Yesterday I broke down twice about my dad. It was just one of those days... The first time, was at a road block where the cops were randomly checking for seatbelts. I'm not quite sure why that made me ball like a baby, maybe because it reminded me of how a seatbelt didn't save my dad I guess. The second time was when I came up on a bad wreck on North Avenue after work. There were a few cars involved and an ambulance was loading a woman into the back and she had a young preteen girl getting into the back of the ambulance with her. The moment that I heard the news of my dad's car accident all came rushing back. The news footage of the accident replayed over and over in my head and the reminder that me, my brother, and my teenage sister had suddenly lost our dad in an instant..... I balled all the way home under my sunglasses...
This morning I had one of those Facebook notices that reminded me of a photo I posted of Baby this time last year when she was having a very good week. And then a week later she left us.
As each loss from the last year comes up on its one year mark, I reflect on how things have changed. I did learn a ton about loss last year after my dad died, and this time last year when Baby died, I almost had a breakdown- my heart could not possibly survive any more loss, but it did. I later lost my Milly (the little special needs goat), as well as a close friendship.
I am really grateful of all the things I have gained after and during the losses of last year. I made new friends and gained new animal companions (Rose and Eddie were my dad's) in the last year. When I took in Eddie, I swore I wouldn't get attached, because my heart was still broken over Baby, but Eddie was old, sweet, and had nowhere to go. To my house he came, and he has stolen my heart. As much as I didn't think I wanted him, but was taking him in as more of 'the right thing' kind of thing, I needed him as much as he needed me....
The first anniversaries of the losses in the last year remind me that I survived the pain. It wasn't easy, but I grew through the grief. I also have moments out of the blue, like the seatbelt check and the car accident yesterday that can send me into a temporary moment of sadness. Then I think of things like the fact that I even HAD a place to take in dad's horse and dog.... and that I had such an amazing partner in Christian that he stepped in and completely took care of all my animals while I was living two hours away with my sister last year, and that my sweetheart of a mama and awesome stepdad took in my dad's cat... I couldn't have asked for a better support system in my life, and those thoughts actually do outweigh the grief, and get me back in check..
I met with a friend last week that I had not seen since before my dad passed- since the roller coaster of last year happened. We caught up and in catching someone up on all that happened in the last year, it made me more aware of my strength. I mean, yes, I had a tremendous amount of grief in 2015, but the fact that I was able to keep my heart open and receive new friendships, hang on to old ones, keep trying to honor my dad and my mom with her undying support every single step of the way, overcoming my fears with Rose, (and the list goes on and on and on.... ) means that I never gave up. Even now, I have made it a priority to make my dad proud of how his children have grown in ways he was never able to see when he was here. For the first time, I feel confident even saying that we (me, my brother, and my sister) know each other better, and because of that (alllll the good, bad, and ugliness), we worked through some brutal honesty, and came out on the other side and are closer now, than we have ever been.
I almost feel like every day in 2016 is a reminder of resilience. Life is crazy, the way it shifts, turns, feels like at times it couldn't get any worse, and when you come out the other side, you see things more clearly- I almost felt like last year when I came back, I was more aware of the clutter in my life, what I truly needed, and what was just sitting in my life acting as a 'catch-all', and I started a mental and physical clean out of baggage that I had put off for so long. I'm so happy to be spending this time at my home this year- last year would have been my first Spring at the farm since we bought this place, but I missed it because of the life I was thrown into after dad died.
I am seeing all this new life blooming day by day and it's so beautiful! Peach blossoms, Iris, apple and pear blossoms....
Slowly but surely things turned around and I'm so happy to have had the growth from last year. Yeah, things aren't perfect everyday, life will always have its ups and downs, and I cannot know when I will be hit with a reminder of my losses, but I see the good things with clearer and more embracing eyes now. The hiccups and bad moments pass more easily now for some reason and I don't let- well, I try super hard not to let things bother me. I pick up my pieces and move on. I no longer hold on to clutter because it's the nice thing to do- I hold on to what's important to me, and what feeds my soul. Everything else can have its place with someone else that will enjoy it properly. Gearing up for a yardsale soon!
I'm off work tomorrow for a three day weekend (Good Friday & Easter) and have a very fulfilling day planned. Do any of you have some extra time off or special things planned this weekend? If so, feel free to share below in the comments!