Tag Archives: #grief

Bah Humbug.

Yes, that’s how I feel this time of year, and I don’t even feel bad saying it. As much as I try I just don’t see the holidays as the same joyous time as everyone else, and it is really challenging when you feel like you have a heart made of coal when everyone else is rocking a heart made of candy canes and sugar plums.

November marked the second anniversary since we lost my father, and since his death came right around Thanksgiving, the holidays that year and ever since have changed for us. That first year I refused to acknowledge the holiday, and I did not put up a tree or any decorations. The gifts I purchased were wrapped in paper that could pass for a birthday present. Last year, I kind of tried….I did the tree thing, baked a little bit, and still refused to send out Christmas cards or wrap in festive paper.

This year I am trying a little harder. I put up two gorgeous trees in my house; one a frosted pine that has all of the ornaments given to me by my parents over the years, and the other a glitter tree that is Kate-tastic with a capital K. Our mantle is decorated, and I will be baking like crazy in a few weeks. Wrapping…..well, let’s just say I found Christmas doughnut wrapping paper, so that’s the theme of this year. I ordered Christmas cards, and if I ever finish addressing them they will be in the mail. Im trying.

From the outside it seems as though I’m into the holiday this year, but don’t be deceived. I am actually struggling more this year than I did that first Christmas, and I’m not sure why I am stepping back in my grief journey.  I was talking to some people in my grief support group about it and don’t know if it is because since my dad’s death I have lost both my grandmothers, one just a few months ago, and this entire time of year is laced with dates tied to their passings, funerals, or memorials, or if it is something else.

As I sit here and try to deal with my own grief I often think about how insensitive I was before my family suffered these losses. I remember giving friends grief when they told me they hated the holidays. I remember trying to push certain friends into partaking into holidays traditions with me, even when they made it clear they didn’t want to. I just couldn’t get that people could hate such a beautiful time of year.

Now here I am, one of those people. Nothing is worse than someone saying “Are you excited for the holidays?” and answering with “No”, then given either a dirty look or a hard time because of your answer. It’s also the time of year where there are parties and events going on constantly, and I struggle being able to go to any of them. To me, I am that Grinch in the group that doesn’t want to participate, and I am always afraid if I attend I will be the Debbie Downer in the group that will ruin the fun for everyone. It’s not a good feeling. And, unfortunately, I have many friends who have recently suffered significant losses that are joining me in the “Eff the holidays” club.

For those of you struggling this time of year, here are some things that I have found are somewhat helpful, at least to me:

1. Incorporate your loved one into the holiday in some way. 

This is probably the hardest thing to do. For me, I struggle with family gatherings and the traditions we used to do because I sit there the entire time and can’t help but think about the empty chairs at the table and who is missing. And yes, I know that our loved ones are there with us in spirit, but that doesn’t make it easier. An important thing to do is decide what traditions you want to keep and what you want to change, then add a new tradition for your loved one(s).

Last year my mom and I learned about The White Envelope Project, and we decided to make that a new tradition in honor of my dad. I supported a pet rescue last year and will be doing the same this year, as my dad was a huge dog lover.

Every year my dad would request I make him a batch of anise pizzelles when I made the basic ones for the family. I continue to make him a batch now. I cried the entire time last year, and I guarantee I will this year, too, but making these cookies that he loved makes me feel a little comfort.

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The White Envelope Project

2. Try to maintain your usual routine.

For me, that includes getting in my workout every day, completing the basic business tasks that I do daily, and acting like the holidays are just another day. I need that routine to keep myself from falling into a deeper black hole. Doing things that make you feel normal will help.

3. Be honest with your family and friends. 

It’s challenging for me sometimes to tell my friends the reasons why I don’t want to attend certain holiday functions. I know that just because I am dealing with grief doesn’t mean they are, but you need to open the lines of communication. Let others know you are needing support and a little extra love this time of year. There’s no shame in saying “I need help” or “I can’t do this” in relation to a certain event, and your loved ones will understand.

4. Connect with a grief support group online or in your area, or seek assistance from a counselor. 

DO NOT feel weird about talking to someone about your feelings and issues this time of year, or any time of year to be honest. I do it regularly, and I have found a lot of comfort from individuals in these groups. Sometimes just talking to someone who has gone through the exact same thing you have gone through helps.

5. Do not feel guilty if you do something that brings you joy.

I’ve struggled with this one a lot…..how can I have a good time when a huge part of my heart is missing?  Your loved ones want you to continue living life, so do things that may make a dark time a little lighter. Laughing and spending time with friends and family doesn’t mean you don’t miss them like crazy. I do my best to still talk about my dad if I am having a good time or hanging out with people who maybe didn’t know him because I feel like he is still a part of things if he is in the conversation here and there.

6. Always have an exit strategy. 

One thing that has happened to me since losing my dad is that I have moments that hit me where I go into a complete emotional meltdown without warning. Sometimes a song comes on…..sometimes I just see something that reminds me of him and it hurts my heart….I never know. But when it happens, I need to get the hell out of dodge, and I need to get out fast. Since this happens a lot, especially this time of year, I always drive separate so I can make sure I’m not stuck where I am and can get home or out of the crowded area I’m in fast. Have a plan in case this is something you are experiencing. For me, it helps me feel as if I have a little control over those moments.

7. Minimize gifts. 

I feel all too often people go overboard with the holidays. Do we really need ALL that stuff? I used to be one of those overboard people….I just loved buying and getting gifts.  Ever since my dad’s death my thoughts have changed. I don’t need things. I just want to be around those I care about and spend as much time with them as possible. Things are just things……but people and memories….those are what matters. Focus on the important things instead of trying to one up someone else with a bigger, shinier, more expensive gift. In the grand scheme of life it won’t matter.

8. TRY not to eat/drink your feelings. 

As someone who used to do this all the time, I know how tempting it can be. I’m not saying to not #treatyoself here and there, but don’t sit down in front of the cookie table and inhale dozens. It won’t help things, and you will end up feeling worse about it in the long run.

9. Volunteer and do good. 

I feel good donating for The White Envelope project, but I also try to get involved volunteering or helping others in need. There are soup kitchens needing help with holiday meals for the homeless, people who don’t have jackets to wear during the cold, animals who need shelter, children who won’t have any gifts to open on Chrismas day….do something that can help them but also make you feel good.

10. Give yourself grace.

Not everything has to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all together, and it’s okay if you cry. Focus on the things and people who make you happy and can’t help you get through these challenging times.

