I am over half the age my father was when he passed away at just 61 years old. 61, felt old to me at the time….I was 13, but in retrospect it wasn’t old at all. He was just sick, he fought long and hard and tried to hang on to see me grown up. He would always say “If I can just live to see her grown up”. I was the youngest by 11 years. My youngest brother is actually 11 years OLDER than me, next I have a sister, and then another two brothers. My oldest brother actually got two children who are older than me.
So yes, I was a surprise. Not a mistake, they would never call me that. But I was a gift, something that came along at a time in their lives that was just unexpected. They shocked a few family members after my arrival.
I was very young when my father first got sick. I remember an oxygen tank always adorning our house as well as regular mask treatments for breathing. I liked to help out. But when he got sick-sick, like ready to be in hospital kind of sick, it was always scary.
No one likes to watch their parent struggle. In the end, he struggled to breathe on a daily basis. Walking steps was a chore. If he went outside and came back in he would have to stop half way up the steps to the door just to let his body catch up to his breathing or his breathing to regulate and catch up to his body, whichever way you want to look at it. Everything was so labored. Then when he made it to the door and into the porch he would have to rest again before he was even able to take off his coat or bend to take off his shoes.
He spent some time in hospital before Christmas that year. Was released and spent Christmas with us, only to be re-admitted in January and he passed away on February 1st.
At 13, I was not ready. Nor did I have the mental and emotional capacity to understand and process what had happened. Every other time he had been that sick, he spent a few weeks in hospital and then came home with us again. This time was different and I would have given anything for it to have all been some cruel joke or mistake.
But, it was no joke, no mistake.
A rush of air left my lungs, as if someone punched me in the gut….and then my heart began aching. I crumpled into my brothers arms.
That is how I remember it. That moment so long ago that changed and molded me into something different than what I might have been.
Today, I realize that I am over half the age my father was when he passed away. Over half way through. It was sad to realize this. But it was also clarifying.
Where am I in my life? If you knew that half of your life has already been lived what would you do? Where would you want to be? What goals would you want to have accomplished? What would you change?
I am scared because I do not know if I am where I should be at this point in life. I know there are some things which I have accomplished that I am proud of. Being married, and our three children being the most prominent.
But where exactly do I want my life to go? I do not want to have any more regrets. I realize that I need to take control of my life or nothing is ever going to change.
I know I want to be loved deeply and to love deeply. This is big for me.
I know I want to be the best mother that I can be. I know I want to continue to blog about mental health, and advocate for those same issues.
But then what? What is next in this life for me? Do I continue to let life pass me by, and have regrets that I did nothing to mend and fix the problems that we currently have. I know my life is not headed in the direction that I wanted it to be, so my sails need to pick up some wind, change my direction.
But the difficulty lies in making decisions for me, and learning to deal with the changes, and following through.