When Hope Turns into Despair

dad and me

Hope and despair are polar opposites of each other. But we can’t have one without the other. Hear me out on this.

I believe hope is born from despair. Sometimes we have to go through some sort of despair in our lives in order to really know what hope is. We have to learn from our miseries in this life to feel the true meaning of hope. We can appreciate hope for what it is: a new beginning, a bright light ahead, a positive attitude. If we let hope in our hearts, we will always make it out ahead. 

The hard part, is truly believing in that hope for ourselves. I feel like our brains are wired to contradict every positive thought that we have (or is that just me?!). We as humans can have so much self-doubt and guilt. Some questions cross through our minds: ‘Am I good enough?’, ‘I don’t deserve to be happy.’, ‘How can I go on with all this grief?’. These are tough questions. But that’s where hope comes in.

We have to have hope in order to survive. 

Life is crazy. It is NOT easy for anyone. Social media has a great way of showing peoples lives as close to perfect. Those are lies! No one has a perfect life. I like to call my life perfectly imperfect. I have my hiccups but its the perfect life for me.

I believe my dad was stuck in his despair. He felt lonely in his thoughts. Ashamed at what he was going through. Nightmares and flashbacks. Thoughts of suicide. He didn’t want us to worry about him. He had peaks of hope that shined through. He told a member of my family, ‘Don’t worry about me and what I said the other day! I feel great!”. Unfortunately, he said that the day before he took his life. Despair won.

Don’t let despair win. So many people care about you, no matter how much negative self talk tells you otherwise.

I miss my dad so much. I wanted to share a few memories that I have of him in order to keep my own hope alive. Hope that I will see him someday and to make great memories with my own family.

My dad used to go for runs after work. I could not keep up with his long Gazelle like legs (as his friend would say!). So I rode my bike next to him while he ran.

My dad caught a tadpole for me and we raised it in the fish tank I had, that he also helped me pick out.

My dad took me to get my first video game set. Super Nintendo! I got Street Fighter and Donkey Kong.

I tease that my dad wished I was a boy. I tagged along with him when he went paint ball shooting. We took karate together. He took me shooting. He taught me how to change the oil in the car. He and I would take the leftover oil to drop off at a local auto shop. He would mumble to himself that no one needed to know his real name and address, so he always used fake names when he had to sign for it (this made me laugh!).

Dad and I

My dad was the one that picked me up from the movie theater (instead of my mom), to tell me the bad news that my grandpa died.

My dad always let me pick a movie from blockbuster every week. It was mostly always a Goofy cartoon, and I loved hearing him laugh like Goofy.

I had to write a thesis paper in high school. My dad helped me with the materials and I wrote the paper on gun control. My teacher left a note saying that her views were changed after reading my paper. Needless to say, I aced the paper. And my dad was so proud, sharing the paper with his many friends at the gun range.

I would cry to my dad when I had a breakup. He would always say there are better fish in the sea. And then at my wedding, he made an impromptu speech saying that none of my other boyfriends stuck around when he showed them his gun collection. My husband did, and he’s a man’s man (we laugh at this too!). He was so nervous at my wedding that he needed to take some calming medicine. We were waiting in the hallway of the church, listening for the wedding march (our queue to walk out). I could tell he was nervous and he was shaking. I said, ‘Dad, you are ok. We’ve got this. Let’s go!’

I loved being my dads little sidekick. No one quite had a relationship like we did. It wasn’t perfect, but it was one of my favorites.

I wish my pep talks helped him. I told dad ‘We’ve got this!’ when he was in deep despair, a few days before he died. Despair sure is one of life’s hardest lessons.

As Dory says, “Just keep swimming!”. Better days are ahead. All you need is hope.



My Dad’s Hobby

Dad trophy

I remember taking this picture of my dad. He was so proud of his trophy and his garden. Happy times.

Target shooting. I went so many times with the my dad in the desert to practice shooting guns. I recently went for the first time in years. It was pretty emotional.

My dad’s hobby since I can remember was reloading bullets and shooting guns in the desert or at the gun range. He would do competition shooting every weekend. I would help collect all the shells and would help reload the bullets in the garage. I would pull the handle, filling each bullet with gun powder, and hearing the ‘tink’ as the reloaded bullet fell into the bowl. This would go on for hours. I often wonder if it was therapeutic for my dad to reload bullets. The sounds could be soothing in a way. There was quiet time to think and process things.

