It’d been a hell of a year.
In June of 2016, my Dad suffered a massive stroke. To say it changed my world is to put it mildly.
There’s a scene in the show One Mississippi where Tig’s mother had just passed away. As Tig was getting ready for bed, her partner tells her, “You need to get some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day.”
“Tomorrow is actually a very small day, because my mother’s not in it.” Tig responded.
I had to turn the show off after that. It hit too close to home so soon after the great big giant of a man in my life had fallen. While my Dad did survive the stroke, it took away his speech and mobility, and left me with a different Dad.
Just a few weeks after his stroke, Hannah and I flew to California to tour colleges. It was really hard to pull myself away from the hospital room, but it was too late to change our plans.
Hannah and I returned home after a few days, and I went back to visiting Dad in the physical therapy wing. After weeks of therapy, he finally got to go home on August 3rd.
Shortly after that, the emotional roller coaster that was Hannah’s Senior Year of high school began. It came and went so fast. Before we knew it, August of 2017 rolled around. It was time to take our only daughter thousands of miles across the country where she would attend school.
Now, by this time in my life, what little identity I had as an individual had long since been buried under the roles and responsibilities of life: daughter, sister, teacher, wife, mother. You get what I’m saying.
I didn’t necessarily realize it, but I yearned for more. I craved connection. I longed for community. I needed intimacy.
But, I ignored all those desires until one October morning in 2011, I reached a breaking point and abruptly quit my job. It was the moment I put myself first in a long queue of people to take care of.
Between October 2011 and August 2017, I’d started digging my way out of the burial ground, one confrontation at a time.
I addressed health issues, had tough conversations with my husband about the state of our marriage, and worked on being more present for my then pre-teen daughter, all with the help of the counselor I’d started seeing just before I quit teaching.
While I made big strides in my personal and spiritual growth, something was still missing. It would take a ten day road trip across the country to realize exactly what that was.
This post is a part of a short story series. Click here to read from the beginning.
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