And for those of you reading this who may ask things likes “Are you excited for the holidays?” or “Why don’t you like Christmas?” etc, think before you ask….and if you do ask, don’t give someone a hard time if they don’t answer how you think you should. And DON’T call us Grinches, Scrooges, Assholes, whatever…..we are doing our best to get through the holidays and not ruin yours.

Thinking of all of you who are doing your best to get through the holidays and sending you peace and comfort.

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September: Sparkle or Dull????

I need smacked.

I was sitting here this morning going through some blog emails and realized I had completely forgot to post my Sparkle or Dull for September, which was a review of my Fit Fab Fun box! I had done this with my last box and had many of you ask me to continue to review the products in each box I get. My Fall box arrived when I returned from Myrtle Beach and I had intended to get the review up the beginning of October as I usually do with my S or D blogs.

But….life happened, as always. Those of you who follow me on social media know that my grandmother Bubu, passed away earlier in the month, and I was a little bit of a mess for awhile. My family has had a rough few years. First we lost my dad, then my paternal grandmother, and now my maternal grandmother, and all of those losses happened in the Fall months. This time of year isn’t my favorite anymore, and sometimes I tend to become a little distant.

Regardless, I totally spaced on this blog. Good news for my beauty buffs: you’ll get this late blog, then a new one for the month of October in about a week or so!

So let’s talk about my Fall Fit Fab Fun box!!!!!!!!!

This is my second time receiving this quarterly subscription box, which is full of goodies tailored to your likes. If you want to read my review of my first box, click HERE.

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Here’s a breakdown of everything that came in my box! I will include the link so you can check the items out for yourself or purchase if you would like!

Coxet Wire Heart Ceramic Jewelry Holder : I loved this minimalistic holder….it almost looked like a little piece of art! Initially I wasn’t sure if I was going to use it for jewelry and thought about using it on my desk, but eventually I realized I liked it better holding my daily essentials. This retails for $33 and would be great for the jewelry lovers in your life!

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Deco Miami Lavender Cuticle Oil : I was excited to get this item because lately I have been crazy busy and have been skipping my nail appointments, and these cuticles have suffered for it. They are a hot ass mess! I loved the smell of this and really liked how my cuticles felt after. It’s definitely one of my favorite items in this box!

Trestique Matte Color and Shiny Balm Lip Crayon : We all know how I feel about a quality lip color! I knew Trestique was a brand carried by Sephora, but I had never tried it, and the color sent, Florence Fig, was gorgeous. I was pumped to try it! One end is a lip crayon, and the other is a BB lip balm to help with extra shine. I also read the balm could be used as a primer! Overall, I loved this product. The color was light, rich in pigment, and stayed on. It didn’t claim to be a long lasting lip product, but it was, and I loved it. If you are interested in this product, it does come in other colors!

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Mytagalongs Hot and Cold Gel Pack : Guys!!!! This freaking hot and cold pack is THE BEST! As an athlete and as someone getting a little older, sometimes I need to ice or apply heat if a muscle is a little wonky after a strenuous workout or class. The problem with a lot of ice packs is that they cannot double as a heat source, and ice packs I have used tend to get hard and rigid, as ice does when it sits in the freezer for a bit. This gel pack though….it is great because it doesn’t become rigid and can truly help. Since it can form to your body, it can provide more relief, and after heating it up for a few in the microwave it provides the heat you may need, too. At only $15, this is a great purchase for anyone.

B-Low the Belt Mia Belt : Each box there is something that is called a “fashion boost”, meaning you get one of two fashion items. This month you received either a cable knit beanie or this Mia belt, which is what I received. I received the black belt with a silver buckle, but it is also available in tan with gold. I don’t wear belts often, but I really liked this one. It was simple, yet modern, and I liked that I could wear it numerous ways. It retails for $55 (more than the actual cost of the box), and I couldn’t say I’d pay that for it outright, only because I’m not a belt person. For someone who dresses up for work or dresses up a lot, this would be a good purchase.

Private Party Gym Bag : I was over the moon stoked when I found out that a gym bag was   included in the box. Hellloooooooooo I work in the health and fitness industry! Of course I need a gym bag! There were three options for bags, and I was hoping I got the Gym and Juice bag…..and I did!!!!! It is such a great bag, and I use it every day when I go to the kickboxing studio. My mom got the one that says “Will workout for cupcakes.” They are a heavier jean material and great size to tote your gym gear! My favorite item in the box by far!

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Whish Beauty Renewing Mud Mask : I’m a diehard fan of Glamglow line and have been using it on my skin for quite some time, so it’s going to take something crazy amazing for me to replace their mud mask with something new. Yet, I am always open minded to try new products just in case. This product ended up being surprisingly good. Did I like it better than my Glamglow? No….but only because the smell of Glamglow beat it out. Otherwise it was very similar; it left my skin nice and smooth and did not feel harsh at all. It was a great exfoliator, so I will definitely use it again. Definitely worth a try, and definitely a quality product!

Dphue Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse : Just like there is a fashion boost choice in every box, there is also a beauty innovation boost. This box included a coconut teeth whitening powder/toothbrush combo or this apple cider rinse. I really wish I had gotten the toothbrush after trying this product….I’m kind of particular about what I use on my hair, and I love new teeth products. I did try the product a few times, but I was not pleased. I’m not a fan of the smell, plus I hated that this product did not lather up. My mom, however, tried it and liked it, so you may like it….I just didn’t.

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Mer-Sea & Co Scarf: This scarf is the coziest thing I have ever touched! I got the one in blush (perfect since I love pink!) and love the ombre look of it. I’ve been using it as a little throw when I’m in my office working, but now that the temps are dropping outside, I will be using it as a scarf! It’s a great size, so it can easily be used as both….and it retails for $98, which means I got it one hell of a deal!

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Once again, this box surpassed my expectations. I would’ve been happy with just one of the items. Aside from the Apple Cider stuff, I will be using everything in the box. Already looking forward to the next one!

sparkleon

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We can do hard things.

This summer has been a crazy one for me. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, working on my sparkle empire, celebrating milestones with friends, and adjusting to a new puppy in my home. Overall, it has been a very happy summer with lots of wonderful new memories.

I entered this summer with the thought process that I wanted to have an amazing time, but I also knew that there were a few hurdles I wanted to tackle, and they both involved moving forward in the grief process with my father.

I’ve talked about this many times before, but I always feel like I need to remind people that the grief process is one that is different for everyone, and for many people, it is one that never ends. November will mark the two year anniversary since my father’s unexpected death, and while I am more capable of talking about the loss now, I still struggle with it every single day. For me, it helps to face things/situations/places that I find to be the most emotional and connect to my dad. Somehow, facing them head on and working through those emotions allows me to get a better grip on the reality that my dad is no longer here.

