Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Even Through the Pain

Thanksgiving is one day in the year where people feel obligated to express how thankful they are for the things in their life. It's a day that forces us to really stop and think about the events and people in our lives. It's supposed to be a relaxing day consisting of traditions that have either been passed down from family members or the start of new traditions. Spending much needed time with family and friends is something that most of us look forward to, allowing us to forget about the everyday stress of life and just enjoy good company. Of course some of the best things about Thanksgiving is the food we get to enjoy, especially the pumpkin pie.

However this year, the days leading up to Thanksgiving has consisted of constantly thinking and remembering all the incredible memories I had with my dad. He loved Thanksgiving, I think he actually loved it more then any other holiday. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, the people that he was most thankful for. He used the day to show how much he cared and the only thing that mattered to him was that we were all together in one place. Our family tradition was being together as a family and having as many people show up as possible. He truly cared about the day and if it didn't go as planned he was disappointed in himself.

When you lose someone you never think that the traditions that once occurred would disappear as if they were nothing. But, for me, my family has decided to act as if we never celebrated this day together and are choosing to spend the holiday doing their own things. I found myself in a lonely place, an empty house, and stuck remembering the past only wishing I could return to those days. I wish I could go back to the day where we spent Thanksgiving with close friends and then two days later took a trip to USC to watch Notre Dame. It was so much fun and I remember it like it was yesterday. My dad was so excited that we were all together for the game, and although Notre Dame would end up losing, the trip was well worth it.

This week I have done my best to keep a positive mindset and some minutes seemed much easier then others. I was very quiet at times but it wasn't in a bad way, I was just spending a lot of time reflecting on the past events. I may have been spending too much time thinking about all that but it was my way of dealing with the emotions behind it all. I know that it was hard for people around me because I looked down and out. They wanted to get me out of the place. I had people offering places for me to spend Thanksgiving all week, which you would think would make things easier but in reality it was still incredibly difficult. The only place I really wanted to be was the place my dad was at, because it didn't matter where I was, as long as I was with my family.

Today is month number eleven, and at times I feel like I am no longer moving forward but instead moving backward at a quick rate. I feel like I have no strength to make it through the next two months or so. I have been told by many that this is the hardest time of the grief process and that the one year mark is a difficult period. But, I have also been told that once the year mark passes, things begin to fall into place and you learn to look to the future a little more then before. I hope that some form of light is entered into my path and suddenly things become much more clear. I struggled today to see that light. I could only see dark and I felt non-existent. I haven't felt this way in a very long time and it was hard to deal with. I could tell I was in a panic, overtaken by anxious emotions and feeling lost in the crowd. I found myself standing there starring into space wondering if I would ever regain attention to what was actually taking place. I did my best to work through it because I knew that I couldn't allow myself to succumb to those emotions. It was hard but I worked through the feeling of panic and continued my day. I had the option to go home but felt it was important for me to get through it without running away.

Tomorrow I will spend Thanksgiving with Tim and Julie, which I feel blessed to have had the many offers that I was given for dinner tomorrow. I am thankful for the people in my life who care enough to make sure I am not alone tomorrow. Everything in me wants to be alone. A big part of me wants to sit in the house that we always spent Thanksgiving, whether it's alone or not. However, I know that my dad would not want that. He would be mad at me if I turned down every offer that was given to me just to sit at home alone. He was all about showing love and if it meant going out of your way to do so then that is what he would do. He lived his life to love. I am positive that it is one of the reasons why I am surrounded by so much of it. Anyone that has been apart of my life and knows about the death of my father has done everything in their power to be there for me. People wanted me to spend the day with them, they wanted me to smile through the pain, and all day today people tried there best to get me out of the funk I was in.

Hopefully everyone understands that I wasn't trying to stay in a sad place. I didn't feel like myself at all, which was a feeling I haven't been feeling since I first started this journey. I thought I had moved past the feeling of being in a panic and feeling anxious. The hugs, jokes, and small demonstrations of love definitely helped me make it through today. Tomorrow is going to be another big step. It will be the first Thanksgiving without my dad. I don't expect it to be an easy day but I do promise to attack it with all that I have. I am thankful that I will be surrounded by people that truly care and love me all through the day. We all have something to be thankful for. Although my year has been extremely difficult, I know in my heart that I have so much to be thankful for. I know that I am lucky to have so many people that care about me and want to see me happy. I feel blessed in more ways then one. I may not be with my immediate family but I will be with family that God has given me. He has blessed me with these people to help me through things like this. Ultimately God is the only person that knows what I need and I trust that He will place me in those spots tomorrow surrounded by more love then ever.

I just want to thank each of you for showing me so much love and for allowing me to work through the grief process. Each person in my life has been there at different points and I would not be here today without all that support. Please know that I feel incredibly lucky to have the people I do in my life. Whether it seems like it or not, I am thankful for each one of you. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember each and every blessing that you have in your life. Don't take anything for granted and remember to tell those you love that you love them because you never know what will happen tomorrow.

God Bless,

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