To think that my dad used his own gun with his own reloaded bullet, to end his life, is ironic. And sad. And devastating. I haven’t touched a gun in years. So when I finally used a gun to go target shooting, it was way more emotional than I thought it would be. I wasn’t quite prepared for that. After I shot my first round, the tears flowed. That gun was so powerful in my hands. The sound of the gun firing with each shot was loud and deafening. How could my dad use this method to end his life? He, more than most people, knew how powerful guns were. He taught me gun safety and always made sure that the gun was pointed down and away from anyone, loaded or not. He carried guns to protect his family. So ironic, on that fateful day, he did quite the opposite to protect his family.

I felt so sad and devastated after shooting that powerful gun in the desert. To know that my dad suffered so badly, ending his life using the one thing that brought him joy, is just so devastating. He knew it would be quick. The officers who responded to my moms gut wrenching call, said that it was in an instant that he was gone. He felt no pain. He knew what he was doing. How long did he think about doing this for? The specifics of where he was going to do it and how? Its all so nauseating to think about.

I did not do well with my target practice. I don’t think I actually ever hit the big circle on the target! Years ago I would say that I could do pretty well, hitting bottles and cans from far away. But not this time. My husband asked if I was scared of the gun. YES! I was and still am. I am still recovering from the trauma surrounding my dad and his decision. I am not afraid of the gun itself, but every time I see a gun, I think of my dad and what was going through his mind while holding it. Every time I pull the trigger on the gun, it triggers thoughts about my dad. How alone he must have felt.

Soon enough I will be able to hold that gun and make those targets. I know my dad would be so proud of me with my efforts. Until then, I will retrieve the casings from the dirt, remembering the good times with my dad on many weekends out shooting.



It’s Easy and Then It’s Tough – It’s Complicated

dads note


It’s been an easy going past few months dealing with my grief about my dad’s suicide. I don’t get as emotional when hearing his music play, or when looking at pictures of him. But that does not mean this is easy. It’s a complicated grief that I have grown to accept.

I still question everything. Why did he do this? I’ve blogged about this before and I will restate it again: My dad had a GREAT day before he died. He sent this letter and a book to my husband that day when my mom and dad were running errands. They had a good breakfast at their favorite restaurant. My dad told my mom not to worry about him, that he was feeling better. And then that night, in a split second, he walked to the garage where his gun safe was. Grabbed a gun and went to his bedroom, not bothering to close the safe. The last decision he made while on this Earth was a devastating, everlasting decision that would effect everyone’s lives around him. His friends (he had so many) and family members were all in shock.

I remember when my husband called me to tell me that he received the package from my dad. I had already arrived in Arizona to be with my family, dealing with the chaos of planning a funeral and helping my mom make crucial decisions. It was two days after his passing that this package arrived. Sort of ironic and was pretty sad.

Grief has become easier but it is still tough. I am at the point where I don’t think about him as much. And it saddens me. Looking back, I felt close to my dad when I went through the most awful stages of grief. A part of me wants to go back to those emotional stages so that I can feel closer to him. But I am evolving and growing through this grief.

It’s as if a tiny flower is growing from this seed of grief. A seed that I thought would have been covered it dirt and darkness with no room to grow. Roots have grown, stems and leaves have taken shape. There is light and beauty in this grief after all. 

I miss my dad so much. I am learning to live and grow without him physically here. But I do know he is with me. He is watching over me and my family. He is finally happy and free. And that brings me peace.



Yellow Butterfly

yellow butterfly

I really wanted (and needed) my dad to visit me during the last week of December. That was a really hard week. Christmas Eve (The last time I talked to him), his death, and his birthday, all in one week.

I felt alone and abandoned. I needed him to say hi and lift my spirits. To know that he was ok. The flood of grief came back that week. Anger, sorrow, sadness, guilt (oh so much guilt this time), and many more feelings. It was survival week for me and it was tough! It was tough to grieve and take care of my family at the same time.

He finally visited me in a dream! My family and I were having a birthday party for him. We decorated, ate steak, and ate cake. The decorations were all yellow and green. The first few months after my dad passed, I would see yellow butterflies. Once when we were at the lakes by my house, a lone yellow butterfly flew right in front of us and over the lake. I knew it was my dad. I would see many more during those first hard months. So I knew yellow was my dad’s color, and green for his love of the outdoors.

