need them. They can help me bring two bags of groceries up there stairs instead of one, and they I can squat heavy weights. They’re a blessing to have, regardless of how they look.
Even though there is much to celebrate, I still have my moments. But the thing that is different today is that I don’t let those cringe moments define me, bring me down, or change my perspective. The old me would have just felt like total crap after seeing that picture and probably would have gone for a run. But the me today is different, the me today saw it, had those thoughts and then just moved forward from that moment. When it comes down to it, those are my legs and that’s just how they look. I’m fine with it and the only one who really needs to be fine with it is me.
I created this platform to help others who have those same cringe moments too. Even though I show up here often to deliver a message of inspiration, empowerment or offer some form of nutrition and fitness advice, I still struggle. After many ups and downs in my own journey I still cringe at some pictures that I take of my body.
Today I’m not focused on the results, but rather the journey. I’m in the middle of a workout program that makes me feel strong, that challenges me and is like nothing I’ve ever done before. Sure I have goals to make tweaks here and there with my physique, but overall those aren’t what drive me to stick to this each day. What pushes me to stay consistent is how it makes me feel… and the coolest feeling of all is that I’m fine with a picture of my legs that don’t look quite how I pictured them to be.
That little, yellow, meaningless flower. The one that people call a weed. That was what made me cry today. The tears caught me off guard a little. I was just driving home from an errand in my car in the middle of the day. The song that was playing had no sentimental meaning. I just saw some dandelions and I cried.
Dandelions make me think of my dad. Well, really, dandelions make me think of my good friend and I know that's what makes her think of my dad. It was our junior year of high school. Amber came to my house to pick me up and we were going to pick out our flowers for prom. Leave it to my dad to always make a silly joke and say something that typically would make me shake my head. This time in particular, I didn't really pay much attention to what he said (what 16 year old actually pays attention to their parents?!) but Amber just started cracking up in the car on our way into town. "Your dad is so funny!" I was like "Oh jeez... why? What did he say now?" "He said we should save our money and just pick all those dandelions in the ditch for our flowers."
I still to this day don't really think that comment was overly comical, but I enjoy the reaction it created for my friend and the memory we now share. It truly represents my Dad's character. Just a silly guy looking to get a good chuckle out of people. Often times we would tease him for the goofy things he would say or do, but in reality it was admirable. Above all else, he always wanted to make people feel good. Even if it came at the cost of telling a barely funny joke. Amber can always smile now when she too sees dandelions. She can think of my dad and his big, kind heart. He had the ability of turning a weed into something beautiful.
Tomorrow, May 4th, marks eight months since the day I found out that I wouldn't get another birthday hug or text from my dad. It was the day so many of our worlds changed... most of all, my Mom's. This loss has been the biggest heartbreak I've ever had, and at the same time the biggest lesson life has ever given me.
In just a few days I turn a new age. No longer will I be in my 20's. I'll be entering the unknown of the big 3-0. To be honest, I'm really excited to turn that age... but just like most birthdays, this one in particular has me thinking about a lot. I've been fortunate to have an awesome life thus far, and know that great things are ahead. But, at the same time it hurts my heart and sometimes makes me feel bad. I'm mad that I have to celebrate another year without getting a hug, phone call, or text from him. I'm mad that while I'm not a young child that has lost their parent, this age is still too young to lose someone so important. I was never one to know what kind of ring I wanted, what type of dress I'd wear, or what the colors would be. The one and only thing I thought about for our wedding day was, "I wonder what sort of speech my Dad will say." I'm mad he won't get to hold our kids, wrestle around with them on the floor, or be the voice of reason when I feel like I've had it with one or all of them. Every girl needs her dad.
But wishing won't make it better, it won't make him come back, and it won't fill that void. Although I sometimes get mad and sad about things, I try to keep in mind the things he has taught us. Be kind to others. Make yourself look silly to make someone else smile. And for goodness sake... see the beauty in the dandelions. Heck, it'll even save ya a buck or two.
Today marks the longest time I have ever gone without seeing my dad. I think that thought often, as the longest amount of time I ever went without seeing him was maybe two months. Yesterday makes it five months and a day since he passed away.
Life does not prepare one for this loss, and honestly if there was a manual available like "How To Prepare For Your Perfectly Healthy Dad's Unexpected Death" I certainly wouldn't be buying it. I, like most people, live in the belief that things like that don't happen to me. During the last five months, the one thing that life has taught is that we are completely out of control. Sure, we can control what we eat, what we wear, the attitude we choose for that day, and many of the choice we make but when it comes right down to it we don't control when we go, and how.
A loss like this recently happened to another unsuspecting family, only it was their son. As I've been thinking about this family, I think back to "the week of Dad's stuff" (that's what I call the week of Dad's passing to his funeral). While one cannot compare the loss of a dad to the loss of a son, I can relate to the feeling of a shocking, unexpected, "freak accident" type of loss.
As I've been thinking about this, I realized one thing that helped me a lot was to know that I wasn't alone. That someone else had gone through this sudden loss too, that someone else hurt as bad as we all did, but seems to be "doing fine" today. I needed honesty from others who have been through this.
Yesterday morning I just couldn't sleep anymore, couldn't stop thinking of this family. So, I wrote them a letter. I've been going back and forth of if its appropriate to share this letter or not. Like am I making it about me and about my loss? I was strongly debating on if I should share it with the family when I got a sign. I stumbled upon a video of a gal who just lost her sister. In the video she talked about how sharing is healing, and sharing can help others through a tough loss. So, I've decided to share my letter with the family... and I'm sharing a modified version of it with you too.
The thought I keep going back to is "even if just one bullet point helps one person, then it was worth the send." So, here are a few things that I have learned in the last five months: