For weeks I have been just surviving. I don't know what other way to put that...other than I have been just keeping my head above water.
That probably means nothing to you. A lot of people will take that as a "she just managed to get everything done in time." When to me it means "she just managed to get out of bed."
I don't know how to explain it. These things hit me...and they hit me hard. I have had multiple panic attacks almost every day for no reason. I'm snapping at my daughter, my immune system is tanking, and I haven't slept more than 4 hours in weeks.
My husband is gone for a few weeks. And I am struggling.
Here's the honest truth...and something that is really hard for me to admit. I am horrible when it comes to being alone. I'm all "Miss Independent" "I've got this" "watch me rock this." But then I get home, I put my daughter to bed...and I'm panic attack city.
Lately it's been everything. Sunsets, smells, songs...
I see my dad, I smell him, I hear him...and I can't function. My heart races, my body freezes up...I feel tears coming for seemingly no reason.
It is taking everything in me to keep moving. I don't know why...I hate it. I despise feeling this way, and my chest constantly feels heavy. But I feel like I can't breathe.
I want to be honest as I've always been. I don't know why my heart hurts lately. It's been years, and my life is better than it has ever been. It doesn't make sense for things to hurt right now...it doesn't make sense that my heart aches for someone who really never gave a shit.
But it does. Summers were the good times, or at least the easier times. The nights on the boat, the evenings running around the docks...the times my father started to act like a normal human being.
I don't know why it hurts. I don't know why I miss the lunatic that made my life hell for 20 years.
I do know that it hurts. And this year it feels worse than usual.
I spent the afternoon driving a route for our motorcycle ride on Sunday for Adamshine. Within two hours I was frustrated as the route we had planned was not safe for bikes...and I refuse to put anyone in a dangerous situation. I was driving circles trying to rewrite our route.
I came flying down a hill, irritated as it was my third "go" at trying to make it work and I was running out of options. It had been starting to rain, and I was drained.
The sun had tried to peak through...but not enough. I was feeling defeated.
As I came down the hill a James Taylor song came on. One I hadn't heard in years. I instantly felt my attitude change a little...and then I saw it.
I know that road like the back of my hand. I blew past it because I was trying to finish the route. I got to the next road we were supposed to turn down...and for the 40th time today...gravel. Road work. A big old NOPE in the bike world.
So I turned around. I went back to Cascade. And guys...the sun came out. It started SHINING.
I went down the road...and stopped on a bridge.
I lost it. Tears pouring.
The waterfall where I spread my father's ashes is just off of Cascade Road.
The route works through that road. It's the only one that isn't destroyed from winter plowing.
Today I was supposed to be on that road. He tried to tell me and I didn't listen.
So maybe he is there. Even when I fight it.
For the first time in any moment I can remember...I have to say thanks dad. I didn't expect that today. And it has me feeling things I had buried years ago.
It's the smell...the noise...the momentary lapse in your brain that you remember everything.
You remember the screaming and the hell. You remember all of the bad.
You don't know why the memories chose that moment to come through...but the reality is that they come back ten fold.
I was standing at the sink tonight when my dad's cologne came through. The window was open...but that was a smell I haven't experienced in over ten years. It came back STRONG. It made my heart beat a little faster, and my instant reaction was to check the back door. It made me nervous. It made me uncomfortable. It made me question everything in the house for a moment.
He's gone. Has been for years. But those triggers are very much alive.
There was no one there. Obviously nothing was wrong...the cologne was a figment of my own neurotic stress.
Never doubt someone when they talk about their triggers. You have no idea how easily a noise, smell, overall "feeling" can slam someone like a freight train.
My dad's pictures hang in our upstairs hallway. I notice them EVERY time I walk by...and I consistently think about taking them down.
What do I hope to accomplish by keeping them there? They hurt me. They remind me that there were these good moments despite the hell...and that is something that I continuously struggle with. How can there be good when there was that much bad? They remind me that I MISS HIM. They remind me that I want a dad. They remind me that some bullshit things happened when I was a kid.
But they also remind me that my kids have a dad. A dad that adores them with every fiber of him. A dad that works so hard to keep us all together and afloat. A dad that is fighting to get through school while doing everything else...just so that we can all live a great life. This man is showing his kids that when you work for things you want, they can happen.
Those photos remind me of where I came from. I came from a lot of scary situations. I came from a girl who was scared to trust anyone...but clung to everyone.
And now I'm not that girl anymore. I have built a home with a man who is better than I could have hoped for. I have a beautiful bonus girl, and a miracle baby. I have everything I wanted and that much more.
So I will leave the pictures. Because I am stronger because of them. I am stronger because of the man in them. I am unshakeable because I went through so much so fast.
He's still gone, it still hurts, I still wish I had a dad. It aches every day when I pass those pictures.
But I'm okay. I have been able to survive so much because of the things that he did and the life that he lived. I have learned so much, and I have gotten to a place where I feel I can be a better parent because of him.
Recently I randomly saw someone that verbally came after me a few years ago...a person who actually inspired this post.
