I was 23 years old when my dad passed away. I remember that phone call, where I was standing, what I was wearing, what I did the rest of the night, so many details after hearing that unexpected news. I was very much attached to my dad and considered myself a daddy’s girl. His death really hit me hard. I did not realize what I was doing until years later.
I did not call home much because I did not want to be reminded of his death and feeling sad. I did not want to have conversations with my sisters or my mom that would make me cry, so I avoided it. I avoided being truthful with myself by going out to the bars a lot. I remember getting done with work some days and just crawling into bed and watching TV. Some days I would not shower because it seemed like too much work. I was letting myself slip away and I did not even know it.
I ended up quitting my job and getting behind on bills. My power and water were turned off. I had to sell my dad’s truck to pay back bills. There was a tipping point in my life; I remember thinking, “life is not supposed to be like this.” I contacted a mental health facility in my town and started talking with a counselor. I was extremely hesitant at first, because I did not want to bring up those feelings. And what could a counselor do if they did not know me? I had a friend nudge me and say, “So what, meet with them. If you don’t like them, don’t go again. You don’t ever have to see that person again if you don’t like them”. That nudge changed my life for the better in so many ways.depression and anxiety. I realized I was having anxiety attacks. Just talking to a person whom I did not know helped me have a fresh perspective on my life. The counselor I found was almost like a silent cheerleader for me. She helped me see what I did have going for me that I was blinded by because of the depression.
I now lead an amazing life; I am genuinely happy; I have an amazing partner in life, and we are soon to be married. We have two kids, and love spending time outdoors. After my mother passed away when I was 28 (and six months pregnant), I felt the need to write my story down to hopefully help others. I started to slip a little bit into sorrow and realized what it felt like because of going through it with my dad’s passing. I remember I would search online for stories of someone similar to me to see that they came out of the fog and pain OK.
There were not many people who were so young and had both parents pass away. So I decided to make something available to those looking out there. It’s Ok Not To Cry is a book about my story as well as some of my friends’ stories of dealing with a loss. There is something for everyone in there. It also has some humor mixed in, so you are not always grabbing a Kleenex. I hope to help people through my life story and the story of others. Nobody can tell you how to grieve; I feel that each person does it in their own way.
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