How I Climbed Out Of The Valley Of Loss And Healed

“In our lives, change is unavoidable, loss is unavoidable. In the adaptability and ease with which we experience change lies our happiness and freedom.” ~Buddha

The universe was conspiring against me, I was sure of it. By the time I was thirty-six, I had lost everything in life that I had set out to accomplish—my marriage, my pregnancies, my two dogs, and eventually my house. The perfect family model I was so desperate to create was completely lost.

Living alone and in fear of the future, I worried about what may or may not come, because everything I had tried up until that point had failed.

I began doubting myself, as I wasn’t sure if all of my effort was worth it anymore. Anxiety and sadness gripped my heart and I drank to escape, because I really wasn’t up to the task of figuring out how to love myself in spite of my failed expectations.

Then the universe added insult to injury: I found out my dad had metastatic colon cancer, and it was a total devastating surprise. I don’t know how it could have been, since as a nurse I could already see his sunken eyes, pale and ashen lips and skin, and the lack of energy in his step.

Everything about him was telling me that he was dying, but when you love someone, it’s easy to see what you want to see.

Selfishly, I needed to see my dad as the healthy, solid dad I knew. The dad I could rely on for advice and his pick-me-ups of “good job, kiddo.” But most importantly, I needed him to stay the man who helped me when things in my life were most dire.

The thing is, it was not a white knight on a horse, it was my dad who loved and rescued me. It was he in his black Toyota pickup driving over 800 miles from Seattle to San Francisco to rescue me from my abusive marriage. He literally helped to pick me up off the floor after my husband had thrown me to the ground and tried to suffocate me.

It was my dad who collected me and what little remained of my belongings, and without any questions or “I told you so’s,” packed me up and drove me back home to heal. And it was my dad who helped me hire a lawyer to file for divorce.

When I learned that my dependable dad was dying, my mind tried to race against the symbolism of the metastatic invasion into my life that I refused to accept. I was losing again.

How was I going to survive all of this loss? Would I have anything left or would I harden into a shell of a hollow woman?

Despite attempts to plead and bargain with the universe, my dad died on…

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