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Holiday Reflections

It is a week until Christmas Eve. A week until I make moves to go see my family. Thankfully it is only a 3ish hour drive to my mom’s house, so nothing crazy travel wise. Leaving Zack behind and not getting to spend Christmas with him makes me sad. His job doesn’t allow for travel at the holidays, or much of anything else beyond work 100% of the time, so I suck it up. I wish it was different, and one day in the future it will be, but right now it makes me sad. Mostly sad because I like having him around, and being the first Christmas without my dad, I wish I could have him with me. Just for little things, like holding my hand or something.

I want to be in the holiday spirit, and some moments I am, but other times I just find it to be too much. Too much traffic. Too much of a hassle. Too much worry over “will this fit them?” Or “Will they like it” or other things along those lines. Christmas has just turned into a pissing match. Who can spend the most on things that people don’t actually need? What I need is some time with people. Time to sit and chat about the year. Time to share a meal that we made together. Time to laugh and cry if necessary. To just appreciate one another over some cookies and coffee or tea. I want to reconnect. To know you guys and who you’ve become this year is all I actually want for Christmas. Just had a thought about how excited I am to stand around my sisters kitchen and eat her homemade cheese straws and talk about nothing. Or sit around my other sisters living room and watch my niece run around babbling in her 2 year old language while the rest of us eat flavored goat cheese on crackers and share a bottle of wine from my brother-in-law’s vineyard. I can’t wait. I just long to have Zack by my side to do all the things. But alas, life doesn’t work that way.

2018 didn’t turn out to be the year I wanted it to be. Dad died at the end of February, and while things were going really well up until that point, it obviously caused a rift in the rest of the year. Dealing with him being gone has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Mind you, I’ve still got 3 grandparents, and the 4th I never knew, so I haven’t been burdened with the emotions of death in my close family, ever. I don’t know if I am doing it right, and I know there is no right, so either way I guess I am. Either way it is my journey, and I will do what I have to do, because it is all I can do. Each day is a new day, a new experience, like no other day.

I want to make 2019 about exploring and adventure. I want my relationship to grow. I want to focus on living my life, doing better for myself daily, and continuing to make my father proud. I struggle so much with focusing on myself. I have moments where it is all I do, and my yoga practice is on point, my stress is low, I’m writing daily, and putting forth great efforts to love and take care of myself. And this year it has been the biggest struggle. I’m ready to take that power back (even though it never left) and cultivate it into something. Nothing perfect, just something better. And I am promising myself now, in this moment, that I am worth so much to myself that I will take the time, listen to my body, expand my mind, and generally just focus on bettering myself. I’ve been a huge factor in my own isolation this year, and I’m not like that usually. Sure I’ve been dealing with some shit, but it is up to me to end the isolation. I don’t need it for any reason, and spending this time alone, away from friends, family, and Zack has been necessary I guess in some way. I needed a retreat. I’m done retreating. Being social and active again is necessary. Being a functioning person in the world! Motivated and alive again. It has been long enough. I get now why people back in the day would be in mourning for so much time. Years may have been a bit too much, but I completely understand the reasoning.

So, 2019 a year of adventure and excitement. A year dedicated to bettering myself. A year dedicated to not being a hermit all the time. A year dedicated to accepting the world as it is, myself included, and doing my best to make it better. Whatever that looks like!

I sincerely wish you all the best, whomever you are. A new year of promise! Love! Life! Beauty! And everything that comes with it. ❤

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Life, Yoga

Father’s Day & Things

We made it through Mother’s Day, and even though I didn’t see my mom I made sure she knew she was loved. Tomorrow is my parents anniversary, followed by Father’s Day Sunday. At this moment I’m not sure how I feel. I am so sad for my mom, and I know the only thing I can do is let her know she isn’t alone. She’s taking a trip up to the town where they got married and where they spent the majority of their anniversaries. I know it will be painful for her, but I think it may also bring her some peace.

I have spent the majority of June celebrating my father. I took a trip around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. Along this trip I hiked in rain forests, cliff faces down to the ocean, over fallen drift wood, and scaled the sides of mountains. I took with me a vile of my dad’s ashes so that I could have a little piece of him with me and so I could take him to see some cool ass places. This way, he got to see the world with me, ya know? I scattered the first ashes at Ruby Beach. I built little stone markers for each spot, but Ruby Beach there was a distant view of a light house, and the spot where I left him was one where fresh water met the salt. This is the first time I have seen the Pacific Ocean.

