"Where does your strength come from? What motivates you to get through the hard times, to keep on smiling, to confront your fears, just to wake up every morning and face the day?"
It feels like I am constantly being asked these questions. Whether they are talking about the miscarriages or losing my dad or dealing with it at the same time, my answer is always the same: How can you not? What is my other option really? You face each day because you have to, life goes on whether you're ready for it to or not. That is just the way it is. Of course, I suppose that not everyone choses to do so with a smile on their face or with a positive outlook but I can't imagine doing it any other way.
So where does my strength come from? Why still smiling? I don't have a short, simple answer so bear with me as I dig deep here...
He is my voice of reason and encouragement. When I'm not sure what to do (dealing my "aunt", work, how to help my brother, etc.) I try to imagine what my dad would say to me. When I do this, it's like a beacon of light shinning on the right thing to do and I often wonder how I missed it to begin with.
When it comes to anything physical, he has always been where I have gone to for encouragement. Through every sport I've tried (and there have been many) he was always there to cheer me on and help me improve. That hasn't changed just because he's gone. I decided to take up running, at first just to stay in shape but it quickly led to something more. I had never in more than a mile in my life but decided to sign myself up for a half marathon. Getting past that first mile was tough and I wanted to quit already but as I ran I swear I could hear my dad cheering me on. And when I crossed that finish line, having run all 13.1 miles, I could feel his pride in me.
His memory drives me to do things I never even imagined for myself. I smile every single day because I know he is watching down on me and would hate to see me hurting. Kind of ironic how my biggest pillar of strength is also the one that causes most of my weakness, don't you think? Which brings me to my next pillar of strength...
I have never met a stronger young man. I could go on for days about the amazing person he is and is becoming. Sometimes I gather strength by seeing his. Other times I gather strength to give to him. I want to show him that you can be strong and cry at the same time. I want him to know that it's ok to laugh and to smile when we talk about our dad. I want him to be ok, I want him to be more than ok. I want to show him that the good times outweigh the bad and to know that even though bad things happen, we survive. I want him to be able to lean on me when he feels like things are falling apart and I want show him the happiness in everything. I want to be an example for him and that means facing my fears and facing the days ahead.
Much like my dad, his strength gives me strength. Knowing that I have him on my side no matter what life decides to throw at me makes me feel invincible. I never have to face anything alone. He lends me his strength when I have forgotten how to gather my own and pushes me forward when I feel like there is nothing to push for. His love gives me a reason to wake up every morning.
Strength is a funny thing. Even writing about it brings tears. I strongly encourage everyone to think about what gives them their strength and I ask you all to keep a smile on your face because you never know who might be drawing strength from you.