As those of you who have been following my blog for awhile may know, one of my best friends, Whitney, and I have birthdays exactly a week apart. Each year we try to do something fun and different together to celebrate. We’ve done a lot of really cool things over the years, including meeting Brett Eldredge , my favorite country singer, last year. I wasn’t sure if we would be able to top that because it was such a neat moment. However, when Whit mentioned that one of our friends, Steve, would be doing a rollerblading half marathon in Chicago the week after our birthday and thought we should go, I knew that this was the moment for me to cross off something major from my list of grief hurdles.

I had to go to Wrigley Field.

My dad was the World’ Biggest Cubs fan….his tombstone actually has the Cubs logo on it, and his love of the Cubs is one my entire family shares. Going to Wrigley with him was always something that we were going to do, and once we lost him, I didn’t think I could emotionally do it. Going to any baseball game was a challenge for me after the loss, and there were times during the past year and a half where I could not physically make myself step foot into a baseball stadium. I missed a good friend’s bachelorette party because I had panic attacks at the thought of watching a baseball game live. I cried throughout an entire game once I finally worked up the nerve to attend and missed everything. It took a lot to get comfortable with freaking baseball. If I was that emotional watching teams I didn’t even like how in the world could I get through a baseball game watching a team that I had an emotional connection with and that had been a part of my life since the day I was born????

We arrived in Chicago Friday and were able to explore the city and do some things before Steve’s marathon Sunday morning and the Cubs game Sunday night. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t anxious as hell the whole trip. So much of my life is in the public spotlight, which I am okay with, but one thing I try to keep out of it as much as possible are the moments where I have a complete meltdown, because they aren’t pretty. I was terrified I would have one of these meltdowns inside Wrigley Field.

Surprisingly, I held my shit together, but I cannot begin to tell you how I felt walking through Wrigleyville, walking up to that iconic Wrigley Field sign, sitting down in that stadium, or singing “Go Cubs Go” with a stadium full of my fellow fans. I had a few weird moments inside of the stadium, but I was able to get past them.

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This was such a cool moment. The W flew for you that night, dad!

I shared on Instagram that it started to rain in Chicago hours before the game. Deep down I was so worried that the game would be canceled and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get over this milestone in my grief process. However, as we got dropped off in Wrigleyville, the rain stopped, and the rest of the evening was perfect.

I believe very much in signs, and as I sat there eating my burger before the game I couldn’t help but realize that this had to be my dad’s way of letting me know that he was missing me and sad that he wasn’t there to walk into the stadium with me, too.

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Enjoying the view of Wrigley and the city.

That same sign came from him again two weeks later as I prepared to tackle something that most of you know I have been dreading for a long time: The Star Trax 5k he and I used to run together.

Last year I had every intention on running it in honor of my dad, but emotionally, I just wasn’t able to, so I backed out of attending. This year I HAD to do it. I signed up a few months back and invited my friends and family to come and run/walk/or watch in support. In my mind if I had a bunch of people coming there to support my family, I knew I wouldn’t back out of it even if I wanted to. I encouraged everyone to wear Cubs gear (or blue or red if they weren’t a Cubbies fan) and had about 50 panic attacks the day of the race. Somehow, my mom and I got there.

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My mom and I before the race.

As challenging as I knew it would be for me to run a race and not have my dad there waiting for me at the finish line, I knew this race would be so emotionally hard on my mom if she was a spectator. She supported us every year and watched both of us finish every race. Only getting to see one of us do it this year would be hard on her heart. I was so proud of her….she ended up signing up and walked the 5k with my uncles and her best friend. We had so much support that night….it meant the world to us. We had family there. We had our best friends there. It felt good to be surrounded by so much love.

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Our crew! Love these people so much!

As the race start inched closer and closer, it began to rain. Again, I couldn’t help but think of my dad and this being his way of letting us know he was missing up and was there in spirit. If you know me, you know I absolutely loathe getting my hair wet. However, for some reason, at this moment, I didn’t care. The rain continued through the first mile then let up.

I was worried about two specific moments in this race: starting and finishing. Those who have run this race know that you start it inside of Salem’s high school football stadium, taking a lap around the track and then hitting the streets before entering the stadium for the finish. My dad and I always started the race together, and it wouldn’t be until we hit the street when he would take off and leave me in the dust. When the race started, my tears started. All I could do was keep my head down, not look around, and focus on Skrillex, which was the bulk of the playlist for the night.

The rest of the race I did okay….no weird emotional moments. Instead of changing up my playlist, I listened to my favorite Skrillex song, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, on repeat the ENTIRE race. For some reason the song helped me hold it together.

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My cheer squad at the finish!

After making the final turn into the stadium, I started to get really weird. I felt tears in my eyes, I felt puke in my throat, I felt lead in my legs. Again, I just kept my head down and powered through my feelings to the finish line. My dad wasn’t there at the finish line for me, but I wasn’t running into a stadium with no support. Two of my besties, Erika and Melissa, drove down from Cleveland to cheer me on and give me hugs when I finished. They also were able to capture some footage of me starting and finishing.

Once I finished the race and the rest of our crew had finished, I had to split. The longer I stood around the more emotional I got, so my mom and I made the decision to get some Arby’s, eat our feelings, and go home.

Moments like these two may seem so trivial to others, but to me they were a huge deal. Every time I cross off one of those milestone moments or events I encounter a new range of emotions. I’m proud I overcame something challenging, and I know my dad would be, too. At the same time, my heart hurts because I had to do something alone that we would’ve done together. That mixed emotional state can really do a number on someone, but I continue to try to see the good in the challenging times. That’s really all I can do.

I continue to be reminded how lucky I am to have the people in my corner that I do. They say that in really happy times and really sad times one’s true colors come out. There have been a few friends who have completely ghosted me since things happened, but the majority of my friends have continued to show me that they are ride or die and will be there for me whenever I need them. I know that throughout our lives there will be more challenging times, not just for me, but for them, and I’ll be there for them when they need me.

As this summer comes to a close, there is one last major milestone I am going to be doing without my father: buying a new car. Due to her profession, he was always the person to get me the cars I wanted, check out their backgrounds, and help me get everything rolling while also serving as my voice of reason. I’ve been putting off the car search for awhile, not only because he won’t be able to help me, but because I have such an emotional attachment to Farrah, my Xterra, because that was the last car he got for me. Even though I’ve done well with avoiding the emotional attachment with most inanimate objects, my car is one that I can’t seem to shake. We will see how this pans out.