We were wrapping up the party, starting to clean up. We were sad that dad didn’t make it, and that’s when he walked in. He came barging in, sorry that he was late. He was busy up there in Heaven. Like every dream I’ve had with him, we gave each other a long, heartfelt hug. I whispered to him that I miss him so much and loved him. He had a smile on his face and said the same thing.

Everything happens in God’s timing. I needed to get through that week and be strong. My dad must have been busy that week in Heaven, helping others and visiting his family. I know he is truly at peace and finally happy! That brings me so much happiness to know that he is finally safe, back with his family, and helping others like he loved doing on this Earth.

Love and miss you dad.



Double Grief December

hands above water

Photo by Arun Kr on Pexels.com

This is a really hard time of year for my family. Christmas, the day my dad died, and his birthday are all within the same week.

I’ve felt like this roller coaster of grief has settled a bit, slowing down. That’s what it seemed like. However, I think I put my grief and the thoughts of my dad to a place where I don’t think about it. I’ve been so busy with school and life, I just don’t have time to think about it. Today though, is tough.

Memories have come flooding back to me from two years ago, when I got that awful call that no one wants to get. ‘Dad died, he killed himself’. Such ugly, ugly words that no one should ever hear. The absolute loss that I felt that day is indescribable. My heart felt like it was ripped out, and I was left on the ground, struggling to survive. Why dad, did you have to leave us? Why am I still sitting here, trying to pick up the pieces?

I know my dad was suffering. It was easy to see. It was so very hard to see and hear him suffer. I truly tried my best. Two days before he died, I told him he was depressed. I tried telling him that it will be ok. I can’t help to think that I may have said the wrong things. That he left because of me. It hurts.

I need to tell those thoughts to go away. I know my dad did his best, and would never leave us like this. For my mom to find him. He was sick, very sick. He loved us so much. He was the Gentle Giant.

For those that are grieving, especially during this time of year, make time for yourself. Give your soul some rest. Do something that lifts you up.




Grief, an ugly (and at times beautiful) journey

dad and me

Looking back at my grief journey, its been a quite a ride. There were so many ups and downs, back and forths. It’s been exhausting. And it will continue to be exhausting for the rest of my life.

I’ve felt peaceful, for the most part, about my dad passing. I had another dream of my dad recently, where I saw him on the porch of a house I was in. I knew he was visiting me again, so I made a point to really take it all in. I studied his features, what he was wearing, and his mannerisms. The same dad that I’ve always known. This time he had a decorated military hat on that said SGT GUNNY. I then yelled excitedly, ‘daddy!!’, and we ran to each other and hugged. I didn’t really know what Gunny meant, but I knew it had something to do with the rank in the Marines. My first thoughts of what that meant was that my dad had resumed his hobby and love for guns in Heaven. The second thought was about my best friends family. Her father in law, who passed away, was a Gunnery Sergeant during his time in the Marines. Maybe they met in Heaven and are sharing stories. Such a sweet dream.

Lately, however, has not been so peaceful. I know my dad is in a better place and I know it’s not my fault that he died, but my mind likes to tell me otherwise. I just get so frustrated. I am mad that I have to deal with these ups and downs of grief, on top of everyday life. Everyday life is HARD as it is. Trying to cope with my anxiety, raising 7 kids, trying to keep the house in order, finding the little time to spend with my husband, and then finding time for myself admist school, is just so tough! I can’t do it all and I feel like I am falling short. Depression sinks in. Thoughts of my dad and what I could have done to keep him here. It’s just too much at times. Why was I given this burden, on top of life’s daily struggles? Maybe I need to change my attitude and have less selfish thoughts. Maybe I was given this burden to help others, to save others. Still, it’s tough.

Watching and hearing my family struggle is hard. My mom is constantly depressed and suffers from PTSD. She just wants to forget about my dad at times. That stings to know that. But its the only way she knows how to move on right now. My sister, my best friend, feels so much guilt. I wish I can take that away from her. I can tell her over and over that we all did our very best. But how can we truly accept that for ourselves? Why did my dad leave us, and now we are left struggling, trying to pick up the pieces? I feel like we will never be able to put that puzzle back together. There will be so many missing pieces. How do we move on with so many missing parts of our lives?

I don’t know the answer to these awful questions. For me, I can rely on Heavenly Father to ‘lead me, guide me, walk beside me, and help me find the way’.