I was thrown off at first...and just went about things as if that person wasn't there. But it stuck in my mind...the hateful nasty messages from over 5 years ago. I even reread them out of curiosity to see if I had overacted (I hadn't by the way...they were pretty terrible). And I just felt...crappy.
But then I reread the post that was my response to the situation. I realized how strong the head on my shoulders was at that time. I was damned and determined to turn my life around. I was in a rough spot...newly separated...hurting...and I was trying so hard to find my own legs to stand on. I did it publicly...because I don't believe in the bullshit posts on Facebook about how "life is so amazing" when it's not. Y'all can choose to live that way if you choose...but I'm human. And I act like it.
I also realized in all this that I don't talk about the daily struggles anymore. Silly things like mini panic attacks when I see a Mitsubishi Galant, or the feeling of dread I get when one of my father's friends pops up in public like a bat out of hell. It still happens...and while I want to get it out of my head through writing...I just can't find the time.
Life is hard to juggle right now, grad school, work, husband in nursing school, running a business, kids, house...
But it's pretty awesome.
So I guess this is a thank you to the mystery woman who tried to tear me down years ago. You've yet again given me the inspiration to get back on this blog. Because it's people like you that try to silence those who are struggling. "It shouldn't be public," "that's your private information," "stop seeking attention."
Oh sweetie if I had a nickel...
I hope everyone who reads this page gets the courage to stand up and talk about bad things that have happened to them. Because anyone that has had to deal with abuse, manipulation, and hell...has been taught that you DON'T talk about those things. They've been taught by people like this woman telling them to be quiet about their "personal" information. Making them feel alone and helpless.
I don't care who is reading this. You're not alone. There is nothing wrong with talking about the things you have dealt with. It's healthy...and you should do whatever you need to do to help yourself heal. Ignore the assholes.
I'm not going to give some apology because I never write...because the reality is that I have two kids now...a house to take care of...a husband who is home twice a week (on a good week)...work full time...and grad school. Momma's a little frazzled.
I can barely take care of myself, let alone get around to posting what I think need to be posted.
On that note...here is our Christmas letter. The real stuff, not the sugar coated crap you typically get in the mail.
This year has been one of the best and the worst all at the same time. This year has changed EVERYTHING.
First thing this year we lost our best friend. A freak accident that took the life of someone we cared about deeply. Meanwhile, his wife faced a life she wasn't at all ready for...this year started as a year we all had to learn from. It was a start that threw us all for a massive detour. Mortality is a scary thing to face at our ages...and we will remember him forever. The first year of #adamshine...and it will continue to grow.
I thank God we had a big thing to look forward to. It helped us through some of the hardest days we have had. Two weeks later (almost to the day)...our daughter was born. Emmalynne. The absolute love of my life. The most beautiful newborn baby I have ever seen. She's quite literally a miracle I didn't think could ever happen.
4 days after she was born I turned 25. One of the most exciting, and forgotten birthdays I've ever had. Not forgotten in a bad way...but forgotten on my end...as I was too distracted by trying to sleep longer than 5 minute stretches. It was my best birthday by far.
The next 4 months flashed by faster than I could have ever imagined. I finished my first semester of my MBA (still not sure how given Emma was born 3 days AFTER the semester started), and Nick finished his 2nd year of nursing school. He did amazingly well...and I passed. All of my full time classes...and to be honest I couldn't be happier. I went from a person obsessed with GPA and honors...to someone that realized family and my home is more important than some letter on a transcript.
In those 4 months, we had our bridal shower, bachelorette/bachelor parties, and Emma's baptism. It was a whirlwind few weekends (yes we packed that all together for the out of towners). Emma has THREE amazing godparents...and we have beautiful friends and family that joined us for those days. We really *stocked the bar* at the shower...and we had a blast at the bachelorette party.
May 28th was one of the best days of my life. We became one family. The party of 4...officially. It was an amazing day...one that I can't word the way I want to. And I won't make your eyes bleed by hearing all the mushy gushy crap. We spent our one *mini honeymoon* night in the ER...because we really like to keep things interesting...
We went to Cape Cod this summer. Munchkin's first time on an airplane (that she remembers). She was so nervous...but opened up as we hit the clouds. She couldn't stop taking pictures...and we had an AMAZING vacation. One that I can't wait to repeat every year with our girls. Being with such amazing family friends...watching munchkin open up to people she had never really met...it was better than I can say.
Then summer ended WAY too fast and we ended up all back at school and the adults working. It has been a rough 5 months. Emma missed her daddy a lot and we spent a lot of time apart. As in...short visits twice a week when he wasn't at work or school. School semesters seem to slip by this household faster than we plan (all while feeling like they are dragging).
Here Christmas has arrived...and it's hard to believe so much has happened in one year. We were just moving into our house a year ago...and here we are settled. Granted my garage still looks like a bomb has gone off...but in all disclosure give a mom a break. It's been a BIG year.
Buying a house. Baby. Nursing school. Grad school. Marriage.
Trying to somehow stay afloat.
We have lost...AND gained family members.
It hasn't been easy.
And while it has been anything but "perfect" in the normal term...it has been perfect for us.
Welcome to 2017 y'all...things are about to get even more interesting.