Finding the Blessings in a Tragedy <3

Hey everyone!

I NEED to stop this pattern of — blogging — taking a two month break — blogging —. Every time I do it, I restart blogging because I think I haven’t been on the blog forever, I should just delete it.Then I go on the site, see all your wonderful comments and I think “These ladies are SO beautiful/thoughtful/smart/intriguing/inspiring/amazing” and then I write a post. 😛 BUT that initial “I’m back” post is soo long because I need to update you guys on everything!! Promise you don’t hate me for being such a bi-polar blogger?!?!

Warning: This post will be looong. But I promise that if you stick with me and read, you’ll enjoy it.

OK.. so I’d mentioned it several times in the blog, so I’m sure that many of you remember that my dad was sick this fall. Well, on January 12th, 2010 he passed away. After a long six months and an extremely difficult final week, he passed in his sleep at home. That morning, my mom woke me up with tears in her eyes at 8am to tell me that he’d died. It was the most surreal thing in the world. No matter how prepared you are (or you feel you are), it’s an indescribable moment when it happens.

My father and I never had a great relationship (we often lost our temper with one another) but through it all, he was extremely supportive of me. Sophomore year when I was battling with severe depression that surfaced in the form of chronic binge eating, my dad tried his best to understand but couldn’t. All fall semester he heard about my struggles with late night overeating and didn’t get it.. he thought it was as simple as not eating the food. Then, that Christmas break, after a late night binge in my living room, I went to my room to go to bed. Instead of sleeping I was hysterically crying, screaming into my pillow, and kicking around because I was so mad at myself for bingeing. After some time, I got up, went into my parents room, crawled into their bed, and poured my heart out in between sobs for an hour. My parents had no idea how deep to-the-core my depression went and it tore my dad apart knowing I was suffering so much.

The next morning my dad had informed me that he’d ordered 6 books for me about eating disorder recovery and was looking at herbal antidepressants and omega-3 supplements online. My dad always wanted to fix problems, and he was in Mr. Dad Fix-it-Mode. That following year as I struggled with relapses and the daunting task of reshaping the way my mind worked, my dad supported me. He still didn’t always get it (very black-and-white thinker, so the pattern of a few good days, a few bad days didn’t make sense to him.. he thought that once the good days hit I shouldn’t have any more bad days), but he was always willing to try. He stood up for me when my brother belittled my problems, even telling him that his battle with cancer was nothing compared to my battle within my self. My dad always tried to get me to look at life positively, and his happiest moments were when he saw me truly happy.

When you have time to prepare for the loss of a family member, you have the opportunity to imagine how it’ll be. You wonder how those first days will be, the first month, the next year. Believe me when I say this, I could have never predicted it..

Now, two weeks afterwards, I look back with an overwhelmingly positive outlook. Yes, it’s a horrible thing to lose a father so young and it hurts deeper than I can describe to know he’ll miss my future birthdays, holidays, walking me down the aisle, holding his grandkids.. but those aren’t the things I think of most. I think of all the blessings that came from this tragedy. I think of how lucky I am to have a mother that I am so close to, who I love and respect more than anyone else on this earth, who was strong enough to care for my father. I think of how my brother and I grew closer through caring for my dad and ultimately losing him. I think about how we were all home when he passed, and all at peace in our beds, as he would have wanted. I think about how when things got too hard to handle, he only had to suffer one more week. In the seven days before my dad’s death his health spiraled quickly, he spent three days in the hospital, he went into at-home hospice care, and then almost immediately he was gone. His death was not prolonged or agonizing. I think about how he got to spend his last days at home with his family instead of in a hospital with strangers (my dad didn’t have many friends or an extensive family.. his immediate family was all he ever really wanted). I think about how, the day before his health took a swift downward turn, he sat my brother and I down and played us a song he wanted us to listen to on our birthdays, at our weddings, and when our kids are born. I think about how lucky I am that I have amazing friends and family, who helped me get through this month. I think about how I need to live each day with a purpose, seek out others when I’m sad to make me happy instead of wasting hours or days on miserable feelings, see things and meet people to enrich my life, all because when you see life come to and end before your eyes… you realize just what life is. It’s all about learning, loving, experiencing, and living.

For some reason, although I’ve been plagued with depression throughout my college experience, I can’t help but look at this experience, the loss of my father, with a positive spin. Maybe it’s a final gift from my father. The way I’m looking at this is the way he always wanted me to look at life. It’s like he’s turned his passing into one big, final father-daughter heart-to-heart where he gives me advice and positive words of encouragement.

I hope that you can look at negative things and find the positive in them. It might be one of the most important skills to have when trying to pull yourself out of depression/ED and into a happier life. If it’s not the way you think, don’t worry,with practice you can learn to think positively. Hopefully in further posts I’ll be able to share examples of how I am positive in my everyday life, and it can inspire you to do the same. 🙂

Loooooong post. There’s still more to tell.. but way too much for one post. Stay tuned for the next one, where I talk about how I’m currently on an injury-induced break from all things cardio and how I’m NOT freaking out over it and restricting or getting depressed about it and bingeing.

Stay positive,

❤ Michelle

In Loving Memory ~ 8/26/55-1/12/10

(Doesn’t he look sooo adorable in this picture?! It’s my favorite)

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Finding the Blessings in a Tragedy <3

  1. Michelle, I came across your blog from Carrots N Cake. Thank you so much for sharing these precious memories, feelings and insight with us. I am very touched and found myself tearing up at the thought of what you went/are going through. You can be sure that I’ll be lifting you and your family up in prayer.

    Thank you for the encouragement to find the blessings in a tragedy. I’m touched.

    Stay strong. ((hugs))

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. As I sit here with tears in my eyes, I can’t help but think that your dad would be really happy that you’re doing your best to stay positive and appreciate each day. It’s easier to have a “coulda-should-woulda” attitude than to take the time to be thankful for our blessings. Thank you for reminding me of my blessings. ❤

  3. Beth

    *hugs!* *major hugs!*

    I’m so sorry for your loss. (I also lost my dad at age 55 to cancer, so yea.. death really sucks.) Your post is so hopeful and positive its unbelieveable! And that pic is totally cute- it made me tear up a little!

    Hang in there- I’m sure there is more of a journey for you is his passing than you will ever know. Take care!

    ~Beth

  4. whydeprive

    I just came across your blog, and I have to say I am SO sorry for your loss. I teared up a few times reading this post. Your outlook is so positive, and I think thats wonderful.
    I cant even think what it would be like to lose my dad. He’s had cancer twice (he’s all clear now) but I refused to even let myself consider it because its just too hard.

    Anyhow, what I was meaning to say is that your attitude is great. You cant change what happened, and looking back and remembering the good things is so important. After my Grandpa passed away talking about him is one of my favorite things to do.

    This was a truly touching post. Thank you for sharing.

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