I miss my dad. Just yesterday, for a split second, I thought I would call him to ask about something that needs to be fixed in our house. Something I knew he would know the answer to. I then realized I can’t call him. I can’t talk to him weekly like I used to. I can’t tell him what I am doing or have done in hopes that he would be proud of me. I can’t tell him that I changed the oil in my van and how thankful I am that he taught me how to do that. I can’t tell him that it meant so much to me when I was younger and needed a ride home after a late night, no questions asked. I can’t talk to him how Deacon has a really great shot and would make a great competition shooter one day. There’s so many little things that I wish I could tell him. The void in my heart is strong.

Maybe telling my dad that he was depressed and needed help wasn’t a good thing. Maybe to him it felt like his physical pains were disregarded. Maybe he felt that we thought he was crazy. It hurts that I truly tried my best to keep him here, but he didnt stay. He always called me when he got results from the doctors, good and bad. He said, ‘Your dear old dad will be around a little longer’, when he got his cancer free results. ‘Well, the doctor said there’s nothing that he can do to help my symptoms’, he said, with the feeling of defeat. He depended on me to talk to him and share his ups and downs. Did I let him down? Did I say the wrong things? Should I have visited him right away, after that call of defeat?

It’s hard to share my vulnerabilities with the world. I feel like I fall short most of the time. But I think it’s good to share that we aren’t perfect, we are all human, and it’s ok to fall down.

I am still in shock that my dad took his life and is truly gone. It’s such a surreal feeling sometimes.

Hang in there friends. Life is tough. But we all need to pick ourselves up and STAY.



It’s been awhile

adult background beach blue

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

It’s been awhile, since I’ve written anything. 7 months to be exact. In that time, we celebrated kids’ birthdays, had our 7th and last baby in May, been busy with doctors appointments, and the events with summer. Life moves on.

After a loss life might seem like it sits still, but is moving on for others. It’s like sitting still while the world spins. I remember what that was like after my dad passed away. I was frozen in time and it was hard to move on, physically and emotionally. Time does eventually move on and it won’t feel frozen forever. There’s always hope. Even if its a sliver of it.

There’s been grief for friends of mine recently. Tragic losses. It’s so hard to see my friends go through the grief of it all, knowing what it feels like. If I could, I would take that grief away. But I can’t.

Recently, I was able to listen to a devotional talk by an authority in my church, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. He explained that we will have hardships in our life, tragic ones. He tells us that God loves broken things. He related it to wheat. We need broken wheat to make bread. It takes broken clouds to nourish the earth. He wants to heal our broken hearts. We need to trust, believe and perservere. How are we going to learn anything if we lived a perfect life? Whatever you believe in, believe in hope. There is hope, help, and healing if you open your heart to it.

My mission of this blog was to help others going through what I endured. Hoping to make the sting a bit easier to work through. In turn, I learned alot about myself. It’s very theraputic to write about our struggles, and our triumphs.

I have felt at peace about my dad for awhile now. I love him and miss him so much. I still wish he was here. I really miss our talks. It was strange not being able to talk to him after I had my son. But I knew he was there.

Last night I had a dream about my dad. I was sitting together with family at the dinner table, and he appeared in the empty seat across from me. His presense was so strong. The presense was ‘heavy’ or ‘solid’ if that makes any sense. It truly felt that he was sitting across the table from me, in his Earthly body. He was wearing his typical flannal shirt, and was chewing on a toothpick like he used to do. He was smiling and laughing. He let me know that he is here with all of us, like a puppy that follows its mom, never being far from our side. And from time to time he will communicate with us when we really need it. But that we should be comforted to know that he won’t ever leave our sides, even if we don’t feel his presense.

I miss him so much! Some days I still can’t believe he ended his life the way he did. It gives me comfort though, knowing he is watching over us. I know that I will see him again.

If you are grieving and its becoming tough, don’t give up. Have hope. There is always hope. I promise it will get better.





dad oregon coast

Peace. That’s what one hopes to find, through their grief journey and recovery.

The first weeks and months after my dad’s passing was an emotional roller coaster. I just kept telling myself that I will need to find peace. That peace will come. But I don’t think I truly believed that, at the time. How am I going to find peace with this situation I have been put in? My father killed himself (still hard words to type). I suffered a tragic miscarriage 4 months after my dad’s passing. How in the world can I find peace in these tragic events?

I would read that quote, ‘time heals all wounds’ during my grief journey. I thought that was bullcrap. I am still going to have these deep wounds and life will still be hard. But you know what? Time has actually helped. I started to realize maybe that quote does have some truth to it.