Those reading this that are going through the grief process like me…..I have to encourage you to not run away from those milestones…..those moments you are scared to face because they now are different. I know it’s scary. I know crying isn’t fun. I know feeling that hole in your heart is painful. But sometimes you just have to push through because this is what our lost loved ones would want for us.

I used to run with my dad at Star Trax; now I run for him. Every year moving forward I will be having a team of people join me to do the same because this is how I can continue to keep his spirit alive with that race.

Find a way to make those moments meaningful.

Find a way to keep your loved ones alive in your heart.

Find a way to turn your pain into purpose.

And always remember……..life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

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#IrunforDSS

 

 

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Rock the Reset: Day 19-20-21

Guysssssssssss!

I did it! I freakin did it! I finished The Ultimate Reset!

The last three days were much easier than I thought they would be….well, Saturday aka Day 20 was a little tricky. Since I was so close to being done I had a few moments where I said to myself, “Oh, I can do whatever I want today….I’ve made it this far.” Somehow something snapped in my brain every time this happened and got me back on track.

Sunday was an awesome day….I was traveling and somehow stayed on track until the evening, where I celebrated the Reset being over with a tiny piece of the homemade coconut cake I made for my mom’s birthday. I made this decision because I had completed all of my supplements so everything was technically over, and I wanted to celebrate my mom. I have no regrets.

Waking up this morning I felt wicked awesome. I snapped this picture really fast after i put my contacts in because I was incredibly anxious to compare what I saw in the mirror to the before photos I took Day 1. I was very pleased. I’ll be sharing my official photos a little later, but let me drop a few numbers with you….over the 21 days I lost 9 pounds and almost 3 inches from my waist. I also lost about 1/2 each from each of my thighs. I’m very much okay with those numbers.

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Yes, losing some weight and inches is cool and all, but my motive for doing this program wasn’t to have a massive transformation. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this program…..I knew it was more mental than anything. I wanted to see if I could really live the vegetarian lifestyle….and if I could avoid my friends coffee, cheese, and doughnuts. Most importantly, I wanted the result that many people rave about after completion: a strong appreciation for food in general and how it impacted my body.

Let me share a few other takeaways from the Reset with you (other than the inches from my waistline):

My sleep improved: I think we all know I’m a night owl that survives on a strange amount of sleep. I work mostly at night and often don’t have the best night’s sleep. I now realize how much the quality of food I eat impacts the quality of my sleep. During these three weeks I slept like a baby….I woke up rested and felt terrific. On the few occasions where I slipped up (Krista’s baby shower and the doughnut incident especially), my sleep was off and I noticed a difference.

Skin clarity: I usually have pretty clear skin, which I attribute to my daily dose of Shakeology, however, with the focus I had on my water intake each day I saw even more improvement. Even during that time of the month (sorry, dudes who are reading this), I didn’t have any breakouts or issues.

No digestive issues or bloat: Well, the majority of the time. On those occasions where I messed up my stomach let me know what was up immediately. If you recall, on one of the occasions I shared a photo here on the blog where I looked pregnant because of how bloated I was (thanks, little piece of pizza). I had the same issue with the doughnut. Currently I am reading the book Wheat Belly, which discusses how gluten can impact your body. After my isolated incidents during the Reset, I can attest to the fact that my body and gluten do not get along….which I’ve always suspected. Awhile back a doctor told me I had celiac disease, which was later proven to be a false diagnosis, but I always questioned whether or not I had an intolerance. Moving forward I am going to be majorly avoiding gluten.

An appreciation for how great my body feels: I shared this image and quote awhile back, and it continues to ring true with this experience. Internally, my body felt incredible….it’s hard to describe. It just felt clean and good.

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But……

Since I am being honest with you guys, I did struggle with this challenge, and it wasn’t just because I was without my BFF Coffee. Don’t get me wrong….it was tough and there were moments I felt like a drug addict going through withdrawal, but I didn’t cheat one time with coffee.

The biggest struggle for me: the exercise and lack thereof. I finished the 3 Week Yoga Retreat, but I hated every minute of it. Like I said before, it just wasn’t for me, and even as a fitness professional there will be workouts that don’t gel with me. This is one of them. Sorry, yogis. You can keep your cow and downward dog poses….i’m happy to return to munchkin claps and genie tuck jumps.

Exercise is something so much more to me, and I don’t know if I can ever properly describe it. It’s therapy for me; it’s the one part of my day where I feel like a normal human being….the one part of my day where i momentarily forget about the huge hole in my heart and the grief I live with daily. It’s the time where I get out my emotions…my anger…my sadness…and my frustrations. Going three weeks without a serious sweat session did a number on me. I felt moody and depressed, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t exactly a peach to be around. So the emotional aspect of this Reset…..yeah, it was rough for me.

Today I resumed normal exercise, starting back with the 21 Day Fix since the workout calendar aligns perfectly with my upcoming trip to Punta Cana. It felt amazing to be sweating and jumping and tossing around weights. I had coffee…pretty much immediately, and it was such a lovely reunion. I introduced eggs and meat back into my diet and my body felt sluggish and uncomfortable most of the day. I knew that would happen as I reintroduced foods to my body. Overall, my mood returned to normal….I was happy to be back in my normal routine.

Would I recommend The Ultimate Reset? Yes, I would. I think everyone should do it once. You learn things about yourself….not only about what foods cause problems, but how much you appreciate other foods and what they can do for your body. You learn about willpower and getting through something incredibly challenging. You just grow as a person.

Am I upset I had a few slip ups? Not at all. In fact, I think everyone doing this program should have a few. Why? I immediately saw how that food impacted my body, and I could associate the negative feelings and effects to one particular food. When you are focused on a restricted diet it is much easier to do that. I am thankful for those “bad” moments during the Reset; I truly think I had a better appreciation for my body and the foods I ate after that because I could see the difference.

I’m glad I did it, but as glad as I am that I did it, I’m even happier that it is over.

Would I do this again? Possibly. If I was ever on bed rest or restricted from exercise, then yes. That is the only way though….I’m not giving up exercise again unless a doctor says so.

I’ve got to give a huge shoutout to all of you and those in my daily life who have been holding me accountable…..I know I have been a challenge, but you all have kept me on track and helped me so much.

Crossing The Ultimate Reset off my 2017 Vision Board and moving onto the next adventure.

