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In the pause: Reflections on loss, healing, and reinvention after losing my father 25 years ago today

25 years ago today, my father died. There are days in our lives that define us, and for me, that was the day, though not for the obvious reasons. That day, I walked out of a room that was dark and cluttered and confusing, and into another room that was empty. It remained empty for a long time.

There is a major reckoning that takes place when someone who made you leaves this planet, regardless of what your relationship was with that person. For me, that reckoning took two decades; longer than the time my father and I knew each other.

It only resolved after two decades because of my work with Brian. And it was work. It was not fun or inspiring work; it was, however, necessary. I did what I had to do to free myself. That was my only goal.

My father left this world without the two of us knowing or understanding each other. For a long time, I thought that was a sad fact. Now I realize how vital it was to my development; the day he died, I started to become who I am now. It was the day I began to build something from nothing. It is one of the two days I think of as life days, days when everything in my life shifted and there was no way to shift back.

I tell you this story not for sympathy or even empathy. I am long past the stage of needing or wanting either. I have adjusted, healed, and moved on. My point is that you may be in the midst of something difficult now, something that feels like it may break you, something that makes you feel like you may never be whole or at peace. You are in that empty room I walked into 25 years ago today. The space can feel overwhelming. The emptiness can feel like a void. It’s not, I promise you. It’s a canvas, a blank page, a stage. You will build something there, something that is totally of your own design. And there is no rush. You do what’s right for you, when it’s right for you. I look forward to seeing your masterpiece. Happy December 1st. I love you.

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