Friday, 29 November 2013

Am I REALLY Okay?

Carla (aka Mizfit Online) left this comment on my blog a couple of months back, and it really gave me pause.

At first it surprised me. I do my best to open and honest here on my blog. I have always consciously worked hard to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life has not exactly been rainbows, magic, and lollipops over here the past few years, and if you have been reading along than I think you have seen that. I like to think that what you see here on my blog is pretty much what you get. But I also understand that we live in a world of social media and sharing that is not always genuine and sincere. So I also found this comment hopelessly honest.

So today I thought I would do my best to candidly and authentically answer that question. "Am I really Okay?"

The short answer is "yes.. sometimes". But this post is about transparency, so let's get into it shall we...

The this year has been hard. In fact the last few years have been hard. And I won't deny that there is a huge part of me that feels worn down. Losing my Dad, has overwhelmed in a way that I am not sure I can adequately describe. I won't sugar-coat the struggles I have had with my health. They have been stressful, painful, and frustrating. But with every medical misadventure I could see the light. I knew it would be hard in the moment, but I also knew that I would come out the other side healthier and happier. I knew the pain was temporary. And that the struggle was just a means to an end. And that end was worth working for.

Grief is very different. Grief is about accepting a new unwanted reality.

It has been 4 months since I lost my Dad, and that loss still overwhelms me every single day. It often hits me out of nowhere - while walking the dog, out on a run, studying. I will think of him - something I want to tell him, something that reminds me of him - and then I realize that he is gone. In that moment my heartaches and tears flow. I still cry at least once a day. Usually when no one else is around. Usually just a few tears, while I try to carry on with whatever it is I was doing. But the pain is there. It is raw. It is real. And it is all consuming in a way that I have never experienced.

The last few weeks have been especially hard. Last week would have been my parent's 36th wedding anniversary. This week is my birthday. And we are supposed to be prepping for the holiday's. The idea of celebrating any of this without my Dad is devastating. I want so much to drink his homemade wine, hear his big loud boisterous laugh, celebrate with him, and more than anything - hug him. The fact that he will be missing this year, makes me wish I could hibernate until 2014.

But life doesn't wait for you - a lesson I learned long ago - so I know that hibernating is not a real option. My grief has given me pause, made me question my direction, refocus on my core values, and reflect on the life that I have been given. I have spent a lot of time asking "Why?". And I am not sure I have my answer yet. I think my grief is still too powerful and my heart is still too heavy to hear my answer today.

But I know I need to do something positive with my pain in order to heal. And healing is what 2014 is all about. My struggles have become part of my story. Every struggle and every setback has led to something greater. I have grown, learned lessons, come out stronger, and more often than not happier because of the things I have faced. So I am trying once again to find the Opportunity in Difficulty

Which means in 2014, I want to slow down and spend time with the people who matter most. I want to try to be present, and learn how to focus on the things I have, rather than the things I have lost. And in 2014 I want to honor my Dad and train for the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 . I want to work closely with Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise money to fund new research and awareness about Heart Health. 2013 broke me, so in 2014 I want to rebuild.

I am not sure if this is my answer, but I am hoping I will find it somewhere along my journey. I am still searching - searching for my something greater, searching for my light. I know it is out there.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten



31 comments:

  1. Sending many many hugs your way!! We lost Alfie's dad 5 years ago, and although you heal - there's still always a void.

    Love and prayers headed your way during this difficult time! I think you're doing an amazing job working through the grieving process. <3

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  2. Lots of hugs K!! Thinking of you lots - let's meet up for coffee soon! OR that lobster dinner :). xoxox

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  3. HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I get the grief part for sure! For me, it actually took a couple years after the loss of my dad - first parent to pass away. With the grandparents, not as long but still longer... I think we never lose that grief & we just start focusing on more of trying to remember the good times but for me, yes, the grief still lingers after many years.... holidays & things like that are hard - I so feel for you Krysten! I like your plans for honoring what feels right for you.. that is what is most important.. HUGS!