Oh yeah, and about that vegetarian thing….no way in hell. I’m a carnivore, and there’s no tap dancing around it.

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Back with my boo coffee. 

 

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One year later……

You remember that Alan Jackson song “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”? I remember hearing it when it first was released and thinking how true it was for so many people who were directly impacted by the events of 9/11….people whose lives changed in the blink of the eye. People who woke up that morning thinking it was going to be just like any other day only to go to bed a completely changed human being. I remember being so sad for our country and all of these families even though I had no idea who any of them were, but deep down I didn’t really connect to that song because my life….my world….did not stop turning that day. I didn’t understand that in one small blink of an eye everything you know could be no more.

And then one day MY WORLD stopped turning. The truth is….at some point in our lives something WILL happen to completely change the trajectory of your life. You know when my world stopped turning?

525,600 minutes ago.

One year ago today.

One year that feels like a trillion billion years ago while also feeling like it was just yesterday. Isn’t time weird?

I can tell you every.single.detail about November 20, 2015…..what I ate for breakfast, what workout I did that day, what I was wearing, where I was sitting when I found out that my dad had passed away, every single word Kyle said when he told me what had happened……everything.  I relive a part of it every single day, and I really wish I didn’t. To be honest, I probably can’t tell you every single detail of any other day in my life other than that one.

In my heart it is still so difficult to accept that I haven’t seen my dad or talked to him in a year. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook know that I’ve been very open about my struggles with grief over this past year, and I have talked a little about it here, too. It is hard to be vulnerable and share this kind of thing, but I truly believe it is important because so many people struggle with the same thing, and I hope (if nothing else) that I can connect with others struggling and we can help each other through difficult times. Ive had people send me nasty grams about it and tell me it is inappropriate to talk about, and Ive had people throw some serious shade at me. It’s strange how uncomfortable grief makes some people.

This past year has included some pretty incredible things that have brought about so many mixed emotions. It was hard buying our first home together and realizing my dad would never be able to chase Bubba around in the yard…..it was hard taking family photos at my brother’s wedding and knowing someone really important wasn’t in them….it was hard watching the Cubbies win the World Series….and it was really, really hard celebrating the holidays and birthdays that usually were so much fun. Everyone said the first year would be difficult because of all of the “firsts” without my dad, and they weren’t exaggerating one bit. I cannot even put into words how much my dad is missed, and today, on the first anniversary of losing him, I’m missing him more than ever.

An unfortunate thing that has happened over the last year is that many of my friends have had to go through the same thing, losing either their father or mother. Recently a girl I had connected with through Facebook messaged me. She had just lost her dad in a terrible accident, was still in the very early stages of grief, and asked what she should expect. I wanted to share my thoughts on this with the hope that if you are going through something similar you realize you aren’t alone.

1. Everything will remind you of that person. When I say everything, I mean everything. In the very beginning of this process I had a very difficult time getting rid of things that reminded me of my dad….and with moving, this proved to be a challenge. Things he gave me, things he wrote to me, momentos of places we had been, etc. I struggled with songs on the radio because I would connect them to my dad. I didn’t want to eat Ben and Jerry’s ice cream because it was his favorite. This process has truly shown me that moments matter, not things, and I don’t need to keep junk around to keep the memory of someone alive. Don’t hoard items just because.  They are just things.

2. There are days you can talk about the person normally. There are days you will start to cry at the most inopportune time. With me, I am a loose cannon. I never know when I will be able to talk about my dad or the loss in a calm matter or if I am going to start crying and getting weird. I do my best to try to talk about it as much as possible to get more comfortable with it, but sometimes I wonder if I ever will be 100% able to communicate about it normally. It’s ok to be emotional…..and if you are worried about it, just change the subject. I do it all the time, and no one has gotten angry about it yet.

3. Things you loved before may not be the same after a loss. This has been so difficult for me. My dad and I loved running….talking about it, running together, talking smack on the other’s running pace. It ALWAYS was a part of a conversation. After we lost him I really hoped that running would be therapeutic for me and help me still feel a sense of connection to my dad. It did just the opposite. I started to hate it because every time I would run I would get upset and cry. In April I ran the HOF Half Marathon and cried the entire 13.1 miles, so besides being tiring on a physical level, it was beyond exhausting emotionally. Since that race I have run only a handful of times and dropped out of the Columbus full marathon, a race my dad and I had previously discussed running together. I hope someday I will love it again, but I have accepted that it may not be the way it once was. Find something positive to substitute into the place of whatever the activity is that you are struggling with.

4. You can’t hide from holidays and birthdays. They aren’t going to be the same….nothing will….but they are still going to happen. It is important to find new ways to celebrate and incorporate the memory of your loved one. Last year we had Chinese for Thanksgiving and we didn’t decorate one bit for Christmas. I refused to buy Christmas wrapping paper for gifts (I still am this year, too). For my dad’s birthday we made one of his favorite meals and favorite kind of cake. We are trying. Sometimes that is all you can do. You can’t avoid these things so find a way to incorporate your loved one in a new way

5. It is important to talk about your loved one. Every day I talk about my dad. I will think of a funny memory or think of how my dad would react to sometimes ridiculous (I had lots of comments of things he would say during the election), and it helps. It helps to keep his memory and sense of humor and ridiculousness alive. Just because a person has left you in the physical sense does not mean they have left your memory. Keep them alive in your daily life.

6. React to the loss in a way that helps you, not harms you. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted to do things that would inevitably hurt me. There have been days that I wanted to go get blackout drunk, which would’ve been my solution years ago, but I didnt. There were days I wanted to eat my feelings……ok, more like weeks I wanted to eat my feelings, but I didnt. There were days I wanted to be extremely negative and lash out, but I didnt. I always think of the quote about how life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how I react to it…..what good would any of that do? Nothing. I’ve been very proactive in seeking help and doing things that will help me move forward in the grief process, not back. In the beginning I saw a grief counselor; recently I connected with a local group through GriefShare. I’ve read lots of articles and books on grief. Those kinds of resources have helped me a lot, especially with realizing that many of the feelings I have had are normal. I think all too often with grief you think that feelings and thoughts you have are abnormal…trust me when I say they aren’t. Speaking to people and groups have taught me this. Don’t run away from grief because sooner or later you will have to work past what has happened.

7. You learn that support can come from people who you least expect it.I will forever feel like I have the most amazing group from family and friends….my friends have all been there by my side from the beginning of this and have continued to support me. I knew they would be there for me in the beginning weeks and months….that is when it is the hardest, but the fact that they are still helping me through this a year later means the world to me. Friends from high school who I had lost touch with did not hesitate to reach out…random connections on Facebook, too. Since losing my dad I realized that I want to make sure that I can help those who go through rough times, too….even if they are people I have lost touch with over the years. You never know who you can help, and if anything positive is going to come from this, I want it to be that I can help others find strength and hope for the future.

