It’s been five years and not a single day will go by with the realization that my dad isn’t a phone call away. But, as the death of his anniversary is remembered I’ve come to understand something else: this chaos had been the stepping stone of me finding myself.

In math the chaos theory is the field of study in which identifies and focuses on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. What this means is there is a cause and effect for everything.

If I could change the past I may go back to the end of January 2014 and tell my dad he needed to get a full medical workup because he was gonna pass. I would tell him that Donna was about to find him on the floor of their bathroom writhing in pain. I would tell him he’d shake it off because, you know, no pain no gain, and go to bed only to never gain consciousness again. I’d want to change the fact that he passed away during a year I needed him the most.

I know I can’t. I could wish all I want but I know that’ll never happen. So, instead, I look at the last five years and remember small things can have monstrous effects. I remember that dynamite comes in small packages. I remember that one day in the 365 days allotted in a year took me on a path that brought me to today.

I’m not saying the death of my dad was a small thing. Quite the opposite. It rocked our family’s world so hard that even today there are some things, like calling other people Papa with our children, is not something we are willing to do. I am saying his passing was the stepping stone that made me face my hurt, made me face my miscarriages, made me face the truth of who I was and what I was becoming to get me to today.

On February 10, 2014 my world was hit with chaos. As the year went on my chaos ensued. Instead of standing, talking, asking for help I stood silent in my pain. I stood in a corner grasping for breathe and not letting anyone know I couldn’t breathe. My world unraveled so quickly. On February 10, 2014 I never thought I’d be able to live again.

On February 10, 2019 I’m honoring my dad by doing the very thing I thought I couldn’t: live. In five years I have learned to understand the triggers of my depression and anxiety. In five years I’ve learned how to calm those triggers and at most times conquer them. In five years I have held a baby in my arms and watched him grow without the searing pain of a broken heart. In five years I have learned to dream again. I have learned to laugh and smile and laugh some more. In five years I’ve learned to say goodbye, learned to let go, learned to love myself again.

Five years ago I lost my dad. I was 100% certain my life was over. Five years to the day I stand in a place in life where there is nothing but up. Five years to the day I can still hear him drive me to be better.

What does this have to do with chaos theory? The chaos theory says a small action and decision can change the world. Things that may seem random in fact aren’t random at all.

Let’s put this in perspective.

When my dad passed away all of this happened:

  • My depression and anxiety skyrocketed 5000 times of what it once was.
  • Two other major losses within a six month time frame spiraled me further
  • I became a recluse and sought ways to ease the pain
  • Anger and resentment set in
  • I walked away from God and blamed him for the loss

His passing and the chaos that followed did this:

  • Taught me that being silent gave too much power to the lies
  • Brought people in my life that taught me to love myself just as I am
  • Brought people in my life that showed me the love of Jesus
  • Was able to forgive myself and realize that I could love another child
  • Reminded me that it was okay to still dream

Do I wish my dad was still here? Yes. But, I also know that he’s been here in my heart cheering me on to be the best version of myself despite the worst years of my life. I can hear him, “Hun girl, no pain, no gain. Keep going.” I can still see him during our kempo lessons teaching us to channel the strength within us to push through. His passing brought so much pain but it also brought so much growth.

The chaos theory.

Sometimes things in life suck. We don’t understand. We know that God has perfect timing but it usually isn’t our timing. If you don’t share the faith then maybe it’s that you understand that things happen for a reason. Your pain and your hurt, I don’t know the reason or why it happened. But, I know that should you stand up, look at them in the eye and say thank you for the stepping stone, then you, lovely, are on your way. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next week. But, keep going. That chaos that happened, it only served to make you stronger. xoxo