Life can sometimes be awful. Some days (or weeks) feel like no matter how hard you try, you just can’t turn it around. The past week has been emotionally devastating and character building all at the same time. Without going into too much detail I will give you an overview on what’s been happening.
My dad has been sick basically my entire life. He has type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed when he was a kid. Since then, he has had a number of medical issues including a kidney transplant, double leg amputations, a stroke, MRSA infections, heart issues.. the list goes on. Our family joke is that he gets bi-annual hospital visits, and the medical staff at the local hospitals know him by name. This year I believe we are up to 3 or 4 hospitalizations (possibly more?), and this one has hit me really hard.
Growing up I wouldn’t say I was a daddy’s girl. He was always the parent that pushed my buttons just to see how angry I would get. He always told me I couldn’t have a boyfriend until I was 16 (like I ever followed that rule). If I was ever injured from a sport, he always told me about the time he broke his foot playing hockey and just tied his laces tighter and finished the game, so I needed to suck it up and not baby my injury. As I’ve grown into an adult, I’ve realized how lucky I am to have two parents that care deeply for me, and how blessed I am to have him as a dad.
Seeing a parent sick is not easy. Being in a hospital, watching them suffer feels like someone twisting a knife in your heart. One way my family deals with these tragic situations is with humor. My dad is always the first one to crack a joke if any of us are crying. He loves to play pranks on the nurses or say ridiculous things just to see someone else smile. It doesn’t matter how much pain he is in, he is always trying to cheer the people up around him.
Through him I have learned what it means to have strength. I have learned that even if obstacles seem impossible to overcome, it could always be worse. I have learned that when you feel at the lowest point in your emotional state, the best way to deal with it is to just laugh. Watch a funny video, replay a memory in your head, surround yourself with people that make you happy, but most important, remember that positivity will concur all.
It’s really easy on social media to portray that you have the perfect life or you are positive all the time. It takes courage to be vulnerable and admit when you’re not ok. It’s perfectly ok, to be not ok. Tragedies will continue to happen, but how you respond to tragedy is where you grow in strength and perseverance. I never take for granted the physical activities I am able to do, that my dad can no longer do. Taking care of my body has become so important to me, because he was never given the chance.
Imagine what we would all be capable of, if we used our strength to help others. The story that I am trying to tell through my health journey is just that. Over the last week I have received some of the nicest comment I never would’ve imagined reading. I decided to be like my dad, put myself out there as authentic as I could possibly be, and let others see it’s ok to be themselves. I could easily play into a character or a role to get people to like me, but I’ve always been unique and haven’t cared about being popular. By being a weird, awkward, goofy person (a replica of my dad) I believe I can break through the “perfect life” mentality that plagues us all and encourage anyone to always be authentically you. 😊