One Year More

February 17, 1990

A day I’ve often tried to forget, then remember, then forget…over and over and over through the years.  That was one of the most life- altering, mind-altering, heart-breaking, soul-crushing days I’ve experienced in my 36 years on earth.  The trajectory of my and my families life changed as a result. I formed massive issues surrounding abandonment and shame and shock and confusion.  I learned what it was like to have part of you die but still be alive walking the earth wishing the pain would stop…I learned about stigmas and experienced bullying and shaming…My world was shaken from the foundation and everything around me crumbled, collapsed and disappeared….

That was the morning my father took a shotgun to his head, on the floor of my parents’ bed room, and pulled the trigger.  He was in so much pain he ended his life to escape the hell he felt inside himself.  A fucking brilliant Civil Engineer who had, at a mere 38 years of life, achieved things in his field that no one had done before.  A man who took care of his wife and three young daughters. A man who was loved and cherished and even worshipped by me.

Looking back, I remember moments when Daddy was sad.  But he was my hero, he was so strong, he was my everything.  I thought he was invincible!!  Daddy always made sure I felt safe and secure and protected.  Ironically enough, these are the very things I yearn for even as an adult, above anything else.  Daddy was my rock.  And while I was only eight when he passed, I still sometimes find amazement in my ignorance of his pain.  Either he hid it well from me, I was too young to know what was in front of me, or I just didn’t have the emotional maturity or mental capacity to see it then.

Time really does help heal things…time really does provide perspective…time really does lesson the pain.  When daddy first died I was so shocked, sad, heartbroken, lost, confused….then I remember going through a really long phase of anger, anger at him for being so goddamn selfish!  For leaving me and my mom and my sisters; for abandoning us and forcing us to suffer so much through the years; for the ridicule and bullying at school and church, the pain of his death and loss of his life and presence in our lives, the financial ruin and bankruptcies, and move after move after move after move after move from place to place.

I sort of settled into a place of true mourning and anger inside myself for not being able to save him, not seeing what was in front of me, not fixing things before they got so bad he needed to leave us.  I acknowledge I was only eight at the time, but that matters little to my heart.  That was the day I went from an eight-year-old little girl to a 40 year old woman in my head and my heart and my soul.  I missed my childhood, I missed teenage years.  I had to.  For my family.  For my destiny.  I became my mother’s friend and partner, I became an aid to my family financially, I became something I didn’t recognize and I spent years trying to process it all.

Each of us, my two sisters and my mom, we all handled everything so differently. We all grieved in different ways, acted out in different ways, processed and healed and messed up and blew up and fell down and got lost and grew and mourned and silently wept for years and years and years.

Today, as I sit at my office chair looking out into my garden, my heart is really heavy.  It always is this time of year.  The 36 year old version of myself can see that day and each day that has followed so clearly now. I can see so many patterns I subconsciously created as a result of my father’s death.  I can see so many defense mechanisms and triggers and fears that were born that day and still walk next to me each and everyday.  I’ve done so much work on myself and yet those scars have not completely faded.  Will they ever?

It still frustrates me to observe myself do the same things when faced with a situation that triggers me, or scares me.  Can’t I evolve from this holding pattern?  Can’t I step back long enough to realize it’s ok that I can’t fix everything and everyone?  I laugh at that because I do tend to run to the hurt animal or the crying child or the broken soul… I even prefer the broken cashews or pretzels in the bag over the whole ones, haha.

I am grateful I can see things more clearly, grateful to have perspective, grateful for all the experiences I’ve lived to this point.  On yesterday’s new moon I wished for the tools to continue to grow and heal and that was pretty big for me because it feels ridiculous to think I still have healing to do from an event that occurred twenty-eight years ago.  It has been a lot for me to give so much power to that day and events that followed in terms of how it really shaped my mental landscape as it pertains to relationships and the lens through which I see the world.

I’ve tried, through the years, to pretend to be stronger than I am, to wear masks, to withstand. I’ve also broken into thousands of pieces, smothered people I was scared were going to leave me, run from my fears, buried myself in work in order to avoid dealing with pain or relationship issues.

Scars to your beautiful.

Today is the anniversary of my daddy’s suicide.  Wednesday was Valentines day and it’s a day I want to love, hahaha.  But through the years that day has been one of angst and heartbreak for various reasons, yet I know somehow stems back to my daddy and feelings of abandonment and loss.  I now question if it’s a pattern I have to break.  Introspection and reflection are so powerful, but I feel many of us avoid it at all costs.  Our society is so supportive of distractions and instant gratification and pleasure and more more more and teaches our culture to drown out that which is uncomfortable with drugs or alcohol or sex or food or well anything you want to use as a method of avoidance.  People tend to run from discomfort.

That’s ONE thing I feel my life experiences have given me: the ability to lean into the discomfort.  Yoga was a life saver for me in so many ways. It’s not something I ever went looking for, but luckily I had a guardian angel watching over me making sure synchronicity played a part in me finding Yoga and Yoga finding me.  I’d be a very different person if I did not have this practice in my life to help me grow, heal, evolve, feel, be present, forgive, love, learn, try and fail and not give up, never stop trying, express, see.  Yoga has helped me really face my fears in life head on, helped me lean into pain and discomfort and learn I’ll be better for it, I won’t die because of it, and in fact will be freed for doing so.

Yoga has shown me that EVERYTHING is a choice; even the things we feel aren’t.  We cannot control everything in life but we can control how we grow from each experience, or not.  I choose to grow, I choose to live, I choose to be present.  Each day is a gift, we cannot control tomorrow and we cannot change yesterday.  The good, the bad, and everything in between…it is all yours, all mine.  I embrace my strengths, my weaknesses, my insecurities, my fears, my doubts, my passion, my intensity, my abandonment issues, my zest for life and love for adventure, my disgust for mediocrity, my high energy, my love of learning and love of others.

“An ocean of love is behind all of your fear and pain.”  – Michael Singer

Today, and everyday, I ask that you love yourself, choose to be present with each moment you are gifted, forgive those that hurt you, forgive yourself for hurting others, embrace your struggles and your fears and your desires and your insecurities.  Trust and be ok when people break that trust.  Cry, let it out.  Live.  Tomorrow may never come and today is precious.  YOU MATTER.  You are loved.  If, when you need help, ask for it.  I wish you peace and happiness and joy today and always.

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