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  4. Wow, i started crying when i read your post. i really hope you learn how to live with your loss. i can't even image what that must be like. my heart goes out to you

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  5. YOU are amazing. You are doing what you need to do to take care of you. Take care of yourself. You are making yourself a priority and making your loved ones your priority. I admire your courage, your strength, your honesty. I don't stop to admit it a lot but it does hurt like hell to lose a parent. One that was a great supporter. For me, it's been over 7 years and it still hurts. Every single day. xoxox

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  6. YOU INSPIRE AND AMAZE ME DAILY! I know you're okay and that you are so honest that you'd tell us if you weren't feeling okay! Life is about sharing experiences to motivate others to live LIFE TO THE FULLEST - and you are the epitome of this! HUGS!

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  7. 2014 sounds like it will be a really meaningful and inspirational year.

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  8. I wish I had the words to describe my feelings on this post - but that's all I have about it are all the feelings. I feel your pain, your unimaginable loss and the sadness that comes with it. But I also feel the hope and strength coming from every keystroke. I've not been reading long, but what I have read I know who you are and what you stand for would be enough to make any Dad proud.

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  9. You are such an inspiration. I cannot ever being as strong as you are. Sending you prayers all around. Thank you for continually sharing your story.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this and letting us know how you truly are doing! Loss is horrible and the pain is tremendous and never goes away, but life does move on, we move on, we learn to deal with the pain, it makes us stronger, and it can inspire us to do something great. Be grateful for that time you had with your father. He will always be looking down on you and always smiling. You are strong, beautiful, and inspiring, and we're all here for you through the good and bad times.

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  11. (((hugs))) This will be my third Christmas without my Dad. Now those times when I think of him and want to tell him something comfort me more than they make me sad (because he is somehow still with me), but it is still more bitter than sweet. Here's to rebuilding in 2014, and I had to laugh at the irony of "slowing down" and "training for an Ironman" ;-)

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  12. I love your honesty.
    You have struggled and you have fought.
    You have been kicked and knocked down more times than is fair, but I feel like you are always working on getting back up and moving forward.
    You inspire me... you inspire us all!

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  13. I am so sorry for your loss and heartache. I lost my mom and I know the pain. For what it's worth, it does get easier. xxoo

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  14. Oh my friend. If I could only tell you how much I can relate in such a similarly different way. You know what I've been through this year, and you were such a sweet, friendly, wonderful part of my healing/grieving process. I was talking to my sister about this over the weekend...she's lost 4 babies. Me, only one...but one is enough for anyone to endure. Loss of a loved one is enough for anyone to endure. I feel like we (H and I both) did a lot of repetition in terms of "everything happens for a reason". It became a mantra for a while. (I feel a blog post coming now that I'm writing this out...so I'lll keep it short as not to turn this into a post. LOL)

    I feel you. It's been 4 months for me, and while I feel like it happened further back into the past than that most times, sometimes, I feel like it happened yesterday. It's hard. A song will come on, and I'll cry. A baby will go strolling by with his momma, and I'll cry. I look at my girls and cry. I run, and I cry. (I sob then.)

    I'm here for you. You are strong, so incredibly positive, and so very very inspiring, my friend. While I know he'd love to be here with you to ring in a new year and feel the warmth of the holidays with you, I bet he's just hoping you celebrate yourself. Love you, friend. xoxox

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  15. You'll find it. I love that you are finding opportunity in the difficulty - what a great phrase! If there is any way that I can help you on your journey, please let me know ;)

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  16. I love Carla's comment. It is the comment of a true friend…someone who really cares deeply. And it seems like it's lead you to a place of reflection and hopefully one more step in the healing process. You are incredibly strong, incredibly positive and there's a light that radiates FROM you. So even as you are searching for your light, know that you are also casting light onto others:) xoxo

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  17. Thinking of you. I am so sorry about your Dad. You must miss hime terribly. You are such a strong woman and sharing your story will hopefully bring some healing.

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  18. carla is so genuine and so are you! we are here to check it with each other, support, and be real. Praying for you and thank you for your honesty friend! xxoo

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  19. Hang in there, sweetie. Even after 30 years, I still miss my dad. Tomorrow,12/2, is 31 years. Even though I was not his favorite (my sister 12 years younger was closest to him at the end), I still tear up sometimes (like now) when I think about all he missed with how great my kids grew up to be. He passed away five days before my first child was born and I missed the funeral because of her birth. You will always have a place in your heart for your dad no matter how hard you try not to show it. It's okay.

