caring, grieving, and continuing to live my life
We don't always get to choose what happens to us.
I firmly believe that there are only two parts to life: what happens to you and how you choose to react. I had my fair share of the former in 2017. I lost both of my parents to different illnesses exactly one month apart from each other. Being an only child, I always knew that taking care of my parents would one day be my responsibility, but I certainly didn't expect it as early as age 25. About four months prior to their passing, I took a leave of absence from Brandcenter and moved home to take care of my parents. From that time period up to the present day, I've held several titles that were once new to me: caretaker, patient advocate, power of attorney, nurse wrangler, financial planner, executor, funeral planner, etc. None of them were easy jobs, but somehow have been accomplished.
Hard luck is still luck.
It's all going to be okay. No really, I actually do believe this. I could have come out of this experience incredibly jaded about the world. But I'm not. I've experienced a lot of bad, but I've also seen a lot of good. My parents were able to see me get married, which is something that previously seemed impossible. I'm now an entirely different person than who I used to be, in a good way. I'm tougher, stronger, more discerning, and a whole lot more confident in my abilities. 2017 was the worst year I could ever imagine, but with difficulty comes an equal amount of good. It was a year of true self-discovery. I had no choice over what happened to me, only how I chose to come out on the other side.
Why am I being this honest?
For a very long time, I wasn't honest with anyone around me. My mother had been sick for 7 years, yet only a small handful of people in my life knew about it. I thought I was putting on a brave face and being strong, but I was more so hiding a huge part of myself - an incredibly vulnerable part. With everything I've been through, I see no reason to hide any of it. Yes, it's emotional and maybe even a little uncomfortable to hear about, but it has made me who I am. I don't want to hide it anymore.