There really are some amazing blessings that come from the worst parts of life…grief in particular opens doors to the spirit that would otherwise remain unexplored.
I would never say a loss of any kind is easy, but if we can tap into these unknown emotions and see that negative things can help in positive ways…there is NO stopping the legacy. And truly LEGACY is all that remains for any of us.
The truth is all I want is my daughter to know that she will be just fine one day without me. I want her to continue to thrive as an individual in all circumstances and so I am paving the path daily as I live my fathers legacy with grace, grit and definitely a lil but of humor.
Death is not talked about in American culture in positive ways, if it is discussed at all…we focus on grief and make it taboo or hide it from our kids…it is not often introduced as an inevitable and for this reason most people cope poorly. I for one find it SO fucked up.
I experienced my first death at age 9…one of my best friends and classmates died of cancer. My parents bought me a kitten we named it Jayanne in memory of my friend…I think they were hoping it would distract me and mask the loss?!?
I wrote a song about her and performed it at school that year in her honor…it was cathartic and a celebration…that felt better.
In 2005, my first Love was killed in Iraq. I found out on the 10pm news…was catatonic for several weeks and hospitalized for severe depression. I later came to terms with this loss with yoga, writing and the realization that he actually lived Bigger and Better in 26 years than most elderly people I know.
One of the things I’ve learned suffering 3 large losses in life is that it can be a gift to the living if we are open to use it to heal ourselves, if we discuss it, feel what is necessary and grow our own short destiny in their honor.
The loss of my father nearly 2 years ago now hit me hard and in 3 different ways but…each was an equally gorgeous part of his legacy and mine. I’d like to share these stories without preaching or judgement. I understand grief also to be personal and each of us has a right to sit with it as long as we choose in anyway we choose. My hope is that if you are suffering in anyway this affords you some space to create your own dreamy legacy path, invites you to view death with less drama and grief or at least makes you smile and remember that remembering is enough.
1st-I lost my daddy…the toughest guy that I ever knew in April 2016 he was 57 years young. The one who always rescued me from all my missteps and troubles with little or no judgement and open loving arms. The man who taught me to change tires, fry turkeys, be truly free thinking and to live out loud just to name a few things was taken from us all too soon. The beautiful thing is that he still teaching me, and inspiring me in ways he probably could not if he was still in his earthly form. I face fears with ease now knowing I am built from that tough legacy. I spare no joys; as I feel time slipping quicker now and I am SO brashly Authentic in ways I’d of never let shine through before losing him. An example this post…
2nd- I lost a mentor and a partner in my work. My dad was always assisting me with events…he did everything from Sous Chef work (every Thanksgiving) to Decorating chocolate tables at my annual holiday events (“all about taste testing”, he’d say) The moment I realized he was going to die I remember I felt a new kind of fear. I felt for the 1st time OLD and grown up in all those negative ways one sometimes can. I had no way of knowing in those last few months how beautifully he’d continue to show up to guide me, he worked all the mentioned above on chemo and wrote a children’s book during radiation. I had the privilege to illustrate. Now so much of what I decide for my business is based on how I saw him conduct himself in his weakest hours he was strong beyond measure.
3rd- And probably the most emotional way it effected me was the fact that for 2 years I was his primary caretaker while he fought cancer, insurance companies and himself…and when that job ended I felt beyond useless in a most uncomfortable way. I remember thinking how huge I’d failed at balancing work, mothering and this task of being dads nurse…how SLOW life got-shook me like never before to my core. I was always moving…always busy…so in a strangely beautiful way I had purpose caring for my dad and was not thinking as much about the path we were on while we were running from radiation to chemo to________…when all that stopped…All I was left with was how bad I felt that he could not be saved. They say we hurt because we have SO much love and no one to gift it to anymore. It’s true pain is inevitable BUT I’m here to remind you suffering is SO optional. And my dad would never want me suffering!
The one year anniversary of daddy’s death came and went in April 2017 and I so wanted to share the story of all his regrets he’d shared in doctors waiting rooms, during chemo and car rides to radiation…but WHY? Why focus on more grief…I couldn’t do it…it was not my regrets. My obligation, my duty, my want was to LIVE bigger in his honor. Create a legacy…tell stories about every cool thing he ever did to my daughter so he’d live infinitely in our hearts.
So I did just that! I was grateful for my life, family, everything-even for work like never before. Noting “I feel SO inspired!” Inspired to carry on a Gatti legacy. Inspired by my team and their personal dedication to building beautiful Newsletters, creating delicious nutritious food, designing marketing materials and recipe cards that feel like art, and giving Divine customer service. Inspired by the drive and dedication my Clients have to eating for optimal balance and health. Inspired by my siblings for fulfilling big dreams and living his legacy too.
Hell Yes, I miss my daddy, I will always carry his love, but I can gift it to myself now…it has a place. We talk more then ever now, he guides me in my toughest moments, my creative endeavors and inspires my widest adventures. I believe he always will.
So let’s talk about death more, invite grief in to our hearts in new ways and smile at the idea that life is to be lived and No one is getting out alive.
Wishing you peace in times of grief.