It's not you, it's me

Today had the potential to be such a good day. And I needed a good day.

REALLY BADLY.

And then...

Well.

It was not.

.

.

.

.

.

Let me back up a few days.

On Saturday, January 12, 2013, with myself, my sister, my brother and his wife surrounding him with as much love as we could, my father passed away from complications of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

I have written about our reconnection and how bittersweet this whole process has been for both of us. Time, the one thing we needed, was the one thing we really did not have.

He was suffering and now I know he is not. We had a brief moment on Friday to talk and forgive each other before his level of consciousness prevented him from having further conversations. Given the situation, I am at peace with that and I can only hope that he was too.

So, I am grieving.

And on two fronts. I am grieving for the loss of the man that he was and I am also grieving (again?) for the loss of the father that I could have had. Details are not important anymore and life takes us in all kinds of different directions that are not in our control, but this is hard. Hard to try to understand the circumstances of the past and the motives of the people (including ourselves) that kept us so far apart, and hard to reconcile the fact that answers will never come.

Add to all of that the fact that I am also prepping this little family of mine for a whirlwind vacation half way around the world that starts VERY soon, and well... let's just say it is a busy week up in my head.

I don't have time to grieve. I have to pack, and I have to get kids to school and back, and I have to make meals and actually feed these people who depend on me and also find time for regular things, like showering and shaving my legs and such. There is playing and reading and laundry and dentist appointments and walking the dog and getting in a workout and doing my volunteer commitments and keeping up with the everyone on Facebook and well....

Something has to give.

Remember the good old days?

If someone had a baby, or if someone had a birthday or yes, if someone died. Remember what we would do, or what our parents and our parents friends would do? They would come over with a meal. Or call. Or send an actual card or note or flowers. They would come over and give you a big heartfelt hug. Not a ((hug)).

Now we take to the internets to express EVERYTHING. Our congratulations, our condolences, our breakfast, lunch and dinner and every waking moment in between. We are all more connected than we have ever been before and yet, I can't help but feel so disconnected right now.

This has been bothering me long before this past weekend and I was afraid to do anything about it, but now...

Now, I am done.

I am done with Facebook.

I am done with feeling like I am a good "friend" because I didn't forget to write "Happy Birthday" on whomever's timeline is listed on the top right hand corner of my page. I am done reading about peoples passive aggressive feelings through silly meme images. I am done with feeling the "Oh, that would be a good sound bite on FB" thought about something that happens in my day-to-day life, instead of actually BEING IN THAT MOMENT in my life.

My friend Tom wrote this very poignant post last week and in it he says,

"...you get only ONE chance at being a dad or a mom to your child. You won’t be allowed to try it again. You’ll be left with a void, a gap where you could have done something for or with your little one. And sadly, those are gaps in life we will never be able to go back and fill."

This week that message hit home for me more so than ever before.

Because I am that little one. I am that kid that lost out on having a father because of reasons that I will never understand. And yes, I know for a fact that there was a big void in my fathers life as well. And while we did get a chance to reconnect in the end. The sad reality is that it really was the end. We had less than 2 months to fit in 30 years of life.

It was not enough.

This week has been rough on all of us here at the SAHF household and I am trying to figure out what we all need around here.

The best solution and answer I can find is that we need MORE of each other. Or more specifically, my kids and my husband need more of me. And I need more of me.

We need more playing together. We need more reading books. We need more cuddles and silliness. We need more kitchen dance parties. We need mommy to NOT get on the computer the minute we walk in the door . We need to actually go visit with friends and family and spend time with them. Time that does not include any kind of mobile device bleeping every 10 seconds. We need to take pictures for us alone, not to be shared on Instagram or Facebook immediately. We need to get our validation from the joy of living, not from the amount of "likes" we get on a status update.

So like any addict who has to hit rock bottom before they see the light, here I am.

Today was my bottom.

My name is Natasha and I am addicted to social media. I check my phone and my computer all the time out of fear that I am going to "miss" something. And I do mean ALL. THE. TIME.. I panic if I can't find my phone. It is the first thing I check in the morning and the last thing I check at night. And sometimes, when I wake up in the middle of the night, I'll check it then too.

What hit me today, is that I AM missing something. I am missing my life. I am missing my children's lives. All the things that I keep saying that we will do later, just one more minute, one more message, one more video to watch....well, one day it will be too late. And I won't be able to go back. There is no 'delete' or 'undo' or 'refresh' button in life.

