Yesterday marked the 1 year anniversary of my Dad’s unexpected passing.
Over the past year, as I frantically made my way through life, I found myself doing a lot of searching… literally. When all else failed, I used Google as my crutch to try and come up with some step by step instructions on how to figure all of this out. I searched things like “signs of depression after your dad dies,” “stages of depression” “dad dies depression blog to recover.” My Google history this year makes me look like a freak. But through this search I was hoping to find someone who wrote about their experiences and could tell me what to do. Some sort of guidance on when this feeling would end, if it ever would.
So, as I write these posts, I’m hoping that someone, somewhere, might find help in reading this. Although there’s no step by step guide anywhere, sometimes it’s helpful to know that you’re not alone in feeling like this.
If someone were to look at 2013 on paper, they’d think I had a pretty outstanding year. “Your best year yet!” they might say. And on paper, yeah, it looks like a pretty incredible year.February: Celebrated my 25th birthday in a blizzard in the mountains with all of my close friends. March: Got accepted into the Nike+ Acccelerator. A program known for accepting less than 1% of applicants. March – June: Road tripped across the country to live in Portland, OR for three months. Met amazing people, got mentored by amazing entrepreneurs, got $100,000 wired into our business bank account, & arrived back in Boston to beautiful summer weather. July: Went to the beach, redecorated my apartment, hung out with friends. August: Signed a contract with EA Sports, started crossfit again, saw Becky & Alli. September: Went live with HighFive. Saw it go from idea to money generating platform. October: Saw Shae turn 5, drank pumpkin beer. November: Successfully cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the second time. Saw my brother make an incredible change.
etc. etc. etc.
But there’s one thing about all of this. I was unable to share any of these accomplishments with my dad…often times the ONLY person I would want to share something with. And this entire year, that feeling has overpowered any feeling of joy that came bundled with these events. I know my dad is “watching over me” and “witnessing all the great things you are accomplishing” but guess what? It’s not good enough. Maybe it will be good enough in time, but right now, it’s not. And I’m learning to be OK with this.
So here’s a more authentic look into 2013:February: Had a breakdown because some of my friends didn’t want to risk their life to make it on time to my birthday party in the blizzard. March: Worried that my emotional maturity would make me less successful. Worried that people at the Nike+ program would think I was weak. Worried about breaking down in a meeting. March – June: Had another breakdown leaving Boston to go to Portland. Felt like I was leaving my Dad behind. Felt like I was abandoning him. Spent every weekend in Portland crying. Had to make up for keeping it together all week. Spent his 6 month anniversary in San Francisco, crying in the audience seats before our demo day. July: Cried as I watched the sunset at the beach, obsessively painted my apartment to get rid of the memories I have of the morning Mandy called me to tell me my dad passed away. Needed to change everything to get those repeating scenes out of my head. August: Started seeing a therapist because my mourning had turned into anger… and that’s not good for anyone. September: Went live with HighFive. Wish my dad was calling me everyday asking how much revenue we made today… “today a record day?” October: Saw Shae turn 5 without Silly Papa there. Think to myself if she remembers him. November: Spent my first thanksgiving without my Dad. December: Pretend that 1 year isn’t approaching because how does it go by this quickly? Brace myself for 1 year anniversary date. Spend it with worst migraine due to tooth surgery the day before.
The number one feeling I went through this year was denial, which I learned is Step One of “stages of depression.” I still today have a hard time believing that this isn’t a 365 day long nightmare that I just can’t wake up from. I forget all the time the reality of things and that’s usually when I become most upset. It’s a rude awakening that happens every.single.day.
So as this year comes to a close, I’m learning to look at 2013 from the eyes of outsiders. The sadness is sometimes so overwhelming that I forget to celebrate. Celebrate that I’m here. Celebrate I was blessed with such an amazing dad. And celebrate his life even though he’s not physically here anymore.
I miss you SO much that it physically hurts Dad. I wish I could call you. I wish I could tell you about everything that’s happened in 2013. I would do anything to talk to you just one more time. I love you.