I wrote about this before, and I'll write about it, I'm sure until I can't write anymore. When I was 11 my dad died 2 weeks after he was diagnosed with Leukemia. I was 11 years old, and man...is 11 is an awkward stage already. My body was kind of changing but I still was super tall and lanky and got called bulimic almost every other day at school (I wasn't). I became quiet and all my "popular" friends shunned me. I had one girl who I sat next to on the bus shove me out of the seat while the bus was moving. Or that other popular girl who I heard whispering why I wore curls and had a (faux) fur jacket like I was some model and how much of a loser I was. It was because it was my birthday and it was literally the only thing I was excited about. When I was 11 it was the first time I remember wanting to die. My father was gone, I had no friends, the remnants of my immediate family was a mess - I'll leave those parts out but coming home to your moms AND your alcoholic stepdad's cars sitting in the driveway and walking into to a tiny, dark, cluttered house full of vodka-laced angry words was well, not pleasant.
Over time things got better at home, but I rebelled. I didn't listen to mom, I didn't go to classes, I just wanted to be with my friends and boyfriend. I was depressed and anxious and in a tornado of hurt. I see people who lost their parents and they handle it with such grace and class. I wonder why I wasn't strong enough to carry on with a sense of "I want to make my dad proud' instead of "I'm broken". As I gotten older, I stopped mourning his absence, and decided I wanted to celebrate his short presence on earth. Being kind, laughing and making others laugh, remembering the importance of family and to be there even when it's tough. To give back to the community. To stay strong and loyal and honest, to live with purpose and have goals but also never forget to sing your favorite song to the top of your lungs or go for a night swim or take 10,000 pictures of flowers. To live beautifully. Laugh. Breathe. And remember the good times and know there is still so many ahead.