The end of this month will be 15 years since my father passed away. I was thinking about that this weekend and started to think about how much has changed in that time. In some ways it feels like a lifetime ago, even though I can still remember the weather the day he died. Snow had already fallen and I remember iced up patches in the parking lot at the hospital as my mom and I walked to my car to drive home without him. It’s crazy how I can remember that day in such detail but I can’t remember what I had for dinner last week!
A lot has changed in these last 15 years. I have changed a lot. Although I was just a few months away from my 30th birthday, I don’t think I truly matured until the years after my father died. It took losing him and all of the craziness that happened in the months afterwards to shake me up and make me want to make changes. I’ll be honest and say that it took a few years to regain my orientation after being shaken up! I stumbled around in the dark for over 2 years before I started to believe light still existed and sought it out. I am grateful that I did!
The journey to finding the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t without it’s challenges. I had to learn a lot about myself and what it was I truly wanted out of life. I made new friends and lost contact with others. I have a better grasp on what my weaknesses are and continue to be surprised by my inner strength. I’ve done things that I never imagined I would, and have been proud of the fact that I found the courage to do things that were well outside my comfort zone.
I think that my relationships are more honest now. I’ve stopped seeking validation from others and look for ways to find it within myself. I’ve learned how to manage my expectations and my emotions so that I’m not having knee-jerk reactions to unpleasant events as much as I used to 😉 I’m also learning how to speak my mind in a productive way rather than keep my emotions to myself to percolate and blow up at the wrong time.
I know that even though I’ve come a long way in these past 15 years, I know that there is still more work to do. While I would give anything to have had more time with my dad, I believe that everything happens for a reason. When I look at where I was before he passed and where I am today, I know that as painful as it was to lose him, it provided me with the opportunity to grow in ways I never imagined possible.
My father was a huge and important part of my life. It’s no wonder that losing him affected me in the way that it did. I still miss him and wish I could hear his voice one more time. I know that I’ve done some things that would make him shake his head. Some of the stuff would have given him a good belly laugh. Most of all, I hope that I’ve made him proud and contributed to his amazing legacy in some small way.