The Joy of Overcoming – A Decade in Retrospect (Part 1)

A laptop with coffee sitting on a wooden table.

I began to write this blog entry, November 28, 2019, Thanksgiving Day, to be exact and exactly 33 days before a New Year of a new decade. It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed already and, like so many others, I am looking back on the last decade and my place in it.

Ten years ago I had a new baby in tow and was still nurturing wounds fresh from loss and tragedy. The death of my grandmother and biological father preceded the loss of my apartment to a kitchen fire, which all happened a few short months after I had to close my Flower Shop business because of the recession. All of this was hard enough to deal with, but to also witness the death of my soon-to-be step-daughter and the breakdown of my family that followed, was more than unbearable. The weight of it all was insurmountable. 

After the loss… my world was grey.

Image of a woman from behind looking down against a grey backgroundAfter the loss…my world was grey. I literally saw everything with a grey cast.  Even on the brightest sunny day, I could no longer see blue skies. As I reflect back, I recall I spent the first few years of this decade in recovery mode. I have often said the first two years of mourning I was “asleep”. It felt like the movie ”Click” where Adam Sandler’s character finds a special remote control device that allows him to fast forward past the parts of his life he didn’t like. Only he wakes up to find he sleep-walked his way through all the important parts. That’s how I was living.

I still had other children to raise and a newborn baby to care for and care for her I did. I watched her like a hawk, keeping a very close eye on her to make sure she was breathing. I was so afraid of yet another loss in my life. Luckily she survived, so did the rest of us. I credit my faith in the Lord for making it through those extremely trying times. If it wasn’t for my faith, I don’t think I would have made it.

There were lucid moments of “true” living though. My other daughters always offered plenty of moments of love and laughter, in spite of the fact that they were in mourning, too. There were also times when I was able to take part in things I loved to do. Moments like when I performed and featured at a poetry event, or the time I participated as a model for a Photo Calendar. It was during those times I felt glimmers of hope for the future.

 

 

Image of Aida from calendar shoot


There were lucid moments of “true” living though. My other daughters always offered plenty of moments of love and laughter, in spite of the fact that they were in mourning, too. There were also times when I was able to take part in things I loved to do. Moments like when I performed and featured at a poetry event, or the time I participated as a model for a Photo Calendar. It was during those times I felt glimmers of hope for the future.

 

 

By the time my youngest daughter was 2 years old, I was ready to go back to regular work. I spent her first two years working from home as a telephone solicitor. My job? Ask homeowners to donate housewares and clothing to a local charity. It was great in the beginning, but after two years, I was ready for change and a bigger paycheck. 

My first job back into the world of working was a dream job. It paid much more than I had made before and I was doing something I love to do – video consulting women on beauty and fashion for a major national brand. They even sent me and another teammate to New York city to have professional videos done. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. It lasted a little over a year before the department closed down.

An advertisement featuring Aida as a beauty Professional

I went from a job I loved to a job I would come to hate.  I spent the next two years as a Customer Service Rep for the same company, except this time I was working on the phones. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE customer service, but doing it on the phone sitting down all day was not for me! The strict rules and unfriendly work environment, as well as, listening to people get so angry over trivial things, added to my discomfort. The combination of these things made life overwhelming and stressful. I fought anxiety on a daily basis. Then one day I had an anxiety attack that was so intense I thought I was going to lose my life at my desk. It was the day I knew it was time to leave. And leave, I did.

I spent the following years working at the type of work I love to do and have spent so many years doing – I went back to being a florist. The difference this time was that during my time in Customer Service I rekindled my love of art and my entrepreneurial spirit. I was ready to try, again. This time I had a willing business partner, too. It seemed like nothing could stop me. 

I was wrong.

We started out our venture excited and eager! My business partner and I met at work and became great friends. She and I shared similar interests and we were both very passionate about helping people.  We were ready to tackle whatever was coming our way. We even tackled our biggest challenge together – the 4-day OneSpark Festival. We both worked our regular jobs and took turns working in the tent. We came in at the top 6% for our category, which meant we won some money. It wasn’t a lot, but it was enough to recoup what we had spent preparing for the festival and to validate our belief that I had a viable business model. We were ready and raring to go, but fate had other ideas. 

Before we could get off the ground we found out two of our parents were seriously ill. Her dad’s cancer returned and my mom found out she had cancer that was so bad it would require immediate surgery or she could die. We both made the choice to put down what we were doing and focus on our parents.

I went to live with my mom for two years as her full-time caretaker so she could properly recover from her surgery and have support during her treatment. Unfortunately, my business partner and friend lost her father in the interim. We decided that in light of all that happened it was best to close our beloved business. 

Chalkboard Image says - Never a Failure always a lesson

That was less than two years ago.  My mom is still fighting the good fight and even though I’m no longer her full-time caretaker, I’m with her often. I run errands for her, and we spend time together, sometimes laughing, sometimes reminiscing, sometimes shopping from those crazy TV channels we know we have no business watching – you know the ones  – they have all the best deals on the stuff you didn’t know you needed or wanted, even. Yes – those! And our wardrobes have grown substantially as proof! (haha)

(Part 2: https://wp.me/p9YaJa-ul )