Finding my way back


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My dad died four months and twenty days ago.


Next month will have been two years since we learned of the cancer. Throughout the life of the cancer, I hid. I hid away while my brain never stopped buzzing, never stopped reminding me of what would eventually come. Eventually, there’d be a day he wouldn’t be here anymore. I knew I was fading out of the lives of people who knew me. I knew my days were beginning to suffer. I knew, to an extent, what to expect. I was preparing myself. I was preparing myself for the absolute worst and, in hindsight, the ‘worst’ that I was imagining was nothing in comparison to what I’ve felt in the last four months and twenty days.


The last month of his life, well, the last 26 days actually, were bad. They were so bad I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I was. All the mental preparation, all the emotional storage I’d set aside for the day that would eventually come, nothing could prepare me for the cancer spreading to his brain. The tumor that caused him to go back in time and call me, midday, asking me why I wasn’t home to help him. The tumor that led him to believe that I was just a trip down the road, and yet never coming by to say hi. The tumor that caused him to believe that every phone call was me calling to say there was an emergency. Every conversation was a panic of him believing I was hurt, I’d been in accident, I was sick or I was in trouble.

The miracle of modern medicine, as much as it accelerated his downfall, finally came in to be beneficial. Two weeks of him being confused, lost and scared was wiped away in just a couple short shots of radiation to his brain. He was back. We had him back and he was doing better than he had in months. But we only had him for two more weeks.


I was at work when I got the call that he’d collapsed and was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I calmed my mom enough to drive and follow him, while silently but noticeably panicking on my own. I was working late, and there were only two others in the office. They overheard my conversation and promptly gathered my belongings and ushered me out the door. My mom told me over and over he’d be fine, don’t come home. Don’t waste the plane ticket just to have to come back out later, when he does pass.

A few hours went by, it was after midnight when she called and said to come home. Even though he wanted no life saving measures, they put him on life support until I could arrive.


I’d spent the last year imagining the plane ride to Michigan. Would I be hysterical? Would strangers around me be offering me tissues, wondering what type of tragedy I was flying to or running away from?

I was silent. Still. Stone.


He had been unresponsive since he’d collapsed. He probably had a heart attack, but we never did get confirmation, just murmurs from nurses about chances this or that may have happened. His body was shutting down, it could’ve been a number of things.

He was taken off life support moments after I arrived. I think I still had my coat on. Everything felt hurried. We held him and said our goodbyes. We cried and we were quiet.

And then we sat.

We were quiet for a very long time. We watched his breaths. They were staggered. They were rare. It was sort of fascinating to see how he could live on so few inhales for as long as he did. We watches the number of inhales on the monitor slowly go down, over hours.

Eventually we knew we had to say something. I started. We told stories and shared our favorite memories. We talked for hours. We never left him alone. We lived on coffee, water and cheap snacks the nurses would bring around.


Twenty three hours or so later. He left us.

We packed up our things, we made arrangements. We took care of the necessary paperwork, we said our goodbyes to the friends and family members who had arrived throughout the day. We eventually made calls and sent texts to the people we promised we’d update. We went home.


A week later I came back to Denver. I quickly descended into the place I’d never prepared myself for. I expected to miss him, I expected to be sad that he was gone, I did not expect every single day to be harder than the day before. I did not expect to lose hope and faith in myself. I did not expect to fall into a pit of depression that I could not dig out of. I did not expect to find myself losing all my goals, because what does an achieved goal matter if he was not there to be proud?

I cried, daily. I picked up my phone to call him, only to remember he wouldn’t answer. I painfully pulled out pictures, and quickly hid them away again, only to bring them out again.

I buried myself away. I had a very small circle of people who I could cry to, scream at, push away just to pull back again. I had to get through this on my own. Going out and talking about it just wasn’t an option for me. Going out and talking about anything wasn’t an option for me. Talking, out loud, was a reminder that I had nothing to say. Through the crying and yelling and hiding, I never had actual words to say. There is truly nothing that can be said.

