This year has brought many changes to our little family… some good, some bad, but all very big. In January I lost my Dad and my world crumbled before me. My Dad was my best friend and I spent so much time with him. I didn’t truly realize just how much time until he was no longer here and I had this huge hole in just about every hour of my day. If I wasn’t doing something to care for him (checking his blood sugar, making him lunch, taking him to the doctor, etc), I was almost always chatting with him or worrying about him. Even before he moved up here, we were on the phone or he was on my mind most of my waking hours and I very often woke him up or kept him up at 2 and 3 in the morning just to talk. When he passed away it took my legs out from under me. Though he had been sick, he had been sick my whole life and always made it through – faster than most healthy people – and after so many years and so many life-threatening injuries and illnesses that he overcame with flying colors, it just didn’t seem like it was even possible for him to die. For years he said that he was Iron Man and that he wasn’t going until he was ready – which to him wasn’t until my daughter graduated high school. It got to the point where I (and a few others) actually started to believe it. To say that I was in complete disbelief on January 31st would be an understatement. Actually, the disbelief continues to come in waves even now. I could not imagine my life without my Dad. How was I supposed to move on from this? Many people told me that I just needed to get back into my routine (to move on) but he made up so much of my routine that that just wasn’t possible. I had to find another way through the darkness. I have been so very blessed to have an amazing support group comprised of family, friends, clients who have become friends and colleagues. I want to take a moment to say THANK YOU. Thank you for comforting me, sharing your own stories with me, telling me that it was okay to grieve at my own pace, distracting me when needed, helping me out with errands and cooking, but mostly for being so very patient with me while I worked through my grief and pain to get to a point where I could function again. Through all of this I have learned a lot about myself and I have re-evaluated a lot of things in my life.
The first few weeks were the most difficult. I wasn’t functioning and the thought of ever picking my camera up again made me sick to my stomach. My Dad nurtured my love of photography – he bought me my first SLR (and I cried my eyes out), he encouraged me to follow my passion and guided me throughout my journey. I couldn’t even imagine picking up my camera again when one of my biggest cheerleaders was gone. As I poured over photos of my Dad’s life it rejuvenated my love for photography, reaffirmed for me WHY I do this, made me think long and hard about where I wanted this journey to take me and what was most important to me. After about a month of thinking and talking about it, I decided to refocus and take a path that I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to before. More on that soon – it’s still in the works! 😉
Earlier I mentioned that this year has brought many changes… my husband, Sean, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, made the leap and left his job after just shy of 14 years there. While 14 years might not sound like a long time to some people, it was his first job out of Culinary School and the only place he has worked for as long as I’ve known him. In the restaurant industry especially, 14 years is a long time to stay with the same company. He had been moderately unhappy in his position and company off and on for several years but some major changes within the company brought him to the conclusion that it was time for something new… a company with more room to grow and one that believes that the most important thing in a restaurant is the food. They say everything happens for a reason – he is now working at the same company that the ex-president of his old company now works for – and he inquired at the perfect time. Things moved very quickly (much faster than I was ready for at the time!) but he’s really excited and I’m very happy for him. He’s finally back in the kitchen and cooking something he really loves – BBQ! Congratulations to my hubby and to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que – you won’t find a more dedicated manager!