8. The one thing that irritates me more than ANYTHING and the one phrase I have removed from my vocabulary is: “You’re doing really well!” I know that sometimes you might not know what to say to someone who is grieving…I’ve been guilty of saying some really dumb things in my day….but please, don’t ever say this comment to anyone. Most days I do really well, especially in public, but every day at some point I do break down. You arent sitting by me when I’m at home crying or laying next to me when I’m crying as I try to fall asleep. I may be doing “really well” in your eyes, but I’m not doing “really well”. I’ll never do “really well” because I’m always going to be without this person who was so important to me. There was a quote I once read from Richard Gere of all people. He said that loss is very much like dealing with a broken ankle. On the surface things seem to heal in time, but they will never be the way they once were.  The pain is still there, some days more than others. In time you learn to adapt to living differently. It is so true.

9. Don’t feel guilty if you are having fun or enjoying something. I struggled with this a lot the first few months after losing my dad. I felt bad if I laughed or did something normal. I didnt feel like it was right to engage in fun things when something was missing. After talking to people, I’ve learned that is very normal to feel that way, so if you are feeling that way, too, you aren’t alone.

10. You will be a changed person. I can’t tell you how much I changed over this past year because of this happening to our family. Losing a loved one changes how you see and do so many things. My family has always been so important to me, and I think that has strengthened the most over this time frame. I’ve learned more about my limits…that it is ok to take a step back if I feel myself getting weird or sad. I’ve learned a lot about my strength…and that it is ok to reach out for help, something I haven’t always been the best at doing. I’ve learned I’m a lot tougher than I ever thought I could be. Most importantly, I’ve learned how important it is to always leave your loved ones with loving words. I’m thankful the last words my dad and I exchanged were “I love you.”

Life is just too too short to focus on negativity. My heart has broken over the past few weeks after seeing so much garbage in my newsfeed after the election….so many families divided or not speaking to each other…..kids publicly saying they don’t want anything to do with a parent because of how they voted. I wish so badly my dad was still here with us and can assure you that you someday you will be in the same place I am in now….that’s just the order of life. Please don’t waste any moment by being stubborn or nasty…..someday you will be willing to do anything to get those moments back. Trust me.

Thank you again to everyone who continues to be a beacon of strength for not only me, but my mom and brother. We all appreciate it so much more than we could ever say and are forever grateful.

Missing you so much, Papa ❤

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My dad and my little Simon

 

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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As I sit here writing this blog we are minutes away from the first game of the 2016 World Series. I can’t begin to share how excited I am for the Cubs and Indians to battle it out for the title.

I am excited for the city of Cleveland and for the Indians…they have had an amazing year and Cleveland is such a great city….I like that good things are happening here and that the fans who have suffered many disappointments over the years have had some reasons to celebrate. I root for the Indians 99% of the time…..

The 1% of the time I don’t is when they are against the Cubs.

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Cubs Hat, Wild Thing Shirt. Baseball Balance. Until now.

I have to be honest…the moment the Cubs won the National League pennant I became extremely emotional. How incredible that after years and years and years of baseball heartbreak they would be heading to the big dance! I could watch this moment over and over again.

I was so excited they were heading to the World Series but was so brokenhearted that the #1 Cubs fan ever would not be able to see the game.

My dad.

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My dad at Wrigley Field in August 1999. 

This week I was called a bandwagon fan by more than one person. It irritated me. I understand any championship creates a plethora of bandwagon fans, I do. My family and I….yeah, we don’t fall in that category. You want to call me a bandwagon fan? Go ahead. But I know that if you do you don’t have the slightest idea who I am or anything about my dad, and that makes me kind of sad.

My brother and I were raised on the Chicago Cubs. Our basement was a Cubs fortress…the epic man cave. My dad not only loved his beloved Cubs, but baseball in general, and anyone who walked into our house knew it. There were so many unique pieces in my dad’s collection….from legit seating from Municipal stadium to autographed home plates to statues of baseball icons. So many wonderful memories in that space of my dad’s…..Christmas mornings (he even had a Cubs tree)…..laughter….runs on the treadmill my dad had positioned to still be able to catch the Cubs games on the tv….so many memories I miss more than I could ever say.

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When our two golden retrievers had a litter of puppies, the bulk were named after Chicago Cubs players….Ryno was named after my dad’s favorite, Ryne Sandberg….Gracie was after Mark Grace, the Cubs first baseman at the time….Sammy after Sammy Sosa. My brother and I each got to name one puppy, but we opted for the basketball route because at the time we were obsessed. Mine was Pippen, after my favorite athlete of all time, Scottie Pippen, and Zack named his Barkley after Charles Barkley (yes, my brother was a Suns fan….his room was once purple and orange).

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Man, we look sweet here. 

The majority of my dad’s wardrobe…..Cubs clothing. His tattoo: the Cubs logo. He lived for Cubs baseball, and because of his love for the team, we all grew up loving them, too. His tombstone even has the Cubs logo etched in it because they were that important to him.

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My dad lived his entire life waiting for this series. Even though he loved the Cubs, he always respected Cleveland teams and enjoyed watching and cheering on the Indians as well. I remember watching the fireworks at the Indians game with him last year the night before my wedding. The hotel we all stayed at provided the best view of them after the Indians won. I remember telling him this year we had to make time for a game. This series would have been the ultimate for him to see. I wish this was the game we were going to together.

This series will be as painful as it will be exciting. It’s exciting to see your team get to this point….but it is another sad reminder that the person who would enjoy it the most isn’t here to watch the games with us. I will forever cheer on my Cubbies…not just for me, but for my dad as well. Even though I selfishly want to be watching this with my dad, I can’t help but think that he had a front row seat watching it with Babe Ruth and Harry Caray and all of the other baseball greats that he loved.

Saturday is my dad’s birthday, and I’m hoping for a Cubs win to celebrate it. In my mind there couldn’t be a better way to honor him that day.

Bandwagon fan? Hell no.

I’m just a Daddy’s girl who grew up wanting to be like her daddy and loving the things that he loved.

Let’s go Cubbies….this series is for DSS!

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Cheering on the Cubbies!

 

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Rant of the Week: Not my problem.

There are some things in my life that I will always, always do.