I knew the day would come when I’d start to feel okay again. A couple weeks ago I saw the first glimpse of my normalcy. I’d have okay days and more bad days, my ups were never more than half way. But through the haze and fog I was able to remember why I am where I am, and who I am. I’m a creation of my dad’s work, personality and pride. I am lucky and honored to not only have known him and to be his daughter, but to also have had the friendship we had. We were close. We shared secrets and stories and never went more than a couple of days without catching up. This relationship gives me more to miss, but gives me that much more to be happy I had, and the memories I’ll always have.

I haven’t written much in over a year. Again, there was nothing that could be said. It’s been four months and twenty days, and I’m starting to find myself again. The version of me I’ve discovered, is different. I’ve changed, and I can accept that. My priorities have been altered, my personality slightly shifted. But I have a grip on my life again, and I can start moving forward.

My dad was an amazing man, husband, father and friend. The tales I’ve heard since he’s passed from the people who knew him have only increased my love for him. Every story has the same moral – he was kind, genuine and caring. He went out of the way to better every situation he was in. I don’t know if I’ll ever find another person like him.

I will live my life differently. I will bring his lessons into the lives of my eventual children. I will bring the same level of care and consideration into my own relationships. I will cherish every moment and never forget the man he was, my father. My friend.



settling [down]


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Tell me, world –

When is settling appropriate? What is the true difference between settling and settling down? When is risking everything for something potentially bigger and better no longer considered a good idea? Is it when you’ve reached a certain age? A certain income? A certain level of happiness?

I am happy; but then again when am I not? If there is anything ANYONE has learned from this blog it’s that I’m always happy. I’ve been in some pretty crappy situations in my life, I’ve stayed too long with bad boyfriends, I’ve had miserable employers and I’m dealing with a dying parent, but have you seen me lately with a frown on my face? I promise you that you have not. I’m happy. Always. I figure, this is life. This is just another step during another day, and I’m still alive.

If you followed your dreams and arrived in the city you always desired, and you have an amazing boyfriend and a job that pays well and doesn’t make you want to kill yourself – is it responsible to keep trying new things in an attempt for an even higher level of happiness? Since I can’t complain about my current life – if I don’t try to achieve more, am I settling for the life I have now? Or am I growing up and thus settling down?

Is this just what it feels like to be 27 and content? For the most part I’m completely unwanting.

For the most part. That’s the key phrase there. How far can I push it? Life is not meant to be perfect. People are not meant to be 100% totally happy and content and unwanting. The desire to be more or have more: that is the desire that pushes the human population to continue moving forward.

I’m happy. But the question remains… is it possible to reach that 100%?

What’s the risk? If I make a minor change in my mostly perfect life, could I lose all the other perfect pieces? I often find myself concerned when I’m stressed out in one area (because even perfectly happy unwanting people have their stressors) that all the areas are bound to fall apart as well. I’m often reminded by the people and situations that surround me that the puzzle pieces in my life are not usually effected by the puzzle pieces on the other side of the board, but only effected by the ones directly connected.

So at 27 and 98% satisfied, how hard does one push for a complete puzzle?

…on being afraid.


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I used to spend a lot of time being afraid.

After the car accident when I was turning 19 I became afraid of being alone. What if I died and no one knew? I became terrified of being in the car by myself. What if I died and no one knew? When I wasn’t afraid of myself dying, I’d become terrified of my parents dying. Driving down the expressway I’d find myself sobbing after imaging the phone call informing me of one of their deaths. On shorter drives, I’d imagine being old and unmarried, no children to care for me, no companion by my side.

One of my many goals when I moved to Colorado was to work through whatever caused those fears. I knew I needed to stop surrounding myself with people just out of my fear of dying suddenly. I knew I needed to stand up for myself, admitting when I was unhappy and being open about my views and insights on life happening around me. I knew, deep down inside, that I was okay, and I was good enough, and that there was nothing stopping me from being myself.

However, as everyone knows, this is all easier said then done. In social situations, I was still afraid. I was afraid of the people around me, uncontrollable, with their abilities to further scare me. I was afraid of my own ability to communicate. I was afraid I couldn’t say what I meant. I was afraid that even though I was in Colorado, I’d still somehow be stuck in scary Michigan-like situations.

And, as if it was a self fulfilling prophecy, the things I was afraid of all came to light. My dad is dying. My life in Colorado became full of Michigan-like scenarios I was uncomfortable in. I found myself taking all too familiar paths that I didn’t want to be taking, and I was doing so for reasons that didn’t include the betterment of myself, but instead because of a fear of walking away.