I also spread some of his ashes at Rialto Beach. When I was doing that I tried to write his name in the sand but in doing so I stopped watching the ocean, and it came up and got me. My shoes were soaked, which wasn’t super good news, but I had to laugh because I figured it was dad showing me he was there. This is also a beach that looked like where they filmed the Goonies, but that one is farther south (I think that’s what she told me).

Turns out that I still had a fair amount of ashes, so we had to find one more places to leave him. We were already done hiking the Olympic National Forest trails that we had planned on hiking. We ended up back in Seattle and I still had these ashes. So, Rose took us to a beach that was still part of the city. According to the stamp on my photographs it was called Golden Gardens Park. The fun thing about this spot was not only did he end up with a view of the water, he gets to watch boats go by because there is a marina near by. He also gets to watch the trains, because the tracks run along the back of the park. All of those things are, were, things he loved. The crazy way he showed me he was there was after I covered the ashes with sand, I turned to walk back to where my friends were, and lightning struck and thunder bellowed all around. The rain started just moments later. Apparently, it never really thunders in Seattle, or lightnings either. So, the old man made a loud sign to show me he was there. ❤

Dad didn’t have a connection to the Pacific Northwest, and honestly pretty sure he never had been there before ever. But when mom asked me if I wanted to take some ashes, I jumped at the opportunity. Not only did I want him to come, but I want him to go everywhere I go, from now on. One of the parts that hurt the most was not being able to come home and see his face and get a big hug and tell him all about my trip. It was the only way I actually had this experience. Even though there was no bear hug, and no breakfast talk about life (I had one with my mom instead and it was good too). So Sunday, to keep celebrating him I think I will go and roam around in nature, sit by the ocean, and absorb all the grace I can from the world and myself.

This is one of those moments when I think, had I know last Father’s Day would be the last I would have done something better. Shown more love. Been a better daughter. I don’t know what I would have done but it would have been something. My life is different now. I exist in a world where half of my genetics no longer does. I go one each day, and yet he’s not here. Some days are perfectly fine, but this whole month has been hell on my emotions. I know they say it comes in waves, and yes it does seem to do that, but this is one of those big long waves that surfers get a lot of good moves out of before it falls flat. It’s been going to a real long time, and I still have a couple days.

Love your people a little more today than usual, and each day from now add a little more. It makes it worth it.

 

Life

Early Morning Reflections

It’s Good Friday 2018. Once upon a time almost 35 years ago I was born on Good Friday, but this year my birthday didn’t match up with the lunar cycles. I will be turning 35 this year. Just a little over a week. I’ve dealt with the 30s pretty well so far. I never got that blues people get when they hit 30. Big deal, right? Just a number. But this year I feel a lot different. This birthday, while a marker that I’m just as close to 40 as I am to 30, this birthday isn’t hard because of the age. This birthday is hard because I won’t get my annual note from my dad. Legit, making me cry just writing that. How has it been almost 6 weeks? How has it been going so quickly? I just need time to slow down for a minute so I can take a breath. I make it through the daily routines fine, but I never actually get the moment to rest and reflect. I never get a chance to feel what it feels like to not have my father anymore. Life just keeps happening, and that is wonderful and I don’t want life to stop, but at the same time I need some rest.

I don’t have the most demanding job in the world, but I’m basically on call 24/7 when it comes to emails and such. I do my best to unplug from it and take time for myself, but it doesn’t happen easily. The only time it happened is when he died and I honestly couldn’t handle dealing with work. I could only handle being with family and loving on everyone.  I honestly don’t know how people do it and just jump back into life once someone dies. Shit, I feel bad because I keep writing about this. I feel like I should be moving on to better subjects like full moon yoga or something else, but here I am, stuck on this topic of death and grief. I’m not stuck on in, I’m more like swimming through it. Songs come on my playlist and I get the lyrics for the first time, even though I’ve listened to it so many times before. It’s so weird how that happens isn’t it? For Example. My friend Marah told me ages ago to download “Pray” by Sam Smith. So I did. It was a powerful song, and I like it but didn’t listen to it that much. Now, I think I listen to it daily because I get it. And it makes me think. “Everyone prays in the end” is one of the lines of the chorus, and I can’t help but wonder as he laid dying was he in his own mind enough to pray at the end? I know that he believed in God, and my mom tried to get him last rights, but I don’t know if he was in his own head enough to actually pray. He had a hard time talking to people because of the delirium that sets in from DKA, I just hope that he made sense to himself and was able to get that last prayer. I’m not a religious person, far more spiritual than religious, but I know from the time I knew he was going to the hospital to the end I fucking prayed. So maybe in the long run, if he couldn’t do it himself, maybe mine helped a little.

