each November, I remember… finding joy after loss…

For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t cry today.

On November 1st, 1996, my father died from cancer. It’s hard to believe I can say that. I don’t feel “old,” but saying I experienced the loss of a parent two decades ago makes me feel like I’ve aged.

Every year, I have dreaded November 1st. For what feels like forever, this day has been a major tracker of life events – much like a birthday or New Years celebration.

Another year I didn’t get to celebrate my achievements with my daddy. Another year wishing I knew more about him – that I knew him as his adult daughter.

Two years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this day dictate my feelings so negatively. I wasn’t going to let it rob me of my joy. Instead, I’ve spent some time over the last week or so leading up to this day to think about how far I’ve come in 20 years.

The Process of Learning

In December, my sweet grandmother (my dad’s mom) passed. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was with my entire Driver family. I cannot express to you how healing that was. I learned that it wasn’t just my sister and I who grieved and were hurting from my dad’s passing, but that those we loved were hurting just as much.

I felt so disconnected from them for such a long time – for many reasons we won’t get into – but for that one week, I was able to celebrate the life of my wonderful grandma and remember my grandfather and dad.

It was the reunion I didn’t know I needed. That single week healed my broken heart more than anything in the 19 years preceding it.

Transformation

While much has changed since 1996, it’s possible that this year – Nov. 1, 2015 through Nov. 1, 2016 – has been the most momentous.

It’s become more and more clear to me in the last year that I am on a journey. I’m not even sure what that journey is, what I’m aiming for, or where I’ll end up – but I know that it’s started.

For the first time in my life, I’ve felt truly powerful.

There have been times where I’ve experienced surges of courage, but something about this time feels different. I am confident, now more than ever, that despite our disagreements or differences, my dad would be proud of me.

Another November 1st, Another Year

And so, here we are. Another moment of pivotal realizations about life and what it means. On this day that has historically brought me so much sadness, I feel as though a whole new chapter of my life is beginning.

It’s no longer about what I lost, though that loss was painful. I lost a precious gift. But today is a day that I can look back over the years without Mike Driver and think, “I know he’d be proud of the direction I’m heading.”

Here’s to the adventure.

4 Comments

  1. *hugs* Krissi. Can’t say I know how you feel exactly, but I can certainly sympathize, and even empathize to a degree. You are certainly on a journey and I hope you get to enjoy every moment of it to the fullest.

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