I've had a really rough couple of years. In July of 2016 my Dad died suddenly. I live in Texas, my parents, sister and in-laws live in Michigan. It was a horrible time for me as I've never really experienced death that closely and I felt like my Dad and I had a special bond. The next summer, my husband's favorite aunt died of lung cancer. Shortly after that one of my aunts passed away too. Then last March my mom was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. I feel blessed that I visited her for a week in January for my birthday - just a fun week without talk of cancer since we had no idea of what was to come. While she was going through chemo treatments & blood transfusions, I visited often. I thought she looked really good in April when my husband and I flew up for his father's funeral, but by the end of May my mom was gone too. I was blessed to be there at her side for a few days before she passed and also a week afterward helping my sister get through this devastating loss. So, if you're keeping track, that's 5 people I've lost in the past 2 years (both parents within 22 months). I feel like my life is completely different than what I'm used to. The upcoming holidays are not as exciting and I have to keep reminding myself that no, I can't call my parents and tell them about my day and ask how they're doing. Every day frustrations don't bother me that much anymore because I know there are worse things that happen all the time.
So, in order to put a smile on my face and live a happy life like I know my parents would want me to do, I focus more on my goals of writing & illustrating children's books. I've also added in creative projects with paper mache, sewing, cross stitch, and crochet. This year, I entered 4 items in the State Fair of Texas and won two 2nd place ribbons (Mister Rogers cross stitch & paper mache Conan O'Brien) and two 3rd place ribbons (crochet Mister Rogers and stuffed llama that I sewed).
I'm also working harder on my writing. I am determined to become a published author. It has been a goal of mine since I was in elementary school. I've gotten sidetracked throughout the years at various times, but it's always been a fire in my soul. I'm not giving up.
Life is short and if you want something badly enough you have to work hard to grab it before you're gone. If you're going through a rough time and are feeling defeated and sad, try something creative. Watch a youtube video of someone painting or creating something, bake, draw, get messy with paint/clay/paper mache, listen to upbeat music and go for walk and think of things you're grateful for with each breath you take. That's what I do. It's easier to push down your grief when you're working on something joyful. It's the one thing I can control - I can't change the past, but I can control my happiness by doing what brings me joy.