I will always shower and wear deodorant.
I will always talk in a baby voice when I see a puppy.
I will always turn the radio off in the car when I get lost.

And I will always, always, ALWAYS talk about my dad.

A few weeks ago I had an acquaintance on Facebook private message me about the loss of my father. Initially I thought she was coming from a kind place , but I quickly realized that the message she sent was more about HER than about me or any pain I was going through. In her words, me talking about the loss of my father and my grief made her uncomfortable, and she felt that discussing things like that on a social platform was not appropriate. She encouraged me to keep my feelings to myself.

I can honestly say that when I feel attacked I am an extremely defensive person, and those who know me in real life know that I welcome any confrontation, so upon reading this message my instinct was to verbally annihilate this individual. I mean…..who does this person think she is to tell me how to handle MY grief. Thankfully, some part of me said to hold off on a response until I felt I could respond rationally and not based off of emotion. Way to go, Katie. You are growing up.

I’ve thought a lot about that message since, and I’ve come to a few realizations that I felt I needed to share.

Grief is a personal thing. I know that prior to the loss of my dad I didn’t really understand grief. Yes, I had lost people in my life, but never had I suffered a loss like I did in November. I don’t think I ever truly realized how sensitive a death in the family was or how different it is to each person. How I handle grief may be different than how you handle it. That doesn’t make it wrong or weird….it means I am handling it in a personal way that is best for ME. There isn’t a manual on how to handle these kinds of things, even though sometimes I wish one existed, and it is extremely unfair to think grief should be approached in one cookie cutter way.

Since losing my dad I have unfortunately learned a lot of hard lessons. I’ve learned that some people who I thought I could count on to help me through the dark times weren’t really the friends I thought they were. I’ve learned that people who I never thought would be there for me would show up and be more present in my life than individuals who I thought I could always count on.  I’ve learned that strength comes from the strangest places. I’ve learned that it is okay to ask for support….for hugs…for a shoulder to cry on. And I’ve learned that we all have to find our own way to becoming right in the head after a tremendous loss.

You know how I handle my grief? By talking about my dad. I talk about him every single day because I miss him EVERY SINGLE DAY. Is my intention to make you uncomfortable? Absolutely not. My intention is to make myself feel better and to never let the memory of the greatest man I have ever known die. He may not physically be here with me, but that doesn’t mean that 34 years of memories died with him November 20th. He will always be a part of my life, and I love sharing that with other people, especially those of you who know me and love me and never had the opportunity to meet him. So much of who I am is a reflection of my dad….how could you not want to know about someone who helped shaped me into the person I am today?

If that makes someone uncomfortable, I don’t really think I am the problem….I think the problem is something a little deeper within yourself. Maybe read some personal development? Maybe do a little soul searching? Or go talk to someone about WHY a person who is grieving is making you feel the way you do? But I hardly think that me talking about how I emotionally can’t handle running a race that my father and I did for years is the catalyst for your feelings of discomfort. Something else is going on there, and since I’m not a shrink, I’m not even going to pretend to know what that may be. But I do know one thing….it’s not my problem.

A huge part of my life falls in the public realm, which I believe many think should mean editing what I share and what I keep private. I don’t care if me talking about my sadness or struggles with this chapter in my life make me seem like a weaker human being. I’m a real person going through a really difficult time, and that is my reality. I’m not going to sit around projecting some image of perfection. I’m going to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly. You never know….the ugly times I am going through could help someone else with their struggles….or give them a person/resource to come to when the time comes that their life isn’t as sunny.

So……I’m going to keep doing my thing….which means finding ways to accept that my life is different and finding ways to keep my dad’s memory alive in my soul. If that makes you uncomfortable, then I definitely encourage you to take a step back and think about what really is the driving force of that emotion.

Remember….everyone is fighting their own battle. You may not be right now, but someday you will be. And trust me, you won’t want anyone telling you how you should be handling your grief then either.

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The firing of the Fitbit

I wanted to address something that I have been asked about a million times over the past couple of months.

Where in the world is my beloved Fitbit?

Because I am a health and wellness coach and help people every day work toward their goals, I’m not surprised why I get asked about it. So many of my clients are looking for tools and resources to help them stay on track with their goals, so it is only logical that they ask about a product that is known for assisting with this.

For 11 months I rocked a Fitbit Flex and was so obsessed with it that I had purchased a ton of extra bands so it would always match my outfit (yes, I am serious). I did not go a day without my trusty little step counter. I sang it praises for its accuracy and ability to make sure I always hit my daily step goals….I constantly would check my app and challenge myself if I was behind for the day! Of course I shared my Fitbit love on my Facebook page, so everyone knew that I was captain of #teamfitbit.

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And then one day I completely got rid of it.

Please do not think that the trashing of my Fitbit had anything to do with its quality. Many of you may be on the fence with buying one, and I don’t want you to think it is a bad product. Honestly, I think it is great, and I encourage anyone who has been considering getting one to buy the version they want. I loved the app that coincided with my Fitbit, and  the accountability it provided was great for anyone, regardless of their fitness level. It was exciting to me to get a step challenge from a fellow Fitbit friend and always motivated me when I was considering skipping a workout or a run.

I miss my Fitbit, but more importantly, I miss the person who gave me the reason to stop wearing it.

My dad.

Those of you who knew my dad knew how physically fit he was. When he got a Fitbit I knew I would be in big trouble. Not only did he run daily, but he took Henry on about four walks a day….long walks. His step count was crazy! Some morning I would wake up at my typical 11am wake up time and see that he was already 15,000 steps in. I, of course, am very active, too, but I never could come close to beating his steps. Our competitive spirit had us always trash talking the other one over their step count and making it a healthy competition, one that my husband, Kyle, eventually joined in on. In fact, the last message I had received from my dad before he died was about steps on the Fitbit.

The day my dad died I knew I would never ever be able to wear that thing again. Not because I didn’t love it or its purpose, but because I couldn’t emotionally handle going into my Fitbit dashboard, looking at my friends list, and seeing my dad at zero steps when he averaged 24,000 a day. I just knew it would break my heart even more every single day.

So I fired my Fitbit and replaced it with my Apple Watch.

If you have been thinking about an Apple Watch, let me tell you….it is an awesome device. Of course, there are so many more features than the Fitbit Flex I had, so I use it in many ways that differ from the Flex. Fitbit now has so many models that you can find one that offers more of an Apple Watch look/feel if that is what you are after.

Grieving is a weird thing, and sometimes you just have to make small decisions that don’t set you back.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating…..that quote that says life is only 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it…..it’s so true.

