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.

 

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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 made friends.

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 am developing new and true friendships 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.

Short and Sweet

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A general life update, I suppose.

Things are great. Its warming up fast here in Denver (except of course today’s little eight inches of snow fall, good thing none of it stuck to the ground..! Never thought I’d ever be wearing gloves and scarf in May…) I’m finding myself so busy, as I have been ever since I got here… that I just can’t find the time to write anything down anymore.

Work is going well, I just passed two months at this new company. My department works hard, and there’s a lot of work to be done, but it’s good to finally be in a place where I’m really doing something everyday.

The anniversary of my arrival in Denver is coming so quickly… it’s shocking how the time has passed so quickly.

My parents are coming for their first visit in nine days! They’ll be here for seven days and I can’t wait to show them all around the life I’ve created here.

My bucket list has been checked off left and right. I don’t even know how long that update will take. I’ve seriously been doing everything.

So I guess this isn’t a real update, however I promise to have one soon.

Thanks friends.

When life welcomes you…

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When you reach a point in your life when you can honestly say you have absolutely nothing to complain about… because even though there are bad things, they’re so tiny compared the masses of happy things you have in your life… I will congratulate you. I will jump up and down and hug you; because this means that you have truthfully learned to forgive and forget. You have learned not to sweat the small stuff, and you have learned that you CAN choose happiness. I am there.

….

In a conversation with my mom today I said something in passing, but it wasn’t until later that I realized how what I had said was so incredibly profound. I realized the deepness in the truth of what I had said. I realized where I am in my life today. I told her the following: “There is no child left in me. There is no teenager, there is no early twenty-something. Those parts of me are just gone. I’ve felt this way for awhile but it wasn’t until now that it has felt like I’m 100% there. I am truly happy with who I’ve grown into. I am stuck in a strange transitional phase between where I was and where I’m going, but I’m definitely ready to get there”.

…..

I’ve been saying for awhile that I am working on something amazing; and I was. I had a series of projects that I started in April, almost one year ago. I started these side projects and they’ve almost all come together. They’re not done, but they’re almost there. All of my goals, my one year bucket list plans… they’re almost all completed. Almost… and there should only be a few months until I can honestly say they’re complete. Never in my life have I been so motivated, and anyone who knew me before and still knows me now can see the changes my life has been through, and the results are wonderful.

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Footsteps.

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My entries are coming around again, full circle I guess.

I wrote once a year ago, and I think a year before that as well, how funny things can be. How funny coincidences are. How each step you make leads to, literally and figuratively to the next step. And, I mean, obviously. Obviously everything that happens is a direct result of other things happening first. But I can’t help but believe in fate, in some form at least. How else can you explain such subtle, tiny coincidences?

Like the fact that timing truly seems to be everything. Each moment in time, each step. Each interaction… it all happens because the second you happen to be somewhere, someone else happens to be there, too.  And if not someone, then something.

Everything comes together. Everything falls apart. Looking back, it all leads to the next step (like I said before, that’s because it has to. Time doesn’t ever just stop).

It’s incredible to me how now that I’m happy, I can’t ever find the words to say. Feeling the way I feel now – I guess it’s indescribable.

The point of this entry, actually, is how grateful I am for the tiny steps, the subtleties, and the right timing. Eight months straight I’ve gotten everything I need. I’ve had the bad news, the bad days, but each unfortunate event has led to the  most amazing results. Some days I feel like I’m in a story.

And this time, it was this blog. This tiny thing I do in my random moments of spare time that has led me to a job that I so desperately needed at the time. So thanks – to those of you who know who you are.

Guys. Guys.. GUYS..?!

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I’m exhausted, and I am getting thoroughly annoyed at the amount of “I’m incredibly interested in you for this position, what time are you available for an interview/phone call/meeting/coffee” and then responding promptly that I’m available and then NEVER HEARING BACK FROM THEM AGAIN. Seriously?

And the amount of times every single day I fill out the same exact responses to each and every question. I’m dying from the repetitiveness of it all.

It’s been twenty-five days.

In the meantime, my birthday has come and gone, as well as valentines day and a visit from one of my closest friends in Michigan.

Valentines day was wonderful because I’m lucky to have a wonderful man by my side. I’m not a celebrator of the day, because it’s stupid. But, we hiked and spent the day together and that’s all that matters to me.

My birthday party went well enough, I have a bit of a birthday party curse and each year it blows up in my face. 26 was no different, but overall I can’t complain.