There is just DO and DO it as well as you can.

So...

As of tonight at midnight, I am deactivating my Facebook account.

I will still manage the community Pages that I am responsible for, but even that will be at a limited capacity.

If anyone wants to get ahold of me, call me, come and see me, meet me for coffee. Let's really CONNECT.

And hug.

Really everyone, it's not you, it's me.

I just need some space.

For a REAL life lived in the moment.

Lots of love,

Natasha~

P.S. {For my online friends who are far away, you can still find me on Twitter or via email or here too. Baby steps folks! :)}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Days of Truth - Day SIX: Something I hope I NEVER have to do.

Like almost everyone else in the world, at this time of year I think about my family.  I get super nostalgic at Christmas and remember all of the little things that made my Christmases so special as a kid.  Mom taking us to stroll down Candy Cane Lane, the Santa Claus parade (when it was still outside!) tobogganing and building snow forts with my siblings, all of us getting to stay up late to watch The Sound of Music on our ghetto TV channel (those of you who did not have cable as a kid know what I am talking about!).  And now I get to start all kinds of new traditions with my kids.  Ones I hope they will look back on one day with nostalgia as well.

But this post is supposed to be about something that I hope to NEVER have to do in my life.  There is a lot in my life that I hope I never have to do, but I keep coming back to this one thing, and it is about my family and my siblings.

I grew up in a family of four kids, me (the oldest), Brother #1, Brother #2 and Baby Sister.   We were your typical siblings, there were fights, teasing, bickering and also a lot of love and laughter.  We grew up in a single parent home and didn't always have a lot of material things, but we always had each other and especially at Christmas that meant the most.

There was also this funny kind of grouping with us as well.  Brother #1 and Baby Sister were the fair-haired children. They were the white blonde children with baby blue eyes that everyone oo'ed and ah'ed over.  And then there was Brother #2 and myself.  The dark ones.  Dark hair, darker eyes and this made us the other pair, the ones who did not shine so bright (on the outside).  Regardless of our looks we were a pretty close family, and even though we technically came from a 'broken home' we all turned out very well.  Not a criminal record amongst us, no one got knocked up and we all graduated High School and then some.  Well, almost all of us....

In the summer of 1993, just three days after his 17th birthday, Brother #2 was killed in a totally freak car accident.  It was a beautiful sunny Saturday in August and he was on his way to see a friend in a local rodeo.  At 10:30 AM that morning something happened, he lost control of his vehicle and crashed head-on with an oncoming pick-up truck.  His vehicle burst into flames and we have been told that he died on impact (I guess this is some kind of solace).

At the time of the accident Brother #2 and Baby Sister were at a Christian summer camp in Northern Alberta.  She was the first family member that the authorities were able to track down and so my Baby Sister, at the age of 15, was the first one to be notified of my brother's death.  My mother and step-father and I were at a retirement party outside of Edmonton at the time and they were dropping me off at my apartment at around five PM.  We were very surprised to see my Baby Sister emerge from a vehicle with two of the camp pastors when we got home.  And then they told us what had happened....

...and THIS is what I hope and pray that I NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER have to do in my life.

I NEVER want to have to hear the words that my child has died.  I witnessed first hand my mother's heart breaking into a million tiny pieces at that moment and the primal sound that emanated from her body still haunts me to this day.   My mother has a very strong faith and belief system and I know that it is the one thing that carried her through that day and all the days that followed.  And I am pretty sure that if you asked her she would tell you that this is the one thing she never wanted to have to do in her life.

My family was forever changed that summer.  I was now the lone dark one and I felt that.  I missed him...I still miss him.  Especially at this time of the year.  I wonder what he would be like today.  Who his wife would be, how much our kids would love each other.  How good it would feel to have his huge arms wrapped around me for one more hug (he was 6' 2" and 240 lbs when he died)!

These things I can not have, no matter how hard I wish for them.  So, I will take my kids to Candy Cane Lane, we will make the coolest snow fort on our block and we will stay up late and watch The Sound of Music all curled up together on the couch.  And because he is Brother #2's namesake, I will hug my son just a little bit tighter too.

Natasha~

Desmond Hans Hovis
August 11, 1976 - August 14, 1993