Three years ago, today, I was walking through the aisles of Target with my sister-in-law when I received one of the most life-changing phone calls ever. It was a panicked phone call, telling me my Dad had a heart attack and passed away suddenly.
Everything went completely still. I stopped right in my tracks and listened to each and every word, hanging onto a sliver of hope that maybe I was confused — maybe I didn’t hear something correctly. Did someone call the wrong number? Did I misunderstand what was said? Then it happened: I realized this was really happening and I just lost my dad, not even 22 months after my mom passed away. Adrenaline passed through my body as I made my way to the exit and my sister-in-law took my cart and checked out for me.
I still remember this painful feeling in my heart each time I walk near the greeting card section, but luckily the panic has subsided over time.
My husband, Aaron, and I rushed to my dad and I can still remember nausea I felt in the car on the way there. I ordered a meatball sub sandwich from Subway, hoping it would settle my tummy and warm my hands. I could hardly nibble it. It was so cold outside when we arrived at my dad’s hunting land. My hands and feet went numb and my heart ached in an indescribable way when I saw my dad, lifeless, with the resuscitation bag still attached to a tube in his throat. That scene and that feeling is burned so deeply within me that writing this now gives me that same pain.
That’s the thing about pain and loss and injury — it is traumatic beyond all belief and leaves scars forever. Through the estate settlement process, I had the opportunity to inherit a portion of my dad’s hunting land and I knew deep down that I could not bear to go into the same place where I felt that pain and realized I was parent-less.
I had suffered from depression, anxiety and PTSD for quite a few years at that point; my dad’s death was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I slipped deeper into depression and lost a lot of who I was. I was still completely brokenhearted after my mom’s death nearly two years prior and was struggling after a traumatic birth of my first child halfway in between there. I hated my job from cubicle hell and felt like I didn’t belong in the community I grew up in. My marriage was suffering because I was suffering. I hit my lowest of low points and I could barely hang onto the cliff’s edge.
Then, I knew what I needed to do.
I set a goal for myself to make a business plan and exit my suffocating job within five months.
Then, I did it.
I was struggling the whole way through, questioning my worth and my abilities, but I did it. I used glass art as my therapy to heal my heart and my business goals to focus my mind.
Launching a business saved my life.
It’s been over two and a half years since I launched my first business and I now have four revenue streams. I have invested in myself in the biggest way, through continuing my education, hiring coaches, and surrounding myself with other successful and inspirational people.
If you have recently experienced loss, I want you to know you’re not alone. Your pain is real, the silence of their absence is deafening, and no one can do or say anything to make it better. But over time, the pain lessens and memories bring out laughter rather than grief or anger. Over time, you will be able to let people in and crack open the protective shell you built around yourself.
It gets better. I promise.