It has been a year of insane growth. We used to depend on my father for a lot of things. He was the man of the house. He did so many different things for all of us, and that’s how he wanted it to be. He loved providing for his family. So, when we no longer had that, we were lost. That was honestly one of the scariest parts of the whole process. It’s like figuring out how to navigate through your own storm without a compass. There are some rough patches…and at times you really don’t know which way is up. You have to learn how to trust yourself and the process, and it’s scary as hell at times. Trusting yourself can be hard. But you’ll then find that you aren’t as lost as you thought you were, and you actually know a thing or two. You find hope. Your faith in yourself (and the process) grows, and slowly but surely you start to find your way again. I’m missing my dad quite a bit today, and can’t help but think of how things would be if he were still here. It’d be so different. I wouldn’t be half of the person I am now. I feel bad saying that. I’d give anything to have him here, don’t get me wrong, but I probably wouldn’t have learned how to fight for myself in the same way that I have this past year because I’d still be pretty dependent on my dad. I’m proud of the strides I’ve made, and I think he would be too. He’d be proud that his daughter took matters in to her own hands and got herself in to a gym to better herself. He’d be so proud of her courage and strength. He’d be proud that through out some of the hardest times of her life she’s managed to become better, not bitter. He’d just be damn proud. I recently got a tattoo in honor of him. One that might not really make much sense to very many people, but to me it has depth and purpose. I got 2-01-16 tattooed on the inside of my ankle. That’s the day he passed away, and if I were to think about it from another person’s perspective I’d think, “Why would she tattoo such a sad date on her ankle?” Well, to me that date is one of fear, courage, and strength. It’s the day that changed me forever. It’s a mixture of dark and light phases of my life. There’s so much meaning wrapped up in those little black numbers, but if I had to simplify it, I’d tell you that I carry that day with me wherever I go. Every step of everyday; not a minute goes by that I’m not thinking about it. It’s a reminder to never take a moment for granted because each one has purpose. I’m starting to find my purpose, or so I think. It’s a pretty great one too. So great that once I get to the finish line not only will my dad be proud, but I will be insanely proud too.