In my last post I mentioned that life is no longer a surprise. Honestly, it’s not. When it came time to face the fears I’d always had, they weren’t so bad after all. I’ve learned a lot in this journey with my dad’s cancer and I finally found the ability to walk away from the situations I’m uncomfortable in. I’ve found a source within me to be more comfortable in the situations that aren’t actually that scary after all. Also mentioned in my last post, I, to some extent, have found myself. My true self.

While making all these decisions for myself lately and not for those surrounding me, I’ve made a lot of changes that have drastically impacted my life and my well being. I put myself first. I made choices that were scary and ended up being some pretty damn great things for myself. I’m happy now, and much less afraid.


Forward Motions


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A lot of this blog has been about “growing up”. Making it through your twenties (early twenties I guess), learning, and experiencing life. People ask me why I don’t write anymore and I never have a reason as to why. Life has settled down to some extent. Not to say I’ve stopped learning and growing and experiencing, because that will never be the case no matter how old I grow. But the experiences have slowed down. The lessons are expected. Life is no longer a surprise.

I’ve been through all the basic life lessons a handful of times now, and as they continue to come at me in the future I’m more prepared for the lecture I’m going to hear from the world and the reactions I’ll have in regards to it.

I’m turning twenty-seven in a couple weeks, and being my overly emotional self – I have a strong feeling about it. I feel like this is going to be a big year for me. I feel like 27 is going to be an important year. I feel like I’m no longer a student in the game of life but maybe, finally, I’ve reached some sort of point where I have direction and a more significant plan. My previous plans, in hindsight, have been in order to set me up, to prepare me for the next step. 27 feels like the start of the next round.

Life comes at you in chapters. I did high school, college, insecure times, and the life changing times.

Now I’m here, life changed. Awaiting the next step. I have entered into the next chapter, and as my life has taught me about growing up – there is nothing I should be waiting for. It’s going to be a long chapter. The plot will not thicken quickly leading to a climatic adventure and an exciting page turning experience. Life just is. I’ve entered the chapter of quiet confidence.

I’ve had a lot of time to think, I’ve made decisions based on my needs rather than my wants and hopes. I am no longer crossing my fingers for other people to make changes to my life. I have learned to take my life for what it is and carry on. This might sound slightly negative depending on the connotation you’re reading it in, however this is a positive change for me. Life is a bit easier when you aren’t waiting around for the things you can’t control.

Thanks for listening, friends.



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I was thinking the other day
about how I feel so much younger than I thought I’d feel at this age
and that when you’re young and you imagine the future –  you imagine feeling settled and complete
but you never really do, ya know?
so maybe “young” is not what I feel
maybe it’s what every single adult feels
and it’s not actually feeling young at all
its just human
it’s just how people feel.

Is the grass ever greener?


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I felt like I was being accused of a grass is always greener type the other day.

Turns out the person “accusing” me was actually just making a little statement that in no way meant that they were referring to me, but I took it to heart anyway and they got an earful for it.

It was one of those moments that I responded without any thought and my response was perfectly worded and honest and wonderful and I love those random moments when that happens.

But I’ve been thinking about it for days.

That grass that people refer to is never greener. Not at first at least.

It’s the motivation to make a change that causes the step off the original path to wind up being better in the long run. When you stray from your route, the other side of the hill is just dirt. There is no grass. When you believe it will be better, you plant the seeds for something better. You put the work in and you create a greener path.

The other side of the hill is never just ready and greener when you get there. There is nothing easy about stepping off your path.

lost thoughts


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I think, maybe, for the first time in my entire life I’m experiencing the ability to take a step back and really look at it. For the first time my priorities are not just based on moving forward and creating the best life I can for myself, but also experiencing life and love and creating memories that are real. For a long time in my life I faked my memories, I covered up bad days with unrealistic fantasies in my mind and chose to believe the fantasy. For years I tried creating wonderful days only to have them stomped on by someone else’s poor attitude and for years I chose to look over all the bad and make believe there was enough good in my life to go on.

Once I woke up from that life I moved to Denver and made my priority to live my life for myself. In a year I created something amazing here. I struggled through each day, fighting for my best chance and I succeeded.