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  20. Always wishing you the best and thinking of you and the fam. Coming to Toronto earlier this year to run a race, meet you and spend time "in your world" was something I'm glad we did and am lucky to call you a friend: virtual and in real-life. Keep being you and always know that those closest to you know how much you care, stated or not.

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  21. I know I have only just recently found you in blogland but honestly the way you put yourself out there really strikes a chord with me. Even without having met you I can tell that this is the real you, if you know what I mean? Its refreshing and appreciated! So much admiration for how you have and continue to handle yourself whilst life is throwing its worst at you. I also LOVE your attitude about this year being the year to rebuild! I'm so excited to follow you (and hopefully join you at some point!) on your Ironman adventure! Inspiring stuff! :)

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  22. Thank you for your honesty! Great, heartfelt post. And how could you be 100% yet? I lost my brother in law 18 months ago and I can totally relate to the grief coming in waves and out of nowhere comment. All I can say is that it will morph and change as time goes on and you will smile more through the tears.

    Big hugs to you!

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  23. I totally hear you girl!! There are so many things we share and yet some that it's hard to adequately share on any given day....plus I don't want to always share my down moments as they are but a tiny fraction of the day. I love what you have shared and that you are so focused on the positive.

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  24. Hugs girl! I know you will rebuild and be better than ever in 2014. And your Dad will be looking down on you with a smile on his face!

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  25. Oh girl I am sending you such big hugs. I understand the weight of grief so well. It's like nothing that can ever be adequately put into words and it's not something that dissolves easily into the ground as you run, the water as you swim or the bike as you pedal. It hits you in an unreachable part of your soul that you didn't know existed until you lose someone so precious. I've learned these lessons over the last 4 years since losing my nephew. It's not an easy ride but as we go through our routines, we keep the memories of those we cherish most close to our hearts and gradually, the tears flow less often. They never disappear and I honestly don't think they're meant to. But we pick ourselves up and we learn to cope and move forward in honour of their memory and in step with everything they would have wanted in us and for us.
    XOXO

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  26. It's amazing how little things make you think of those you have lost. I lost my mom, my best friend, 8 years ago and it still feels like last month. I still want to pick up the phone and tell her when something exciting happens but I can't, nor can I cry on her shoulder when I feel down or lost. I am not sure the loss of a parent ever truly goes away, but I am finding my way too. 2014 will be my year to honour my mom and make my own health a priority (instead of putting everyone else first). She put everyone else first and it cost her dearly, I choose to not repeat my mother's mistakes and take control. Just as you have set a lofty goal, so am I. I think it helps us to keep them in mind while we strive to be better. Grief is something to be acknowledged and accepted for who is to say why those we have lost pop into our heads at random moments...I like to think I have a chance to give my Mom one more hug every time she comes to mind. I can't bring her back but I'll also never let her go....

    Big hugs - hope to see you again soon! xo

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  27. This post is beautiful and I definitely think it's impossible to be 100% honest on a blog because honestly some days you do feel okay and then the next day you don't. One hour you feel fine and the next hour a crying attack comes. I can't imagine losing a parent and I think it would be hard to be completely accurate about describing your feelings because I'm sure they are sometimes impossible to describe. And that's okay! Just feel them, experience them, because they will help you grow. Whenever I try to fight my feelings I end up hurting myself in the long run. I'm glad you have honest friends like Carla to say thought provoking things that make you step back and reflect. Because your reflections in posts like this help so many others! Bang on!

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  28. What a wonderful post! I don't think you've been hiding your struggles, but you try to be more positive than negative, which I understand. And I'm so sorry about your dad, I know that is something you'll never get over and you'll always have those moments (at least I suspect). He's cheering for you from above!

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  29. There are so many people cheering for you and behind you in everything you do. I'm so sorry for your loss and you're making a wonderful legacy to your dad with all that you do. {{{hugs}}}

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  30. Thank you for your honesty... of course you are going to have rough days. You're so strong to open us and allow us into your journey. Hugs!!

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  31. Hmmm, I think that my comment went to spam so I'm going to try again. All I wanted to say was that you continue to inspire and amaze me - your strength and your honesty. This time of year is hard for me too. Even though I lost my Dad many many years ago, it's hard not to think of him around the holidays (and the anniversary of his passing is just after the new year). Sending lots and lots of love and healing to you. xoox

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