It’s that time of year again. I usually look forward to the holidays, but I’m kind of fighting them this year. Yesterday we had our big family Thanksgiving for my dad’s side of the family at my mom’s house. It was rough even though we all went on acting like everything and everyone was fine. It becomes more clear every time we get together that my Dad was the center piece that held everything together. He loved the holidays. He was the one that cut the ham and turkey. He was the one everyone joked with, and the grandkids/nieces/nephews all flocked to. I kept waiting for him to come around the corner and sit down next to me like he used to. I wanted to hug him and just hold on tight. I miss his hugs. I miss the way we used to pick on each other. I miss how much we’d laugh at each other. I miss him telling me everything was going to be ok. I miss how he made me feel safe and secure when I needed it. I miss the way he and my mom used to stand in the kitchen and hug each other and then whisper, “I love you more.” I miss seeing my mom be happy and feeling complete. I miss his presence in general- he was my friend, my dad, and my rock. I find myself doing things to feel closer to him, like wearing his old shirts to the gym, or carrying this dove pin I wore on the day of his funeral with me(because it was the last place I actually was able to touch him and see him). As I write this, I realize that part of me is embarrassed for exposing my sadness, and part of me is proud that I’m letting myself feel it instead of run from it. Why am I embarrassed? I think it has a little something to do with wanting to be that happy-go-lucky positive breath of fresh air kind of person. Being sad is a real downer, and I’m not very good at it. I’d usually try to stuff that deep down and just keep on keepin’ on, but that can’t be good for the soul. I’m working on letting myself be vulnerable instead of shaming myself for having feelings other than being ok. I’ve been constantly wondering if I am playing the victim. Let’s face it, my dad died in this super traumatic and horrible way, but the only thing I can think of is that someone has it worse off than I do. I feel guilty letting myself be sad because of how blessed I am. I feel guilty being happy every once in a while too, but that’s a whole other thing. Its crazy stuff. I know he is here with us, but all I can think of is how things used to be. I’m fighting my new normal pretty hard. I’m sure it will get easier to accept as time goes on! My dad has been making his presence well known. He’s still an ornery little shit, so there’s that. So, it’s no secret I’ve been working on myself, and I’ve noticed I’ve been changing in quite a few ways. I’d like to think that I have my dad to thank for that. If it weren’t for him, then I probably wouldn’t be the person I am becoming. Sure, I’ve had something to do with it too, but he’s had a lot to do with bringing me to where I am. And to Grit Gym. My favorite place to be really other than home. (Or the beach) I am 100% positive that my father played a hand in that too. No doubt in my mind. I’ve met some of the most incredible people in there. Adam- he’s the owner/head coach. He is one of the most influential and genuine people I have ever met. The first time I met Adam was at my Strategy session. I was so nervous to go into a gym I had never been in before and ask for help. Before my dad died I would have waited for him to go with me because I was afraid to do things like that alone. To push myself out of my comfort zone. Adam made me feel like I still had a place in the world in all of the darkness I was experiencing, and that I could do anything. He helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel, and for that I will forever be thankful. He’s destined for great things, and I hope to have him in my life for a long, long time. Next comes Evan and Brent! They are both very funny people, just like me, so we all mesh very well. Brent was all business when we first met, but he eventually let the guard down. He’s another genuine and thoughtful person. Brent is a natural at what he does and I know he will go far in whatever avenue he chooses to pursue in life. He’s one of the good ones! EvDog(Evan), he’s one of a kind! I mean that in the best way. He started working at the gym not too long before I started going there, so we’ve been learning things on the fly together. I’ve noticed that he hates making mistakes, and tries his hardest to keep his cool even though he’s freaking out a little bit on the inside. All 3 guys hold a special place in my heart and came into my life when I needed good people in my corner the most. People seem to be around a lot the first week after someone dies, and then they all kind of disappear. So, perfect timing to gain three great friends. I hope they know I don’t plan on going anywhere any time soon, so they are stuck with this lady for as long as they’ll let me be in their lives. As far as the whole holidays thing goes, the only way out of the hard stuff is to go through it. It’s going to be tough. I’m sure it will hurt, but I’m strong and will come out of it(even if it’s on my hands and knees).