But now, now I look at everything differently. Now I spend each day torn between the life I created here – a life that is perfectly to my choosing, a life where I am thoroughly happy and loved and appreciated, a life where I have so much joy and give so much of myself to those around me, a life where each relationship I have is a two way street… and I look at the life I have back home, my parents, my family, my friends and a blank space where I should be.

Or, should be?

I feel like I’m failing my family by not being there with them now. My dad has a limited amount of time left and it is truly impossible to decide what to do. I have many trips and plans to be there and spend large amounts of time there over the next year, but is that enough? Is spending 25-30% of my time in Port Huron enough to satisfy the needs of everyone involved? In five years will I look back and think “I should’ve just moved home for the time being, and gone back to Denver later to start over again.”

Is it selfish of me, after working this hard to settle down here to not want to give it up? Especially after my parents were the people who supported me the most when I was working hard to create a life here? My life here is what makes my dad so incredibly proud of me, so how can I give it up for him? How can I disappoint him to spend more time with him?

It’s a catch 22.


Facing Reality Part 2


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I’m the type of person who is always preparing for the worst. I do it about everything. No, I’m not constantly worried or frazzled, but deep down in my mind I always have three back up plans, two escape plans and the ability to not be surprised. My life runs fairly smoothly, because nothing is ever as bad as it could be, so I’m usually over-prepared. This is how my dad taught me to live.

When I found out my dad had stage three lung cancer, which was his original diagnosis, my mom and I [obviously] went straight to the internet and did as much research as we could. Each page says something a little different so we gathered what information we could and created a vague base of knowledge.

We knew he had about a year left.

When his cancer was upped to stage four, terminal, we immediately went back to the internet. We knew we’d see worse stats but we needed to be prepared. The estimated, average life length after diagnosis significantly dropped however for some reason, the life length of one year still stuck with me.

I did not prepare for the worst.

I did not hope for the best, either. I know better. I know better than to hope for something that could disappoint me. But I did not plan for the worst.

When the news came from the oncologist that even with chemo, to expect an entire year left with my dad was having high hopes, I crumbled. We’ve known for a month this was coming, we’ve known for a month he had a year or less. But hearing it officially, hearing the expiration date and really understanding what that means…

…There are no words to explain my thoughts and feelings. So, I’m writing. I’m doing my best here.


I have three trips planned for Michigan over the next six-eight months.
I have the most incredibly supportive boyfriend.
I work for the most caring company in the world.
I have care, love and support from every single person I know.

I have everything I could possibly ask for within this situation that no one deserves.

I keep reminding myself that at least we have time. He did not die in a horrific sudden accident. We have time. Not everyone gets that.


Facing reality.


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Everyone says now is the time I really should be focusing on my writing.

This is a “proper outlet” for my feelings.

“Oh, the beauty you could create with your words and feelings”.

Well, first of all there is nothing beautiful about these feelings.

Secondly, my dad reads this blog. How am I supposed to write how I’m feeling without causing him to crumble?

Third, I can barely say anything out loud. I struggle talking to my own loved ones about how I feel. I cry over a passing thought that flickers through my brain, silently. How am I supposed to sit at a computer and type my feelings without causing some sort of hypothetical flood across my keyboard?

But honestly, all the people who have said this to me… they’re probably right. I should be writing my way through this. Even if I’m not writing about this, I should be writing. This is how I’ve gotten myself through everything that has happened in my life.

I am perfectly aware that how I feel is exactly the same as how everyone feels when they’re in similar or equal situations. Everyone suffers through a family member who is ill, or has died, or has had some terrible thing happen to them. Grief is felt by everyone in this world.

My feelings aren’t different. My feelings that nothing I do matters right now, that every single step I take each day is hard, that my motivation has completely depleted because nothing matters to me right now except my dad and my family… those feelings are widespread felt across the world to anyone who has ever loved anyone. My feelings come in waves through the course of many days. Some days I’m honestly just so happy for the time he has left. Other days I’m angry… at him, at doctors, at cancer, at the world, at myself. Most days I’m just sad. My eyes became tear-filled wells when imaging the future or remembering the past.

