I think everyone does…y’know, those moments where clarity dawns and you realize what you are meant to do, where you are meant to go, what that event was trying to teach you… It might be a lightning bolt that changed your life direction, or just a cloud that cleared so you could see what direction you needed to head. Either way, they are life altering moments, big or small.
My a-ha moment was more a series of moments, the first one that I’m consciously aware of, is when my Dad passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59. I was 29, not nearly “finished” growing up…as in I wasn’t yet settled in a permanent job, a relationship, or even a true life’s path. I had just moved to Vermont, by myself, to take a temporary job, and literally only knew the seven or eight co-workers I had there (I had been there less than two months).
Facing my Dad’s mortality, and therefore my own mortality (I couldn’t imagine that my life might be half over at that point), was life changing. After flying home to Iowa, alone, to spend a week grieving with my family, I flew back to Vermont, alone, and faced the reality of grieving in a place where no one knew my Dad, or had even met this person that I was so painfully missing. After a few weeks of pretending I was “fine”, I saw a professional, for my grief, who suggested I start a journal and sent me to the bookstore to buy a book on grief (duh, I could have done that without paying for the office visit!). I never went for my follow-up appointment. I did purchase (and read) the book, and I wrote two entries in the newly acquired “grief” journal. Two entries. That’s all I could muster. Journaling had never been for me. I found other ways to deal with my grief, and with time, I healed. Eventually, I found my way to adulthood, I found love, and I found a passion in fabric and sewing that helped with the healing process.
Eventually, I discovered blogging, and my childhood dream of keeping a “diary” finally came to fruition! For some reason, making myself pick up a paper diary or journal to log my thoughts just never worked, but writing a blog post about my creative pursuits just seems so natural. I’ve found an outlet for my stress, my fears, my dreams. I’ve made great connections, virtually and in person through my blog. Blogging has opened up a whole new world of creativity and inspiration for me, and I look forward to the opportunities it may bring me in the future, and embrace the clarity of thought it provides me with every time I turn to it.
Yesterday I was interviewed (on camera–eek!) for the A-Ha Moment Tour 2010 in downtown Des Moines. If you are in the U.S., you’ve probably seen the A-ha Moment commercials on television. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, and gave me pause to reflect on the topic of this blog post. I had not really considered before that it took me a decade, and ultimately finding an outlet for my creative pursuits through blogging and quilting, to fully heal from the pain of that loss.
This week, we are saying goodbye to another Dad, my FIL. He passed away early Saturday morning, following a few months of illness; after celebrating his 57th wedding anniversary, and his 84th birthday earlier this year. He served in WWII, on a Navy ship and is being buried in the National Cemetery at Fort Snelling, just down the road from where he grew up. A proud Minnesotan and lifelong St. Paul resident, a proud father and grandfather. I only met him five years ago, but he welcomed me graciously into his family from our very first meeting, in the same gentle, polite manner he treated everyone he met. Thank you for that, Steve, and may you rest in peace.