I was looking at these pictures the other day, trying to distract myself from what was actually going on around me.
This huge, beautiful saltwater fish tank was glaring at me trying to remind me of pain I never got over. I was sitting in a hospital office with my grandfather for his first day of radiation. The same office I sat in with my aunt Claire during her 5 year battle with cancer. Luckily, my grandfather is healthy and I’ve been reassured I have little to worry about, but that doesn’t mean this is easy. Life can be ruthless. You never know what’s coming around the corner.
In the past two years, my uncle Johnny died unexpectedly; followed by my aunt Kelly. I didn’t get to say goodbye to either one of them because I was across the country. Usually people would say that’s not a big deal because they died knowing you loved them even if you didn’t get the chance to say it. But for one of these situations, I actually hadn’t talked to the person in over a year because of a dispute. My trust was broken with my aunt and we never fixed it and now we never will. Even though the fight was serious, nothing beats death and I wish I had told her I forgave her even though she never asked.
Shortly after their passings, my father was given a serious diagnosis that made me immediately rethink a lot of decisions I made regarding my relationship with him. I was also dealing with another rocky and unstable “relationship” with a friend that had blurred boundaries and a lot of pain attached to it.
I decided to go home after graduation from my master’s program to “get a break from life”. That’s a complete joke because there is no break in life. I came home and stood by my best friend while she said goodbye to her father. And now here I am, in a radiology department with my grandfather.
So how do you overcome what life throws? You focus on the good and distract yourself with all the beautiful things you do have. Like the amazing, crazy, loving, strong family members you see in the pictures above (we are missing a few members, but it’s really hard rounding up this group).
Yes, these past two years have been brutal, along with years before that, but they have also been great. I moved to California and got a master’s degree, I spent a week in the Cape with my entire family, and I spent time with my father that I don’t usually take advantage of.
To know you run in a squad of people that will never turn their back no matter what you do (and we have some wild mofos in this pack) is the greatest gift you can receive because you cannot do life on your own. I learn this more and more every year.
Stay grateful, be humble, keep learning, and most importantly forgive when you need to because as soon as you lose sight, you’re going to start sinking and there are too many great things in life to allow yourself to sink into the bad parts.
Nothing but love – Carissa Michelle.