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8/5/18

It’s been smokey here for weeks. There’s two HUGE fires burning. One north, one northwest. I’m grateful I was able to buy that new treadmill last month, it sucks to be outside right now.

This evening isn’t too bad. The delta breeze has kicked up slightly and blown the smoke back north. It’s cool at night. Things are still hard. Not that I expect them to be easy already. This last work week was emotionally exhausting. I’ve had a few cancellations going into next week, but I also have 3 new clients on Wednesday. Not a bad start to August. I’m taking the calculations as a sign. I need to slow down slightly, breathe. I’m doing fine financially, it’s time to give my soul space to heal.

I went and got a tattoo started today. Something big, a project. New artist, new shop, fresh ideas. I combined some ideas I had for a California tattoo into a memorial tattoo for my dad. I got a huge soaring eagle that spans a huge section of my lower, outer right leg. For 3.5 hours I gutted out the pain. It varied from uncomfortable to intolerable. I truly believe my dad was with me through part of this. Even though he wasn’t a fan of the tattoos, I think he on some level appreciated the toughness involved in getting one. He would know it was for him. He knows what it means and why I’m going to carry it.

This is part of my grief process. I feel a bit closer to him somehow right now. I let go of some of my own pain. I got some clarity. There will be light and life after his death.

Coach dropped me off and picked me up from my appointment. I had a killer lunch and a perfect bloody mary for my Sunday Funday. Finished season 6 of Orange is the New Black, and now I’m ready for my week. I even put my laundry away and emptied the dishwasher. I’m going to chug some water, wash my face, and go to bed early. Monday starts soon.

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7/15/18

I tried hard today. I finished an exhausting 4 day work week last night and crashed when I got home. I actually got 8 hours of hard earned sleep. Took a long, lazy walk outside in 80 degree weather (high was 100 today) this morning. Stoked as all get out that my new treadmill is coming on Tuesday. I did all my laundry, hit the bank, and grocery shopped.

I also finished my photo book for the first 6 months of the year. About 4 years ago I got into the habit of creating a Shutterfly photo book for every year and major trip we took. I went and did books starting from 2009 when we starting dating. I’m now at a point where I have to split the year in two because I take so many pictures and hit so many notes. Usually in the past I try to make them come from both mine and coach’s point of view, I stopped doing that with the last couple books and really started owning that it was my photo journal, my memories, and my point of view. I love these books. This last one was hard. Typically I work on them every other week or so. I put off this current one for months. With dad sick I was distracted. With dad gone, it didn’t seem relevant.

Truth is I still have to tell my story. So I did. I finished it. And I was in a shitty mood for the rest of the day. It was like going over all of it again. It had to be done. The book is raw and it’s honest and it’s gone to print. I will never be able to forget how I felt after dad died.

The book also lent to remind me that I have 6 more months to live within this year. It’s not over. Our first Christmas, thanksgiving, and my birthday will come without dad here. And I will document it. I will live through it. It will break my heart. We’ll have to start new traditions and let old ones go or revamp them. This saddens and terrifies me.

What’s that all going to look like? How will I handle that? How do I move on and move forward? These are the same questions I ask everyday. Here I am. You don’t get better. You get different. Because life is different. Big pill to swallow. Choked down everyday. Some days it is so easy, other days, like today? My heart broke all over again.

Tomorrow I’ll get up at my usual Monday time. 5:50am. I’ll take my walk, feed my cats, I’ll go to work. I’ll get shit done. Part of the day I’ll be me, part of the day I’ll be the gal who’s dad died two months ago. And I’ll get through. I’ll be okay. Different, but okay.

7/13/18

Let’s be real. I’m struggling. Some days are super easy and I just make it through. This week I’ve been annoyed everyday and now I’m just tired and angry today.

We took four days and went up highway 1 to a part of the coast we’ve only driven through, and spent 4 days. I could have used a week. I at least should have taken the rest of this week off. The time away was nice. Restful, easy.

I’ve talked to people who lost parents, everyone did something different. Few days off here and there, I know someone who was able to take a month. A month off would do serious damage to my savings. But why can’t I start taking an extra day off on my schedule when I can find it? This has become my new plan. I’m taking an extra day when I can find it. I’m going to be more deliberate in my schedule to keep chunks of time open for myself. My regular days off are Sundays and Tuesdays. Monday is typically one of my longest work days of the week, so getting that off simply isn’t an option. But I can take Wednesday’s where I can. And I’m going to.

Will this fix everything? No. Will it give me more down time? Yes.

I’ve been told that I’m the strong one, that everyone needs me. I’m reliable. That’s annoying to me. What does that mean exactly? That I’m expected to suck it up and move forward? Even when I said to my mom before we went out of town that I should have taken the whole week she asked why I needed that. This coming from a woman who left to take 10 days away with my brother and his wife and kid to go on a cruise. (We we’re also invited, I declined. If I’m taking 10 days off, it’s not going to be stuck on a boat, I’m site-seeing in my own time. Hello road trip.)

