I grew up in traditional farm family. I was very blessed to have the life that I did, but  I never actually took a step back and realized how incredible its been. Sadly, it took a life altering event for me to figure this all out.  Let me catch you up.  I went to college to become a radiologic technologist. After graduating and passing my boards I was offered a weekend package job, which by the way sucks, but beggars can’t be choosers right? I was the only tech working on the weekends. They kept me in the basement of the hospital, which was dark and felt like it came straight out of a horror movie. I was constantly turning around to make sure no one was standing behind me. I somehow made it through each weekend, and then would drive the hour and a half drive home.  The positive on having that work schedule was that I got to see my family quite a bit during the week.  I’m big on family, so being able to spend time with them has always been very important to me.  I remember starting to have a hard time with my job, and hating the loneliness I started to feel when I was at work all by myself.   One morning before leaving for an extra shift that I picked up I had a break down. I walked up to my mom and told her that I was really hating my job, and that I was considering putting in my two week notice. I felt that I would rather be happy than have a job that I absolutely dreaded going to. She gave me a surprised look and said, “Madison, I really wish you would just give it some time and keep trying.”  I got really upset and started crying, which I don’t normally do. I’m sure my mother got freaked out and called my father.  My father always answered any call from family at work, especially if it was my mother. I was driving down the interstate trying to decide what to do got a phone call from my father.   I had known at that moment that my mom called my dad and probably said something dramatic along the lines of, “Your daughter is a freaking hot mess, give her a call”. Dad always came to the rescue. He had a way of just looking at me and being able to tell something was wrong. He could see something in my facial expressions or hear it in my voice, and he had me figured out. He said, “You’ve been lying to your old Dad, haven’t you?” He then said something along the lines of, “I know you don’t like your job, and you hate the long drives. I also know that you are really good at what you do, and you are good with the people. I know that you are for a fact. So, for you to give up on something you are good at wouldn’t be right. Something better will come along, and I will help you find it. Just keep going for a little while longer. You can do this.” There it was. The push I needed to keep going. So, I drug my butt into work and made it through another day, but you better believe that when I got home the job search began.  I started looking for jobs all over- Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and even some closer to home in Iowa.  I stuck with the job for as long as I could, but then  I had something pretty tragic happen in my life and I decided to call it quits.  Along came February 1st, 2016, which was and will be a day that will haunt me for the rest of my life. That was the day that everything that was normal to me changed.  The day went by just like any other. That afternoon I was looking for jobs on the computer when I got a phone call from my mother. That usually never happened because she works in preschool and doesn’t get much free time at work.   When I answered she said, “I’m taking Dad to the doctor, he doesn’t feel right and is pretty sore.” He had fallen a few days before on the ice, so I thought it nothing was too serious, and soon he’d be just fine.  My dad had had two heart attacks in the span of maybe 5 years before all of this happened, which both resulted in having a stent placed.  The afternoon went on, and I got another phone call saying, “Your dad just wants to go to the chiropractor and get adjusted again. We can’t get ahold of his cardiologist to see if we should come in and get checked out or not.” He went to the chiro and got adjusted, and then all hell kind of broke loose. After the appointment the chest pain kind of hit him like a train and he decided it was time to go to the emergency room, but he didn’t want to go in an ambulance. The man was stubborn as hell, so there was no point in arguing with him. I was told that he was laid back in his seat, moaning in pain. My mother kept trying to weave in and out of traffic, but the semis kept blocking her. By the time they got to the hospital, my dad couldn’t even get out of the car.  Someone who was once so strong, was now weak and in excruciating pain. He was rushed into the emergency room, and it was there that he went into cardiac arrest.  They tried reviving him, and even rushed him to the Cath lab to work on him.  None of it was enough. My hero was gone.  How does any of that make sense? He was just here. I even heard his voice in the background when I was talking to my mom on the phone, and now he’s not? He had a blood clot get stuck in one of his stents.  The next phone call I’d get from my mother would be one of panic and heartbreak.  She said, “Madison, come to the hospital now. I want you here. They just took Dad to surgery. Please come!” I could sense that something wasn’t right. Things weren’t good. I called my brother and we took off together towards Iowa City. During that car ride I felt this weird feeling, something that I can’t even begin to describe. It bothered me to the point where I had to reach out and grab on to something, so  I grabbed my brother’s hand and held it the rest of the way to Iowa City.  I have kind of started to believe that that was the moment that our father died. I know it sounds crazy. Our minds have a funny way of working though. We can almost sense things that have happened without knowing that they have actually happened- if that makes sense.  I honestly never imagined losing my dad so soon. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I am now without one of the most influential and important people in my life. He won’t be here to walk me down the aisle, to love on my babies, or give me any of his fatherly advice. My heart has been broken completely, and part of it was buried with the man I call Dad.

I am now in the rebuilding stages. Rebuilding myself in a way that I never thought in a million years would be possible. Part of that process started within the first few months after he passed. Let me tell ya, the grieving process is WEIRD. Like I’ve said, I feel like a crazy person most of the time. My emotions are one big cluster f*ck. I know it will get better, or so I’ve been told. I have started working on myself at a gym in Iowa City called GRIT GYM. Huge shout out to them! I HIGHLY recommend it if you are in the area and looking for place to work out!  Every person in there is amazing and can make me laugh, so I actually look forward to getting my ass kicked on a daily basis.(How cool is that?!) I started going to better my health and well-being , but it’s also like a safe zone for me. I am able to work out my frustration and any other emotions and end up leaving there feeling better than when I walked in.  I hate that it took my Dad dying to treat myself the way I should have been treating myself all along, but there is nothing I can do to change that now.  I’m doing the best I can to accept it for what it is and make the best of what I have left in this life.



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