November 28th marks the 10 year "anniversary" of my step dad, Dan, passing away. I'm honestly baffled that it's been 10 years already - I still remember exactly where I was when my mom told me he was gone. I was paralyzed. In complete shock. I couldn't even pack an overnight bag to go to my mom's house, because my brain had just stopped functioning properly. I was standing in front of my closet door, trying to figure out what to pack - what the fuck would I wear to his funeral. These are things we don't typically plan for. The death of a parent.
So I stood there. Not moving. Because my body was heavy and my mind was fog. It felt like life had stopped. Dan was only 45 years old. And you don't expect to lose a parent when they're so young. To be honest, I was only 22 at the time, so I had never even really thought about losing a parent at all. You kind of just assume they'll always be there. Because they always have been.
Believe it or not, my mom ended up packing my overnight bag to head to her house. She had just lost her husband - the love of her life - yet she still managed to take care of me, as I just stood there, unable to move.
How interesting - I just glanced at the clock as I write this and it's 11:11am - the time that is known as your loved ones communicating with you. Yet I'm not surprised. More comforted. I see 11:11 on the clock quite often. And each time I do, I think, "Hi, Dan!".
Dan shows up throughout my day in different ways. I know he is still with me. And when we meet in my dreams, it's always happiness.
Today, however, is not happiness. I'm feeling sadness. Frustration. And even anger. Mostly sadness though. I miss him. And today it's hitting me particularly hard. Maybe it's because it's been 10 years. A whole decade. Maybe it's simply because I miss him so much.
He never got the chance to meet my husband. He never got the chance to meet his beautiful grand babies. He never got the chance to grow old with my mom.
He's gone. And it fucking sucks.
But I understand that I am choosing to sit in these uncomfortable emotions today. I could decide to think happy thoughts instead. About all the great times we had together. How silly he could be (which is one of the places I get my silliness from). How he taught me to be frugal - not cheap, haha.
I could think about the day I took this photo of my uncle, my aunt, my mom and Dan. When they told me to hurry up and take the picture, so they could stop sucking their stomachs in - and when they all realized they were doing the same thing, we couldn't stop laughing!
I could think of those happy thoughts instead.
And maybe later today I will.
Or maybe not.
Right now, I choose to sit in these emotions and feel them. I choose to miss him. I choose to mourn him. I choose to acknowledge I will never physically see him again.
And that's okay.
Because being a human includes these uncomfortable feelings.
And today, I'm okay with feeling them. I want to feel them.
Tomorrow, I can choose a different feeling, if I want to.
But today, I choose sadness.
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