So this is where I’m at. From what I’m told I’m in a natural place of progression in my grief. I’m guessing that’s good? I’m moving along? Dealing? This is the first time in my career that I wish my job didn’t require so much of me, I almost for a moment wish my job was a tad more mindless. I’m pushing through though. I’m going to get there. I just need to take the time I need, and be mindful and aggressive about the lines I write in my appointment book delineating my days off. I can do this. I need this. I will get to the other side.

7/2/18

This time last year my dad was recovering from a whipple surgery. This year, same as last, it was the beginning of “dead period” and coach had his three weeks of fully quiet downtime.

My dad service was the weekend before last and it was wonderful. I loved spending time with all of our New Jersey and Canadian family. I hated the circumstances, but we made the best of it. There were at least 250+ people attending dad’s memorial. He touched a lot of lives. Dad was, and remains, larger than life. We all knew that, it was apparent that day.

I’m getting back into my routines. Little bit of gardening, catching up on paperwork, digging into books, and prepping for a small vacation. I’m a little on edge, I have moments of being emotionally volatile. I’m still not quite getting enough sleep. I’ve accepted that I will never quite be 100% since a piece will always be missing.

I’m grateful for the people in my life who understand, I’m equally as grateful for those who are attempting to get it. I was talking with a friend who lost her mom2 years ago and we came to the conclusion that we got membership to a really bad club that we didn’t ask to join.

Somehow it is July. Football season starts with our first game on August 17th. Coach starts his masters program in January. I’m trying to remain optimistic about my business in an increasingly worrisome economy. I’m keeping my head up, moving forward because I have to to keep my sanity. Next week I will be among trees and at the beach. Cannot wait.

7/1/18

I haven’t done a grateful list in long time. Here goes.

Today I am grateful for:

1. A full schedule during a holiday week.

2. An understanding customer service rep.

3. Time.

6/17/18

Today’s weather suits my mood. It’s chilly for mid June and overcast. No chance of rain, but a light jacket is needed. I shared a “dad post” on social media as soon as I got up, now I can spend the day avoiding it. Coach is playing golf with his dad, I’m in the middle of a long walk.

I would here preferred to not have to do so much today. I have a list of errands and chores I would like to do, a book I want to finish reading. A tree I’d like to purchase then plant. So far though today, I have slept in and started laundry and made it outside.

Mom called me Tuesday in a panic that the place my brother made brunch reservations at (without consulting the availability or interest of anyone else), was running an overpriced Father’s Day special for their (already over priced and not very good, in my opinion) brunch buffet. She asked what else we could do because she “didn’t want to have to be at home and we needed to celebrate because my brother is a dad too”.

*Insert eye roll* He’s not my dad. I don’t care what he does today.

But because I love my mom, I made early dinner reservations at one of our favorite places downtown, included my in-laws, and then called everyone to confirm. Done.

So, I guess my lesson with this is that sometimes we have to put our own grief aside to indulge in the grieving process of others.

I’m not sure how I really feel about that. Ha. I think my disdain and annoyance is clear. I just didn’t want to be a dick to my mom. She’s going through this too and she just wants to be with us. My problem is more the fact that I like to process through things on my own. I write, I think aloud in my car during my commute, I do a lot of mental reflection on my walks.

I want to do me without the perceived pressure of having to be “on” for my family. I can’t wait for it to be a week from now. We’ll be done with a lot of this stuff and I can concentrate on me. I can go to the beach. I can take baby steps forward. Bring it.

6/13/18

I’m a little less overwhelmed. I have finished the video slideshow for dad’s memorial, I got a great dress, shoes, and proper shape wear to wear to the service, I have a hiking adventure with a girlfriend planned for next week, and coach and I are in a very honest place.

Pages are turning, life is still moving forward. I would still like some more time off, I still need a new treadmill, but work is busy and I have two 5 day vacations already booked for next year. I like having things to look forward to.

Some days are still hard, and I expect there to still be further days to deal with. Some days I can shut it away and be in the moment. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and have to just get home, sometimes I just want to stay out and be around people.

Next Thursday our east coast family starts showing up. There’s happiness and pure dread regarding that. We aren’t getting together for a family reunion, this it happening because my dad died.

That’s still strange to say. I’m at a point where everyone knows now. But it’s still odd to me. I don’t have to constantly talk about it, and I don’t want to. I’m still settling into my new rhythms.

I have decided to take the pressure off myself and not speak at dad’s services. Nothing I have to say do I want to share with strangers. My memories and thoughts are mine. I don’t need to share them with people I don’t know. My brother feels like he needs to talk. I’m glad he feels inclined, but we’re expecting a few hundred people. No thank you.

I still want to go to the beach and stay there, I want coffee, unread books, sweatshirts, hikes through tall trees. I just want me. And time.

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