I’ll be ok

With a few of shots of Fireball in my belly and the cool October wind on my face, and the tight hug and “I love you” from  a friend, Iam realizing I’ll be ok.

I have a full heart tonight. It may not be the same full heart I went to bed with two weeks ago, but because of all your text messages, your hugs and your love, because of the loss I have faced, I am content with the realization of how lucky I am to have the great support of all of you around me, my tribe… My team.

With this, I know no matter what I am faced with, love will always come up on top.

Trust this. Do everything from a place of pure love, and no matter your adversity, it will be ok.

Good night.

Axxo

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You cannot have what you refuse to build

Life seems to be littered with motivational sayings and feel-good memes, which is nothing I’m turning my nose up to as sometimes one or two may resonate with you.  Today, that happened.  I was flipping through my IG feed and saw this…

I have been in a relatively good place of late, despite having lost my dad and allowing myself moments of grief in between work, self-improvement, parenting and current love-status.  Those moments of grief feel overwhelming and require several deep belly-breaths to bring the feelings of despair and loss to a relatively sane state.  Loss is a cornucopia of emotion; anger, sadness, isolation, irrationality, betrayal, relief, healing – I could go on.

That’s not why I’m writing today.  I woke this morning with terrible bags under my eyes which is ALWAYS a sure-fire indication of many shed tears the night prior.  I am uncertain if what I’m going through is the consequence of grief, but if I could show you inside my soul, brain and heart, it would look something like this.

I think any life event like death or marriage or divorce or the birth of your first child or employment loss or economic instability can guide you towards some self-reflection.  You become introspective and may ask a lot WHYS and HOWS and NOW WHATS.

The loss of my dad has made me wonder what his last lucid moments were like, when he willingly faced his own death.  He knew his heart would stop, his lungs would rise and fall for the last times, his eyes would blink, but not open and that which we have no knowledge of was impending – death.  With that willingness of the end, he must of been reflecting – what could have he done differently; who could he have loved more; did he ever want to get a perm again or travel to places he’d never been, eat Jalebi or ride a donkey; had he wished he ran or tried the holla hoop, got that tattoo he’d been chatting about or even just find peace in being alone.

I am certain of a few things in my life.

 

I only want to make people better and happier.  When I started training women, I had an amazing desire to help them see their own ability, to work through the crap in their heads that prevented them from doing something they feared they could not.  I had a trainer who helped me with that, and I cultivated this belief of “you can” so intensely in my own soul, I knew I could help others find it them as well.  This takes time and attention. It takes focus on who you are with when you are with them.  It means putting down your phone when you are just sitting beside someone so the attention and energy is in the moment.  Every second you have with someone you love or even that stranger on the bus, lends you an opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face, lift their spirits or even take their minds away from their own distractions of life.  Talk about a super power!  I love the tangibleness of having so many chances in every day  to make a positive impact if we just took the time to recognize those moments.  This takes effort.

You cannot have what you refuse to build.

I will continue to give where I can, even if it means going without.  There was a time in my life, while in my marriage and refusing to talk openly about finances, where I had to cash in all my retirement savings to pay my bills.  I remember waking up in pure panic knowing that my bank account was in overdraft, my three credit cards were maxed out and I didn’t know how I was going to make ends meet.  I took a risk last year at this time and have afforded my life the opportunity to have zero consumer debt, investments for my future (ish – I truly believe in enjoying life while you can!), and a lifestyle that is still modest with occasional enjoyment.  I open my bills when they come in (I never did), I pay everything on time, and I plan for big expenses.  And most of all, I give where I can.  I financially support those things that are close to me and the ones I love.  I give when others are in need and like giving surprises where I can! This takes effort.

You cannot have what you refuse to build.

My health and abilities are top priorities unmatched to any other time in my life.  My dad loss the use of his legs about four weeks before he passed away.  You can imagine what follows that – almost entire dependence on others for assistance.  At almost 300 lbs, I remember how terrible it was to get out of bed, to walk down and up the stairs, to play with my daughter, to have sex with the lights off, to struggle with feeling like I was outside my body ALL THE TIME, the headaches, the joint pain, and the everlasting feeling like I was never enough for those around me – that I was my weight and nothing more than that.  I am not pushing myself physically and emotionally and spiritually to look super hot, I am doing it because I never want to think “I can’t”. This takes effort.

You cannot have what you refuse to build.

Love and heartache will be apart of my life.   This sounds both wonderful and sad at the same time, doesn’t it?  Being in a long term relationship as I had been for 21 years, I was shielded from the heartache of break-ups, although ultimately this happened.  Love is the fun part, but I have learned from past reflection, you need to work really hard at it.  I failed to do that.  You need to listen, and talk, and care, and touch, and say thank you, and say I’m sorry, and stay connected, and enjoy alone time, and share, and cry, and have amazing sex, and cook together, and read together, and travel, and giggle, and kiss passionately and tenderly, and know when something is off, and most of all, not compromise who you are to keep the other person happy.  I wont be shushed, or held back, or be any less of who I am for someone else.  I wont fall silent.  I most certainly will not be afraid of the heartache that may come if it means we are being true to who we are.  This takes effort.