Another song that has been speaking to me lately is “Sunshine” By Matisyahu. Part of the chorus is “It’s raining in your mind, so push those clouds aside, forever by my side you’re my golden sunshine.” And I feel like my mind is full of clouds and rain lately. I put on a smile and make it through whatever I have on my plate that day, but I always feel like i’m on the verge of breaking. I sit on my couch alone during the day sometimes and just stare. I am genuinely running out of energy, and I know it will all come back in time. I know I will continue to piece myself back together, but right now everything is too wet and soggy from all that mind rain. I do consider my dad to be my golden sunshine.  And early in the morning when I hear those early morning birds chirp I think of him. I haven’t been to the ocean lately, maybe that is what I need to do. It’s the one place I know I can go and feel his soul. And I am so thankful to be by the ocean at this time in my life. It is saving my life, and feeding me an energy that I had no idea about.

I have so many friends who have lost their fathers over the past couple of years, three of them quite close to me. I can only say that I never wanted to be able to relate on this level with them, but I’m glad I have them to lean on. I try and express where I am mentally to those who haven’t experienced this type of loss, and while they mean well, they say shitty things, not meaning to, and it becomes one of those smile and nod situations. I mean, my own mom can’t even relate to the loss of a parent because both of hers are still alive and healthy in their 90s. I’ve never had to deal with the loss of a grandparent, which usually comes first. I know one day that I will have to deal with that experience, even though I pray it is a decade away (pretty sure my grandma will live forever).

So yeah. As the weeks go on, they say it is supposed to get easier, but I find that I am more compelled to say it doesn’t get easier it just becomes a more distant memory, which then becomes easier to deal with. My dad never got over the loss of his father. Grandpa died when dad was 27, just after I was born. I can only imagine what he had to deal with. Two small kids, his father died, still newly married. He didn’t have that man to ask questions anymore. And what a moment in life to have that taken from you. I can see why he never got over it.

While this is not a time to be mad about things, I am mad about a couple of them. My dad was the oldest of 7 siblings. I have seen and spoken to 4 of those siblings. Have the others contacted me, or my sister? No. I understand that they are going through their own grief, but you’d think that in a time like this they would find it in their hearts to take time and check on me, my sister, and my mom. No, I don’t have a relationship with these people because unlike my dad no one actually ever made an effort to be part of my life (and as elders I find that is their position in life and not mine). Am I bitter about it? Yes. Is this uncommon for his side of the family? No. Did he want me to have a relationship with his family, yes he sure did, and he made it a point to be part of their lives, so what the fuck happened? I guess the rift in our family that has always been there will continue to grow now that he’s gone. I will keep up with some, and it breaks my heart that it came to this. They didn’t even have to call, just fucking email me, facebook messages work too. My mom’s side of the family, the side I grew up knowing, his death has made us all closer. We are far more involved with each other since the funeral and its a fucking beautiful thing. I am so blessed to have such supportive and amazing people to call my family. I guess I just wish that the other half had given me more of a chance. All families have issues. Mine is not any different.

The one thing I will do differently going forward is forgive. The day before dad died I decided to reach out to someone I had a long, very serious hate toward because I decided to finally just be over it and forgive. So I reached out and told him that I forgave him and that I hoped his life was good. I felt so amazing after the fact and I let go of the pain that that grudge caused. It was an amazing day. So, today, despite my disappointment in my paternal family (some not all), I decide to forgive them. They don’t know their apathy has caused me serious pain in a time when I needed their love and support. So for that I forgive them. They also don’t know that I have taken notice in my 35 years on this planet that they have mostly been imaginary and no one taking an interest in the life of their niece/grandchild is entirely their loss, and not mine. It has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with them. So, to all my aunts and uncles who didn’t make an effort to communicate at the death of my father, I forgive you. He would have wanted it that way. And he is the only reason I do it. Because he wouldn’t want me to hold a grudge that causes me pain when I can just let it all go.

In closing, I’m making it. I don’t know how, but each day presents its own battles, and each day I fight them to the best of my ability. One day, I hope to be in a much lighter place, but as for now it’s still raining in my mind.