My actual birthday was amazing, again thanks to my boyfriend who is so incredibly there for me in every situation that I come across. Dinner, Wine, Dessert and the best gifts I could ask for. Probably the best birthday I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly lucky and grateful.

And last, a visit from my best friend from Flint, where I went to college in Michigan, and her boyfriend. It was a short weekend trip but it consisted of everything a trip needs. We spent time outside, we drank, we explored Denver’s art museum and we ate at amazing Denver restaurants. They were beyond gracious considering my financial situation and I couldn’t have asked for a better time with them.

Now, if only I could find a job.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking! Clearing my mind, and training.

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I have been unemployed for a little over a week now, and have spent each and every day applying for every single job I can possibly find that I am qualified for, and walking. I have to walk. I have to stop at some point in my ten hour straight marathon resume-sending to get a break. The stress alone of not knowing how long the money I have will last…   Walking has become my free time to clear my mind and make sure I don’t explode.

I have some pretty exciting hikes planned for the summer, and since it is finally warming up outside after a freezing couple of weeks, I started my spring training early =) So Jasper and I hit the foothills. I haven’t been hiking as much as I’d like, but now that Jasper is old enough to hit the tougher trails, I brought him a long for easier difficultly level to see how he’d handle it.

He did wonderfully, as I expected.
I have a list of all these trails to start hiking, gradually making my way up to the really tough stuff in preparation for the expert trails we’ll be on this summer. Wish me luck kids.

IMG_3415IMG_3356IMG_3408IMG_3404IMG_3352IMG_3350IMG_3348IMG_3332IMG_3325IMG_3318I obviously like the big red rock formations. We definitely don’t have that in Michigan. 😉

Another step on an endless path.

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I have everything. For the first time, I truly have everything.

Or, well, wait, I had Everything.

To those of you who know me you already know, but I lost my job on Friday. I was finally on my feet, I was paying down my debt, and paying it down fast. I was finally able to buy myself a new pair of shoes when I needed them, and filling the cabinets instead of purchasing groceries for one meal at a time.

But other than employment and debt repayment, I have everything. I am so thankful that I do have everything that I have. Mainly my friends and family, because seriously…. you guys are AMAZING.So, as far as blogging goes, I think I might slow down a little again. I’ve been spending eight hours a day applying to jobs and sending my resume all over town and going to interviews and blah blah blah. As Tracy keeps saying to me, finding a full time job is a full time job. Mmhm. Yes it is.

That’s all for my general update today. More later.

Excitement in 2014

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My writers block has disappeared. I can’t stop writing lately.

I’ve been keeping up on my entries here, I have an ENTIRE other blog I’m working on that has yet to be published publicly and the amount of actual paper I’m going through at home these last few weeks is ridiculous.

I have so much energy lately. I really feel ready to take on the world. I’ve had my morning smoothie every day since Christmas and I can honestly feel the SLAM of nutrients and vitamins. I am more awake, I am healthier, I am vibrant and AWAKE.

I’m also back into my fitness routine. I’ve been back doing my yoga no less than twice a week for a couple of months now, and I’m seeing the results. My body just works better when I’m doing my regular yoga. I love it.

As far as a general life update, as I’ve mentioned I’m working on a couple of my 2014 goals, the other blog is one of them, I’m cooking more at home (no where near as often as when I lived in Michigan, but that’s the one big difference between living with your significant other and not living with your significant other). I’m saving money and paying down my debt faster than I ever have before.

My parents are coming to visit the end of May. I’m incredibly excited. For the first time I’m really proud of my life and I can’t wait to share some of it with them. 119 more days til they arrive. YAY countdowns. Anyone who has been reading my blog for a while you know how much I love having a countdown.

As for travel plans for 2014 there are a few things on my MUST DO list.

First – MESA VERDE. Duh. It’s been on my bucket list since fifth grade and now I live within driving distance of it.

Mesa-Verde-National-Park-Cliff-Palace-2Second – I just MUST go snowmobiling in the mountains. MUST! It’ll be wonderful.

Feb11 037Because really? Why wouldn’t you want to do that???

And my final really important travel goal is my trip to Indy in July for Trevor and Elizabeth’s wedding. I will max out credit cards for that wedding. I don’t care. PRIORITIES PEOPLE!

Ok that’s all for todayyy enjoyyyy your weekend everyone!