It’s time to begin


The journey of grief is individual. When my Dad was killed I felt like I stepped into a thick forest. It was foggy and dark and all I did was run into trees. I knew to keep moving forward, and that was about all. Hit a tree, move around it, hit another one. Then you start to anticipate as there sometimes seems to be a pattern, or maybe not. You learn to step forward and reach with your hand so you don’t run into the trees face first. Then you begin to grab them because in this fog of darkness and trees, you know that moving forward is somehow the way through all of this. You think it starts to make sense and then you realize, nothing makes sense. All of those neat little stages of grief psychologists write about are fake. There is no pattern, there is no guide, except that you know in your heart that there is somehow a way through it.

Then one day, a day that feels simultaneously like ten years and ten minutes, you stumble out into this clearing. The fog has dissipated. The forest is still here, it’s thick and it’s dark and no matter what, it will always be there. It might be right behind you, you might create some space between you and it, but it’s always going to be there. You don’t want to lose it completely because it’s the reminder of how deep you can hurt, how much you can learn, and how you were able to somehow move forward. It’s the reminder you will always need…. the reminder that you can do what you once believed would be impossible.

Then another day you realize you are standing on the top of a hill, maybe a mountain. In front of you is the entire world. A world Dad knew you loved to explore, and that he encouraged you to. You turn around and that forest is still there. But now between the top of this mountain and that forest is that beautiful meadow that helped heal the scrapes and allowed you to feel the sunshine again. You have a purple (because you love purple) backpack filled with all of the lessons you learned in that forest, and all of the things you have learned throughout your journey that will carry you forward.

As you look out, you see what he always taught you to see. Possibility. Hope. Wonder. You feel your curiosity begin to ignite again and while you might not have him on the other end of the phone to discuss “What if….” you have him closer than that. You are never alone and you understand that now.

I feared losing my Dad since 1986 when my Grandmother died. I worried about it for decades. I have been clear that losing him was one thing, but how he was killed, was a chapter I was never ready for. I thought I told that story, but we didn’t realize it was just the tip of the iceberg. It’s bigger than a story, it’s a truth I will be sharing when the legal part concludes.

They say that deep pain can be the catalyst for radical changes within us. For me, it cleared away all of the clutter that stood in between me and who I truly am. I knew this was too big and too much for me to handle on my own. It took 2+ years of extremely deep work with a therapist that specializes in grief to get me to here. And a community I didn’t know that I had. Love is powerful.

As I stand here on the top of this mountain with that forest behind me, it’s time for me to embark on some adventures I promised both myself and my Dad I would embark on. His belief in me and my dreams was unwavering. It didn’t die with him, it transferred to me. I believe he was the creator of going “all in” on the things you are passionate about. So I am.

As the song says…… It’s time to begin.

The path to heaven goes through miles of clouded hell

Right now I know that I am not taking on this journey alone. Thank you for helping me through all of this. Thank you for being there. Thank you for love that I didn’t know existed.


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