Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Part of the Puzzle

Sometimes days have the ability to piece together as if our lives were part of a puzzle. Now that I think about it our lives relate very easily to a puzzle. Puzzles have important pieces to them and without each piece the puzzle can't be completed. There are events and people in our lives that act as our puzzle pieces and without those our life is not complete.

You may wonder where this thought came from but trust me when I say there really is a legitimate reason. Today was one of my days off, which have included very similar things each week. It's a day that I am able to use to work on my own life and things I want to do rather than worrying about everything else. I slept in a little longer than usual, which was definitely needed. I couldn't decide where I wanted to ride today, for some reason it was a difficult decision. Everything in me was telling me to just go ride at Miramar Lake because it would be an easy ride and wouldn't take much effort. Instead I decided to start my ride from my house and if you have ever been on my road you understand the first hill that must be climbed. I would like to tell you that my hill is the reason I haven't done a bike ride from my house since getting my new bike. However, that is not the reason.

In order to ride from my house, while also taking the safest road into Ramona, the route includes passing by the spot where my dad was found. I have been to the spot since he passed but I was in a car and for some reason that seemed very different to me. I sat down and really thought about my options. In my opinion the last thing I want is for anything that has to do with my dad to hold me back from living my life. Since beginning to bike, without even really trying I have consistently decided other routes to ride besides one's close to home. If Ramona is good for anything, bike riding is one of those things. So after a little thought I decided I would break through one of my fears and attack it with everything I had. As I passed by the spot that once had broken glass from his windows, I realized the glass was gone. It was at that time that I felt an overwhelming and anxious feeling come over me. This feeling did not last very long because as I continued my ride I began to feel at peace. The first thought that came over me was a feeling as if I no longer had a place to go where I could visibly see something that reminded me of my dad. After a short time it hit me that my dad is everywhere. I think I knew that before but no longer seeing the glass on the ground helped me realize that I was holding on to that place to tight. It was a spot that I shouldn't be holding on to because it really had no significance to the amazing life my dad lived. My ride continued, and I enjoyed every bit of it. It was a beautiful day and I felt awesome. I returned home after 22 miles and was still able to say that it was a good day and a good ride.

I also had a physical therapy appointment today, which I was really looking forward to. I felt good and was excited to see how much I had improved. A few weeks ago Kristen had an idea for me to write a pain journal explaining the events that take place each day in my life and how I feel at the end of the day. Not only do I explain how I was physically but also mentally in hopes of seeing connections between the two. Today, Kristen gave me my journal back because she had gone over all my entries. There were a few things that she said when she had me look at it, but the one that stuck in my mind was the fact that my really bad days mentally usually consisted of a bad physical day too. She told me to pay attention to that during my days especially when things showed up either mentally or physically. By the end of my appointment today my back had completely tightened up and I was in a lot of pain. I was struggling to move properly and tried to calm it down using heat. My back just wasn't having it and nothing seemed to help at that time. I felt frustration come over me but I tried to just laugh about it. I mean come on whenever things seem to be going so well another issue shows up and tries to bring me down. Been over it for a while now. As I left my work I could feel myself start getting hard on myself and my situation so I reminded myself of what Kristen told me. Rather than allowing my emotions to continue to fall back into that dark hole, I kept restating the fact that my day had been so good up until that point. I talked myself through the situation and did not want to allow my mental status to drop just because I was in pain. It seemed to be working, which was a good process for me to really focus on. It didn't end there though...

I made it home and I was looking forward to just relaxing for the rest of the night. I got home before my mom so I went to the end of the driveway to get the trash cans and mail, in hopes of making her life a little easier. I grabbed the mail first and turned around to a truck that had pulled up behind me. She stopped her truck right next to me and rolled down the window. Her name was Lisa and she was a neighbor that lived down the street from me. She began by saying I am really sorry to hear about your loss. It all made sense because a week after my dad passed away my uncle met a lady that had told him that she saw my dad that day and was near the scene of the incident. For some odd reason, ever since that day I have wanted to know who the lady was and her side of the story. I wasn't able to figure out why I wanted that but it was just a very strong feeling that I had. This lady was struggling to look me in the eye and she started to recall what happened that morning. She didn't even know my dads name but she spoke of him as the neighbor that would always say hi and talk to her. On that day she recognized his car and it clicked to her that it was her neighbor. She told me how usually she would be walking her dog but on that day she was driving into Ramona with her husband. She had been wanting for weeks to come talk to us but didn't know how to go about it. I told her that I appreciated her stopping and that I had also been wanting to meet her.

It was weird to me that a lady that didn't even know my father's name or much about his life, felt a strong connection with him. She told me that every time she walks down there she thinks of him and also about my family. I was smiling throughout the conversation because I knew that I had just met another person and another life that my dad had impacted. At that time all I could do was smile. He was the epitome of amazing and the more people talk about him the more I realize that. It was at that point that everything began to click. I had been right there this morning and while I thought the glass no longer being there was a bad thing, it really is not. Then my back had to act up forcing me to fight my mental state and not allowing myself to drop into that hole that was waiting for me. If I would have allowed myself to crumble, meeting this lady would have been a horrible experience for me, and I would have fell further. However, because I was in a good place with the ability to see the connections between the two, I immediately was able to see the positive. I attacked my fear this morning with everything I had by riding my bike a route that scared me more than anything. Then, tonight I finally got the closure that I needed from that day. I feel that I am now able to move past that specific day in a good way. There is nothing about "that spot" that scares me. I feel that I have overcome two big things that needed to happen.

This is where the beginning now makes sense because the events that took place today had to happen in the way they did or the outcome may have been very different. If it wasn't for each puzzle piece in our life, we would have no memories and no real connection to anything around us. Life can be very difficult at times and challenges us to deal with each situation that presents itself the best we can. I have always hated puzzles because I would get frustrated with how difficult they were. I didn't have the patience to sit and figure out where each piece was supposed to be. Instead I just wanted the finish product and once I had that I was bored with the fact that the challenge was no longer there and the puzzle was complete. When I think about that sentence I realize that at certain points in my life I have felt the exact same way. I was unhappy when the difficult task was in front of me but once it was over I was bored and wanted a new challenge. It now makes sense how every situation in our lives has a purpose, even the little ones. If we didn't have the small, seemingly useless pieces then the puzzle could never be completed. Those pieces leave us without holes or questions.

I am thankful for the events that took place today. Although my day didn't happen the exact way I would have liked it to, I still wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I am going to be fine and I will make it through all of this. I have more people behind me, praying for me and thinking about me then I even know, which is something to be thankful for in itself.

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