I used to write. I loved it. I had so many thoughts in my mind and I’ve always found it sort-of therapeutic to get them down on paper. Sometimes I’d shared my words publicly on my blog, or in a Facebook/Instagram post, and sometimes I just wrote for me. It happened in journals, in pages/word documents, in my iPhone notes app… the sentences seemed to overflow out of my soul on so many occasions, and letting them all spill out onto the pages made my heart relax, my anxiety ease, and my inner being feel at peace again. It’s been months since this has happened and I sit here today finally able to let some of it start to seep out.
It’s been a hard ‘heart’ year and my thoughts seem too much to bear at times. Resonating on them by unloading them onto paper has made me anxious, unsure and afraid. I often find myself just plain old avoiding them. But here I am on the brink of the Christmas season that I love most and the sadness, anxiety and fear of the year is looming over it all making it a struggle to embrace the way I always have. Have you ever felt like one of the things you love most is impossible to enjoy right now?
I’ve spent the last several months breaking down into tears at random moments. It’s happened at the grocery store, at the gym, in the office of my children’s school. I stood even just yesterday during worship at church and as I tried to sing, I just sobbed. I sit here in my studio, my living room, and my car often still in disbelief at all of it. The ache of the loss doesn’t seem to lift. The world continues to go on with people hustling and bustling all around me, yet I feel like I’m still where I was days, weeks, even months ago. I can’t seem to move forward sometimes. It feels like I’m living my life under water.
I’m writing this today fully intentionally, and it is uncomfortable. I didn’t know if I would share these words. I’m still uncomfortably wondering if I should have. It’s hard to be vulnerable. I’ve spent the last several months locking my emotions up, trying to be solid and steel-like proving to those around me that I can get through even life’s most difficult twists with a positive attitude and firm faith, but the truth is that it’s been complicated. The grief. The mourning. Things have been messy over these last several months and I’ve often felt lost. I haven’t wanted to unleash the feelings that are hibernating inside my chest. I’ve been resisting acknowledging them even myself. Perhaps I’m just holding on to them because this is all I have left holding me together.
It’s been the hardest, saddest and most uncomfortable year of my life. And in saying this, I look back and realize it hasn’t even been a year. It all started in June – 6 months ago. My life, and a big part of the person that I’ve always known myself to be got left back there. Everything changed quickly when we found out that my father was ill. Within moments, a phone call was received and tests were completed showing us that the strongest, most loving man in our lives could be leaving us much too soon. Although we remained hopeful through his quick and unsuccessful battle, the blow to my heart began right back then.
I lost my father to liver cancer on October 3rd and it hurt deeply to watch him slip away from us so quickly. It hurt more than I’ll ever be able to put into words. My heart aches daily for the loss of this inspiring man. It still hurts so much and I’m not sure that will ever go away. Then it was only three weeks later that we also lost my Grandmother. Watching my mother say goodbye to her husband and her mother within a 3 week period of time was almost unbearable. Helping my children to cope with the loss of someone they love so much is heartbreaking.
Through the weeks leading up to all of this, my children were rarely seeing me. I spent almost all of my time at my dad’s bedside. My husband, although incredibly supportive, was beginning to show symptoms of exhaustion and resentment for my absenteeism in our family life. I had somewhat disappeared from the home while trying to manage my busiest work season, and my need to be with my dad as much as humanly possible. Things at home weren’t great. I began to wonder whether my husband would forgive me for being away so much, whether he would still love me after this season had passed. Of course he did/does, but everything, every emotion just seemed to be amplified for a period of time. This has certainly been one of the darkest times of my life. So many nights I spent sobbing myself to sleep, almost choking on my own breath as I wept, and then come the morning I would pull my puffy eyes out of bed and just keep going. I would paste that smile back on my face and get myself out the door to do it all over again. Can I just put it out there and say that those months flat out sucked?!!!
At times this holiday season seems almost too difficult to endure. Yet, I will keep moving forward. I want to live well. I want to heal. I want to celebrate my father’s memory by celebrating his favourite time of year. I need to acknowledge the loss I’ve had in my life, but I also want to honour all the good that I have been given.
I have the great privilege of doing something I love and being invited into people’s most intimate moments. This has definitely helped to pull me through. I’ve built genuine relationships with so many people through this job of mine. I’ve received countless cards and flowers from clients, meals delivered to my home, endless hugs and meaningful messages from people that I barely know. I’m assured that there is so much love and support out there. I’ve been so blessed to be able to celebrate in my youngest sister’s wedding a few weeks ago. A beautiful, and happy celebration of love has been such a gift for all of us to focus on.
I know it’s been quiet around here. I stopped recording my live videos, I struggled to get blog posts up at all, I rarely post on social media anymore, and all the goals I had planned on accomplishing this year just seemed to go by the wayside. I’ve gone through moments of despair, times of hopelessness, and have questioned so much. I want to sincerely thank all of my clients this year (you know who you are) for being so VERY patient and understanding over this 2017 Summer/Fall. I know that I’ve missed an email or Facebook message here and there, and my response times haven’t been to my own standards many times, but the people I’ve worked with this 2017 season have made the hardest year of my life so much more manageable.
My hope is to keep moving forward with the plans & initiatives I set for myself earlier this year. I’m doing my very best to get back on track with these. Living under water (at least that’s how it’s felt) certainly brings productivity levels down a bit. I have to be honest and admit that I still feel broken even now. I’ve been numbing myself from the pain in my heart, but as this year comes to a close and my busy season tapers off, I’m confronted with all the emotions I’ve been pushing aside for months. I’m still grieving the loss of my Dad. I miss him so much every day. I keep waiting for him to walk through the door, or pick up the phone when I call. I know it’s crazy, but I still just don’t believe it can be real.
Focusing forward, I know I need to start setting goals again. 2018 will be a year of healing and growing. I have many ideas and initiatives I’d like to spearhead in the coming year. Not only professionally, but personally as well. Thank you for sticking with me through this friends, and for not giving up on me. Thank you for being supportive and for loving me through it. I know I am blessed for every one of you. I hope you have a Christmas season filled with love and joy, and that you are able to make intentional and beautiful memories that you can cherish and celebrate in the years ahead. Love you all.