The things I’ve learned through loss and reinvention Part 3…
The things I’ve learned through loss and reinvention Part 3…


Trym Nilsen, 2020 Unsplash

I sit here writing this and my heart feels broken. I look back at my last two blogs, it has been a year of chaos and crazy. For the first few months of 2020 I felt a want or a longing to find a way to connect. My father had announced at the end of 2019 the start of his new and better life by remarrying a stranger and the hurt and pain of his message to our family was cutting deep. I spent the last few months trying to navigate minefields, difficult conversations, and feeling like I am always walking on egg shells. My brother and I were consumed by it. It’s almost all we have been able to talk about. And it is sucking us up like emotional vampires.

Everyone has a threshold. I believe I have reached mine. I was visiting with a very good friend on the weekend, she recently beat cancer fiercely. She is a pure symbol of strength, hope, and true power. We were all talking about the recent events in my life and lack of progress with my father. She shared a very important thought that resonated so deeply with me. She mentioned that perhaps we, as people, have the ability to manifest so much negativity with the emotions and feelings we harbour, that we can make ourselves sick, even terminally sick. We need to release the resentment, the anger, and the pain. I know she is right. It is the foundation of my mindful self-compassion practices. The continuous cycle of fighting, pushing, resenting, and fearing does no one any good. It just festers. In that moment, although I had known it before, I realized what I had to do. It is a choice. A choice to release. A choice to open and forgive. The difficulty is it has to work both ways.

In my case, while I may be willing to forgive and to provide compassion there is no openness or willingness to hear it. Being rejected by family is difficult and heart wrenching.

Now as I think back to my latest difficult conversation, the first time I saw my dad alone since October. I fold in the past few months of conversations; I see so much transformation, hurt, and clear decisions. I went into the conversation with my heart open and a genuine willingness to open myself to new opportunity and to bridge the gap but I have left feeling that I need to walk away, at least for a little while. Until forgiveness and compassion can be a two way street, I don’t see a way to move forward. It’s literally crushing me but at the same time I know I have to move through this with acceptance.

I have spent the last two days challenging myself and I understand the silver linings. Here is what I know is the opportunity ahead and what I have learned that I can share:


Before last summer it had been a while since I had grieved. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was surprised when I found the whole thing challenging. I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was watching other people grieve and it felt like I didn’t know how to behave. It seemed like most people around me were experienced grievers. I wasn’t sure how to feel. I was consumed by everyone else’s emotions. And then weird things started to happen to me. I would be driving and I would burst into tears or I would be watching TV and I would starting weeping. I didn’t want anyone to see me having these emotional outbursts. I knew it was related to my mom but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. And here’s the wild part, the real intense part; It started about four months after she passed in the fall and winter. I didn’t really think about my grieving until after my dad left for Florida. I kept it bottled up. It’s possible I was focusing on his grieving, instead of my own. Otherwise known as avoidance. All I do know is that once I started grieving and allowing myself to do it, it has actually been healthy and cathartic. I am still grieving today. I recognize it. I finally found a therapist who has been very helpful. I can confidently say that the grieving process has been a ride and it’s far from over but I feel more in control of it now. My avoidance has turned into acceptance.


Last summer when my mom passed away, I lost someone I loved. Loss comes in many forms. At that time, I could never have predicted that I would end up having to figure out how to manage the loss of both my mother and father when one of them was still in my life. When I think of my relationship with my father today, I feel loss and distance. He feels so far away from me now. He was once a man I was so close to, we talked almost every day. He was my go to for advice and counsel. He was my memory database for the history of stories of our family and the good times with my mom from when we were young. Not to mention the walks downtown and our continuous hunt for the best chocolate cake. But now all of that just seems like faded memories and a dream. I have only seen my dad twice since the fall. He’s no longer the same person he was. Loss and grief have changed us all. But grief changed him in a way I would have never expected. His new life consumes him now. He is living in a world of what could be, and pushing away what was. I linger here in the what was. I’m grasping to my memories of who we were. I still have those memories and I will cherish them but I no longer have my father. And so I begin to understand that loss is strange and unfortunate but it is not a place we want to linger very long. We can visit like a vacation, a reunion of sorts, but we must move forward.

So I accept the loss, I cherish the memories and I move on…


No matter how painful it may seem at the end of the day we all have choices. What we choose defines our path and ultimately how we will feel. It’s funny; I see so clearly now. We often use choice as a crutch, we blame others or circumstance, but the reality is we all own our own path and the decisions we make. No one else can choose that for us. Just like my dad has chosen a new life and a preference to spend time with his new family, I now choose to accept the situation for what it is. I don’t have to like it but I accept it and I choose to move forward. I also choose to open my forgiveness and compassion whether it’s reciprocated or not. It will always be there. I also choose to close the door on pain and suffering. I will no longer allow his choices to cause me pain. It is so easy for us to want to blame others for our pain, suffering, and negative feelings. It’s easier I suppose. The choice I recommend and plan to do is accept my own path by becoming more mindful and aware. Life is too short to let negativity consume us.

Sometimes I wish life were easier, simpler perhaps, and then I realize how lucky I am to have had such a full life with so many wonderful people. I am surrounded in silver linings, my view is always half glass full. I realize that while the road for this part of journey may have not lead exactly where I wanted, it has brought many beautiful and unexpected opportunities. This is but part of my journey and my journey isn’t over yet.

Until next time.

go back
back to top