You cannot have what you refuse to build.

Effort is needed for our lives to be in ever-forward motion.  We have to choose to wake up in the morning, feed our bodies well and move to add to longevity, love hard and often, embrace our kids and make them feel protected, do well at work to earn money to fund food in our bellies and a roof over our head.

But, most importantly, we have decide.  And once we decide, we have to put in the work to build.

Because, how different our world would be if we stayed the same, with no innovation, no art to love and talk over or new foods to taste and savour.  Someone along the way decided to NOT refuse to build, but to take the first step towards that which they wanted.

I encourage you to do the same.

Axo

 

A letter to my dying father 

[NOTE: I finished comprising this as I sat by my dad’s bedside two hours after he passed. I got a chance to read this to him, although he laid peacefully by my side, finally at rest.]

The sky only moments after you died.

_________________

I have been putting off writing this because I guess I just haven’t been ready.  My intention was to read it to you while your eyes were bright and your hand still able to grasp mine; but I wont regret that.

You also told us not to use the word ‘dead’ but ‘deceased’.  I would rather this post be titled as it is rather than past tense, so here I am.

It’s a beautiful October day.  There was a light mist in the air today as I drove into Guelph.  Walking out of my car to the front of the building, my glasses were fogged and my skin cool.  The birds were gathering by the feeders and a few people were gathered around a van as a family member was being transported to their resting place.  A week ago you told Dave and I you were stopping treatment.  I knew then it would be no more than seven or so days until we’d see you for the last time.

You have been brave, Dad.  I don’t know what you had to consider when you decided to face your death, the end of this life you have known for the last 75 years.  I haven’t been sad because of my own feelings with losing you; I have been overly emotional over what you are going through.  In my 41 years I have never seen you cry.  And seeing the tears pool in your eyes was just part of my struggle.  I can’t imagine what you have had to deal with in knowing the end is so near.

I am not going to write something cliche and say you fought the good fight, because I hate that bullshit obituary jargon.  What I will say is you faced the greatest fear we all face – that of accepting your end.  Knowing that you only have a very prescribed time to share with those you love, say what you have always wanted to say and come to terms with things in your past you desire to.

The past two months have been very trying for you, especially, but your family as well. August 11th was the beginning of the end, but we didn’t know that at the time.  A fall at home accompanied with a neck brace caused you to say repeatedly, “I just can’t catch a break” and “Life’s a bitch, isn’t it?”.  While I agreed silently with you, I told you it could always be worse.  I’m sad to say we are now facing ‘worse’.

I have no regrets with my life with you.  I, ironically, fought the good fight when you and I had a falling out six years ago.  I was hurt, mad, sad, and then grieved the loss of you.  It was a while after that you called me on Father’s day to tell me you had bad news – they had found cancer, two to be exact. That instantly brought you back in my life. You said to me two days ago “all this” had brought you closer to my kids and you were happy with that.

And then, a year later, the decision whether to go on dialysis. You agreed to it and I am so thankful I experienced that with you. 
These are the things I am most grateful for, Dad

  • Brushing your teeth
  • Cutting your fish sticks
  • Rubbing your feet
  • That terrible night after treatment
  • Agreeing to hide your pills in the hospital mashed potato 
  • Sharing KFC, Harvey’s and chocolate with you last week 
  • You agreeing to meet Phil, mainly so you could see I found happiness again
  • All the trips to the hopsitals and times we just sat in silence
  • The two voicemail messages I forgot to erase from my phone
  • Your love for my kids and telling them to call you Grumpy because that’s who you were
  • Teaching me about cars, Caesar salad and work ethic
  • Your illness because it brought us back together 
  • The love you have for Dave and accepting his family into your life
  • Your love of camping and avoidance of bills, which you passed on to me
  • You

    This has been hard on all of us but I want you to know, I am so thankful for you as my pops, Father of Mine. You provided what you could in the limited time I had you in my life growing up. 

    I will never forget that.

    This has made me a stronger yet more compassionate person. 

    I won’t miss the smell of hopsital food, the sick and dying, the parking tickets for overrun meters, the frustration of your lack of recovery, your anxiety over treatment or worry about what you’ve eaten, the stone cold medical people or not knowing what was to come.

    [Added in as I sit here alone with you, still and quiet]

    But, I would take all of those things combined thrice fold to see your eyes again and hear you say I love you very much and to feel the warmth in your hands. 

    Rest Well, Dad.