I have made it through the first year from my dad’s passing. That first year is supposed to be the hardest. Oh how it was! So many emotions, so many mornings I had no motivation to get out of bed, and so many questions.

I think I have now found some of that chunk of peace that I’ve read and heard about. I know my dad is safe, happy, and most importantly, at peace. He is patiently building his camp, gathering a soothing campfire, waiting for us to join him. He is reunited with his beloved mother, stepfather, and sister that he lost so many years ago. He is free of pain, depression, and worldly worries. I know this with all my heart, and that brings me peace.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will still have days that I question why this has happened, why did he do this. I still have a wound. I still think about my dad all the time. I still think about how my mom is left alone to navigate this world without her husband. But now that I have that sense of peace, it makes managing these wounds easier.

A year ago I posted on facebook about a card that my friend sent me: “My friend sent me a card last week and it started out with ‘Not sure what the divine plan is in all of this, and maybe it’s not for us to know’. Those words were very comforting to me. We just need to have faith in God’s plan. It’s not easy some days, but I do know God has a plan for all of us, even with tragic events in our lives, but he loves each and every one of us.” This is still true! God has a plan, and our lives are already mapped out for us. He does not give us these tragic events in our lives to be vindictive or hurtful. He gives us these trials so that we can learn about ourselves and to help others. Isn’t this life all about trying to get through it the best we know how, while helping others along the way?

Those that have recent wounds, that are grieving from losing a loved one, who just doesn’t feel like peace will come…. I am here to give you hope. I am a living example of this. PEACE WILL COME. There is not a timeline for it. It may come in months or years. But don’t lose faith! Just keep riding that roller coaster of life, trying your best. Soon enough you will find that peace that your heart has been searching for.




Christmas Eve Thoughts


Life is so uncertain. Those quotes that say, ‘Tomorrow is not given, so cherish those today’, are so true.

Death has always scared me, since I was a child. I always worried something would happen to my family. Now that my dad passed so suddenly, I worry even more about my children, husband, and family. Truth be told, some days I don’t want to go anywhere so there’s no risk of something happening. Other days I watch my children like a hawk.

Why are some lives taken so early from us? My friend lost her sweet baby boy a couple days ago. I have so much grief over this, and sorrow for that sweet family. I know what its like to lose someone you love, your family, so suddenly. I feel so much for her and her family. It’s so tough, especially this time of year.

This I know, God has a plan. Whatever anger you might have for God, with the events that happen in our lives, there is a plan, and he loves us dearly. He feels the sorrow we feel. He weeps with us. There is hope, however meager that feels some days.

Today marks one year since I have talked with my dad. He called me on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. I remember where I sat and the feelings I had about our conversation. The doctor had called him back, telling him what he could do about night sweats and other symptoms. My dad lost hope. I could hear it in his voice. Anything I said to cheer him up, things he could do to get through his days, or telling him how sorry I am that he’s dealing with this, didn’t help relieve that lost hope. I know I did and said the best I could. He ended the call telling me to have a Merry Christmas and that he loved me. Those were the last words that I heard from him.

Oh how I miss him. I grieve for those that have lost loved ones. This time of year is tough. I know this, and I am here with you. You are not alone. Hang in there. Enjoy the times with friends and family here on this Earth. Remember the happy times with the loved ones lost. They ARE with us and love us so much.



One Year Anniversery (on the 27th)

person standing near lake

Photo by Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.com

This is one anniversery I do not want to celebrate. There’s no celebration marking my dad’s death.

My family and I have been through so much this year. We made it through that first awful week, after my dad passed. We planned 2 funerals. We moved my mom into a new place, a new life. We have experienced our ‘firsts’ without my dad. Through all this, we survived. I am so very proud of us all.

This Christmas Eve will mark one year since I have talked to my dad. Just so crazy to think about that. He called to tell me the doctor couldn’t do anything for him. He just lost all hope. He probabaly felt that his concerns were not validated. That his symptoms would go away if he would just hold out.

We don’t know what goes on in the minds of others. My dad’s friends were all in shock, including a friend that talked to him the day after Christmas, the night my dad ended his life. His friend had no idea that he was struggling. My mom, sister, and I knew he was struggling with his symptoms, but had no idea how much he was struggling mentally.

What can we do? Just love one another, including ourselves. Validate others feelings and concerns. Listen. Pray for how we can help others.