Every day I make small steps to living a more positive life. Every day I work really hard to live a life that my dad would be proud of. Every day I remind myself that even though it absolutely sucks monkey balls that this happened to my family….I have the power to determine how I bounce back from it. I’m reacting to life the best way I possibly can.

Sometimes that includes getting rid of a piece of rubber that vibrates when you hit your steps.

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Medium. It’s not just an option for cooking steak.

For the last month I have been patiently waiting for today to arrive. Those who know me know that patience is a virtue I definitely missed, so the wait was difficult to say the least.

Today was the day that my mother, aunt, and I would visit a local medium and have individual sessions with her.

Now before you dismiss this topic, let me be the first to tell you that I went into today with A LOT of trepidation, nerves, and skepticism. I have watched shows like The Long Island Medium before and while I loved watching them, deep down I always wondered how real they were. I mean seriously…can you talk to someone who has crossed over? I was anxious to find out.

I have been very open about my struggles with grief since I lost my father three months ago. I’ve gotten criticism from some saying I should keep my grief to myself since it is a private thing, but I refuse. The loss of my dad is the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with and talking about it not only helps me, but I like to think it may help others who are struggling with grief, too. The thing about grief that no one tells you is that it is different for everyone. Some may accept their loss quickly, while others, like myself, struggle with it every day.

I’ve been approaching grief in what I like to think is a very proactive manner. I’ve been reading a lot of books, running for my dad, and becoming a part of organizations like The Dinner Party. I also took the advice of a grief counselor and got a seasonal job working a few hours a week styling brides at a local bridal salon. It’s been a true blessing being able to run my own business from home, however, I needed something to get me into a routine that FORCED me to stick to a schedule, shower, and get dressed up, so doing something temporarily was a nice change of pace. Honestly, these things have helped me so much. I tell myself everyday that I will not let my father’s death destroy me, but instead, it will help define me. I’m doing the best I can, and right now, that’s good enough for me.

The day after my father passed away I felt compelled to sign up for Teresa Caputo’s wait list. I figured if I would give a medium a shot, it would be her, but I wasn’t too excited about the five year long wait list. Oy vey.

My mother found a medium not far from us that she had heard about from individuals who had previously seen her and suggested we go. Like me, my mom was a little skeptical about the whole thing, but was openminded to the idea. In our minds, if this woman could give us a little bit of comfort, it would be worth it.

So I did all of the things you do when you go to a medium. I wrote a letter with questions for my dad and also for my aunt, who had passed early in 2014. I talked to them both out loud like I do daily and begged for them to come. I knew from trolling the internet that there was no guarantee anyone would come, and I knew it was a possibility that others could try to communicate with me, too.

As I drove to meet my mom and aunt today I had a million expectations while having absolutely none at the same time; it really is difficult to describe….hoping for so much but expecting so little. I was just very…..hopeful. When I told those close to me that I was going to speak to a medium, most people asked me the same question: “What do you hope to get out of it?” My answer was simple. I just wanted to know that my dad was with me. I would find a lot of peace and comfort knowing that.

When I met up with my family my mother was already meeting with Kathleen, the medium, for her reading, so I waited in the car with my aunt. We had opted for individual readings instead of a group one since we had a variety of people we were hoping would come through for us. After her half hour was up, my mother emerged and told me I was next. I had no clue how her reading had gone and was overwhelmed with nerves. Kathleen had me sit down in her meeting me and immediately told me that my father had come through for my mother, and that he was sitting next to me and was there for me, too. At this point I was still riding the skeptical train pretty hard, but just her mentioning that brought me to tears….mostly because I thought I’d flip out big time if she was messing with my head.

Within minutes the information Kathleen was telling me that my dad was saying made me a believer. There was no way some of the information she told me anyone could have known. In fact, one of the things was regarding our house hunt and the fact that we had made steps this morning toward that….which was true. We had emailed our realtor to submit an offer early this morning, so early that I hadn’t even told my mother or anyone yet. After about 10 minutes sharing with me things my dad had to say, Kathleen let me know that two others were with me in the room, the first being a woman, and the second, a young man. Based on what she had shared with me, the woman was quickly identified as my aunt and, similar to what my dad had shared, my aunt communicated with me topics that this woman could have no idea about. It was comforting and made me feel a sense of relief.

Kathleen then told me that the young man who was there to speak to me had died as a result of a car accident. If you remember from some of my previous entries, my good friend Andy had been in a horrible accident in December of 2012, an accident that had left him hospitalized until he passed away August of 2014. I had a difficult time with his death and had tried to do everything I could during his hospitalization to help him and let him know how much I cared about him. My visits to him always left me frustrated, as I did not know if he knew it was me or if I was even there. Due to the injuries sustained in the accident, he did not communicate other than blinking and was not able to move, and I always hoped that he knew how much he was loved, especially during that time. Kathleen gave me validation that he knew who I was and what all had happened during the time in the hospital, as well as some additional information that, again, were topics that weren’t common knowledge.

As we were wrapping up the session, Kathleen brought up my business, as she had earlier in the reading, only this time she told me that my dad was using the word “exponentially” when describing what we were discussing. This word is not one commonly used by anyone….that is, anyone but me. I use this word probably a little too much, and my dad would always make fun of me for it. It was the final piece of validation I needed to know that what I had just experienced was real.

After my session ended, I was able to talk to my mother about hers. The great thing about Kathleen Moore is that she lets you record the whole reading, so I was able to let my mom listen to parts of mine as my aunt was inside having her reading done. Once we were done, the three of us grabbed lunch nearby and shared what she had told all of us. The medium had told my mom and aunt things that there was no way she could know, much like she did for me.

Am I now a believer in mediums? Yes, yes I am.

I do think there are probably a lot of wannabe mediums out there, but after talking with Kathleen, I 100% think she is legit. Talking with her gave me some much needed peace and comfort, which makes the whole experience worth it.

Do you have to believe in mediums? Not at all. In fact, you could think what I did today was downright silly and ridiculous, and that’s ok. There was a time I thought it was rather dumb myself. My biggest piece of advice that I can give anyone who is going through the seasons of grief like I am is to find peace and comfort in whatever way helps YOU. We are all different. We all need different things to make us feel better and stronger.

Will I still miss my dad and cry about him? Absolutely. Every day for the rest of my life. I find a lot of happiness knowing he is around me and is still a part of my life in some way. It took a medium to help me realize that, and to me that is something I will never forget.

I miss you, dad……exponentially.

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Teary eyed but happy after an amazing experience.

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