How is anything that I do in the future significant if he can’t be a part of it or be there to hear the story of it? How can I have a husband someday if there is no father to ask permission or walk me down the aisle? Who are these children I could have someday if they won’t have their grandfather to tell them life lessons? Why will a promotion be exciting without my dad there to be proud of me for it?


My dad has stage four lung cancer.



“Stage four”: Literally the only thing I see when I close my eyes. The last thing my brain hears before I fall asleep and the daily reminder that I am awake and this is not a dream.


After 30 days since his initial diagnosis – through pneumonia, strep and staff infections in his lungs, and a 21 days hospital stay between two different hospitals… tomorrow is finally his first appointment with an actual oncologist.


Tomorrow is the day we will probably hear all the details. All the things we think we already know, all the tiny pieces that will play out the rest of his life.

My mom keeps reminding me that “this is the new normal”.

My dad keeps saying “I feel like I had pneumonia, I beat it and now I’m fine. I was sick and now I’m not. And then I remember the rest…”

Tomorrow we might hear his estimated life span. Tomorrow we might hear that chemo is no longer an option. Tomorrow we might hear the worst of all the news.

Tomorrow we could hear that the tumor is relatively manageable and he has a long happy life ahead of him.

Tomorrow we could hear a lot of things. I’ve tried my best to not focus AT ALL on the unknown since this started, but tomorrow we learn the unknown. We get the hard facts. We face the future – whatever it may be.


At the end of the day, I’m alive. I’m healthy. I have the world ahead of me. I walk tall. I stay strong. I have the best, BEST support system. I have the most amazing family, friends, boyfriend and even workplace and coworkers and supervisors who have taken amazingly good care of me through this entire situation.

I know I have made my dad incredibly proud already in my life. I am far too young to lose him, and will still be far too young to lose him anytime in the next twenty years, but eventually everyone loses a parent. My time might come early, or maybe it won’t. Every cross-able region on my body is crossed that I wont, but at the end of the day I will always know and be happy for the amazing relationship I have with my dad, how proud of each other we are for the lives that we have lived, and that the rest of my life will be lived to its fullest because he taught me to strive for happiness and accept nothing less.



Denver, one year later….


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One year ago, my mother and I made our way, u-haul following close behind us, through the tiny roads of my neighborhood. I excitedly parked right out in front and ran inside to my new apartment.. to my new life. My mom and I had the u-haul unloaded in two short hours and my apartment was put together and practically unpacked in just a few more hours. My life had finally started.

That first week with my mom, I used my GPS to get me from every single Point A to Point B. I drove twenty miles out of the way for a Target because I hadn’t discovered the one that is just a few minutes away yet.

Within days of my mom leaving, I had started to make friends. I found the local spots in my neighborhood that now feel like home. I embraced each evening with a walk to somewhere new. A beer here, a frozen yogurt there. Everyone was friendly and ready to chat, everyone here was practically as new as I was. Everyone here has that in common – we all came here from somewhere else. We’re all transplants, we all chose Denver.

18 days after arriving I met Scott.

One month later, I had my scooter.

Two months after that, I had Jasper.

Within six months my bucket list had close a dozen items checked off.

Now, one year after my arrival – Jasper is full grown, I’m almost a year into a great relationship, and can’t imagine my life anywhere else. Michigan lives deep down inside of me but when I think of it, it doesn’t feel like home. It is incredibly distant. It has faded practically beyond recognition.

In the last year I have worked three jobs. Had two apartments, and two roommates. I honestly feel like I’ve been here three years. I am not shocked at how fast the time went by, because I feel like I’ve been here longer than anywhere else (Flint, Lansing, East Lansing) But obviously, I haven’t. I have, however, done more in one year here than I did in three years living in the Lansing area. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m living and have lived. I have had a life-changing experience here in the way my life has turned and twisted and landed me to where I am today. I am a degree of happy, settled and put-together that I wasn’t sure truly existed.

Everything, everything is different here. Everything is better. My life feels complete and yet brand new at the same time. I have traveled, I have experienced things, I have done many things in my years, but nothing prepared me for how much more amazing life would be out here. For those of you who aren’t sure… if there is something you really want, something you feel you SHOULD be doing…. if home doesn’t feel like home anymore… make a change. And, do it fast! It’s worth it. It’s hard and expensive and scary and worth every single minute. I found myself here.