A Month of Reflection

June 4, 2012 § 7 Comments

Today is June 4. Its been a month since my dad so abruptly and unexpectedly left this world. 32 days since he died to be exact. 31 days we have lived on our own.

It feels as though its been a day, a month, and a year all at the same time. The fact that a month has passed is astonishing. And yet the fact that its only been a month and feels like a lifetime is troubling. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting this past month on my father’s life, my own life, and grieving in general.

My father’s death was a public one. For the first week there was non-stop local news reporting. At first I was troubled by this. It was a private time but yet it ran non-stop on the news over the weekend. The Orlando Magic held a moment of silence – we got calls from friends in other cities saying they saw it on television. I couldn’t break away from social media – odd as that sounds – you’d think I wouldn’t have wanted to be on Twitter or Facebook – but for me, as long as people were talking about him, he was still with us. And so I found myself tied to the TV, Twitter, Facebook, Google News. It was as though with every mention of “Gary Sain” – he was somehow still alive. While the first week truly sucked, we were all comforted by the many friends and family around, as well as the virtual support online. (((Hugs))) abounded.

Then came week 2. A total fog. Life quieted down. Friends and family went back to their lives, and so we tried to do the same. I left my mom’s house and came back home. I kept waiting for my dad to visit me in the silence – I wanted to look up and see the fan moving even if it wasn’t on, to have the radio magically turn on to Chicago, the Beatles, or Frank Sinatra, to have my dog start barking happily at the sight of him that only she would be able to see. But none of those things happened. We were alone.

Week 3 was back to work week. I knew going back to work wasn’t going to be easy but I had absolutely no idea how painful and hard it would be. I just really can’t describe it. Last week, week 4, was my first trip and while I found little bits of my old self – getting excited here and there during meetings or wanting to meet up with people for dinner – mostly there was a huge void and I’m sure that will always remain. I found myself going through motions and wondering how many times my dad had done them. I found some sense of comfort in literally following in his footsteps. After all, he’d just been to DC the week he died. As I flew home I looked out over the sea of clouds and waved hello without raising my hand. A silent longing.

So, here I am, on Day 31 of living without my dad – and while there is still an uncontrollable sadness that can’t be defined, I’m coming to terms with this and can’t help but reflect on my dad’s life and be extremely, utterly, over-the-top proud of my father. I would have answered very differently Saturday but you see, last night was Florida Hospital’s Gourmet Soiree and the focus of the event is to help raise money for their “Healthy 100“. They’re trying to teach people how to live to a healthy 100. Part of the event was something called the “Executive Challenge.” I knew my dad was part of the Executive Challenge – it started out of his pushup challenge he set for himself on his 61st birthday – but I had no idea the instrumental role he played in it. He pretty much got it started and recruited the other executives as I learned last night.

Gary Sain, Florida Hospital

My mom spoke about the Executive Challenge and what she wanted everyone to take away from it – I was super proud watching her on stage!

As I saw this room full of people wanting to help others live to the Healthy 100, and these executives on stage saying all these great things about fitness and infusing a healthy lifestyle into their culture and doing the right thing and how my dad inspired them, I couldn’t help but be proud and amazed. The best was when the executives all got down to do 10 pushups in honor of dad, I had a huge smile and I know my dad was smiling too.

So, here we are trying to make progress. Yesterday really invigorated me and it was the push I needed. I exercised both yesterday and today and now have to decide what healthy vegan meal to make for dinner.

My request of you: Don’t wait to make a change in your life.

Do something today.

Take a challenge.

Go for it!

Reduce red meat. Cut out dairy. Walk daily. Try yoga. Meditate. Practice smiling. 🙂

No improvement is too small. You can do it!

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§ 7 Responses to A Month of Reflection

  • michele says:

    This was simply beautiful. What a wonderful daughter you were to your father and you are such an incredible support to your mom. Again, this was just beautifully said Vanessa.

  • Sharon and Ken Sain says:

    Dearest Vanessa: What a Heartfelt Reflection of this most difficult time in your life. It speaks volumes about you and what you have become – so much more than special. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. You’ll find him everywhere! He’ll never leave you alone. We admit that we are having a difficult time to think and talk about your Dad in the past tense, as we are sure many others are
    experiencing. He is a living and loving force of nature that will be with you always. That’s the gift that God leaves today. Love to you, Mother and Olivia. Sharon and Ken

  • Roger says:

    Vanessa … you and Olivia and your Mom remain in my prayers. I miss your Dad, too, but in no way can any of us share your pain … only admire the way each of you has lived up to his dreams. His pride in you never stopped and it is clear your love and admiration for him will continue driving you to make him proud. What a beautiful message. Thanks for helping the rest of us heal, too.

    • Vanessa says:

      Thank you so much Roger for your kind words. This has been a way of healing for me and I’m glad the efforts aren’t in vain and are helping others. Thank you again for sharing.

  • Mili says:

    Vanessa, what a beautiful post. I know your dad is so proud of you right now. I hope you continue to inspire change just the way he did. Lots of (((hugs))). Next time you’re in DC, I hope we can meet up.

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