Wednesday, September 23, 2009

peeling off a layer of myself....

For the past few months, since I really started posting regularly, I have wanted to keep things light, simple and fun - a sort of playground for myself and things that I adore. Not sure how much of myself I really wanted to expose to the world, but I have been so inspired by all of the blogs that I read daily of women of all ages that are going thru all sorts of different life experiences - good, bad, happy & sad. So I thought that I would share a little bit of a time in my life or shall I say the day that forever changed my life. I have to warn you that it is a sad story, and by no means do I want anyone to feel sorry for me. It has taught me that life is precious and that we should enjoy every moment as it were our last. I am peeling off a little layer of myself to share with you, as a thank you for inspiring me. So here goes:
It has been 3 1/2 years, since my life was turned upside down by tragedy. If someone would have told me a week or so before that my dad would die tragically and I would not only be ok, but actually thrive due to it – I would not have believed them. To this day it is hard for my brain to understand the reality of what happened, but my heart has grown in spite and because of this experience.

I had just talked to my dad two days before his death, and he was planning a trip out to visit me with his sisters and brother and was excited to see where I lived and what my life was like. A few years before, I had moved to a different part of the state as I had been in a long distance relationship and we wanted to make it a permanent one. My dad and I had a short, but very nice conversation – and I always ended our talks by saying “I love you, dad “but this time I only said “see you in a few days.” Those unspoken words have haunted me ever since, but I know that he knew he was loved by me.

It was on a Friday evening, I had just gotten home from work when my cell phone rang. It was my brother – and I found it odd, as I very rarely talk to my brother, but I answered it. He was very calm and said to me in a very soft voice, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but Dad is gone” – my heart sunk at that moment, but I was at peace as I had been thinking about this exact same thing just a few days before. You see, my daughter’s friend had just lost her father, yet he was in his early 50’s and had been suffering from Leukemia and she was just 15 years old. I knew that eventually I would be dealing with the same issue as this amazing young woman was and I only hoped that I could deal with it as graceful as she was.

However, when the words came thru the phone from my brother that said “Dad was shot, he was murdered” I wasn’t prepared for that at all. My body shook and collapsed to the ground and I was gasping for air while crying hysterically. “Who would do this, who would kill my dad?” My brother and I were united in the devastation of this news and as we were grasping for answers at the moment, there just weren’t any. The police couldn’t tell us right away.
For the rest of the evening, I paced back and forth – I called my boyfriend who was at work, and he came home to be with me, to calm me and make sure I would be ok. We were both unprepared to deal with a situation like this, no one ever is- but I felt at that moment, like I was in one of those Lifetime Channel movies or some bad dream, and I just wanted to wake up. I called a few of my friends and they were equally devastated for me, as they knew how much my dad meant to me - their support got me thru the next few days and weeks and I am so thankful for that. I was frantically searching the internet for any news regarding the murder. My dad lived in Florida and there had been a few killings in his area in the last few weeks, and they both had been on a Friday. They were calling these the Friday Night Killings and the suspect was at large.

The next morning we learned that the suspect was in custody and had admitted to the killing, and was the Friday Night Serial Killer. My dad’s personal belongings had been found in his car and the police were immediately tracking the killer thru my dad’s credit card activity. Within two hours of my dad’s murder – the suspect was in custody. That was a definite god send, as we now had some answers and could try to move forward from that point.

As a way of trying to find meaning in this, I immediately said to my brother and sister that Dad had lived a wonderful life until then and I wanted to remember him like that. Although we are never going to forget how he died, I didn’t want it to overshadow the wonderful life that he led. As I tried to describe how I felt to my boyfriend and friends, all I could say was I feel like my heart had shattered into a million pieces. We’ve all heard that saying, “she’s heartbroken, he’s heartbroken” but to actually have that feeling in your heart is an indescribable pain, that truly never goes away. My heart was broken, how would I ever survive this?


Tracy said...

You are an amazing woman. XXOO

Simone said...

Oh my goodness Cathi.....I am just speechless.

I can't even imagine how you got through this terrible terrible must have amazing strength.

Thank you so much for sharing are a special person.

Simone xoxo

PS I read your response to Mimi Charmante's midlife crisis post and really liked what you have a really good way with words.

Red Boots said...

I agree with Tracy, you are an amazing special woman, and I admire your strength, courage and composure in dealing with a devastating tragedy. It must have been difficult sharing this, and for this I really respect you. x

Michelle said...

My heart goes out to you Cathi. Although I am sure it was hard to write this post, thank you so much for sharing it.

You are an amazing woman and I feel so lucky to have re-connected with you :-)


Gigi said...

Dear, dear Cathi,
I am so terribly sorry that you lost your father, and the way you lost him is almost unbearable to even imagine. What a strong and inspiring woman you are.

Thanks you for "peeling off this layer." It can't have been easy. My warmest thoughts are with you.

Gigi xoxo

A.Love said...

I just found your blog through Wildflowers.
Your exposure, your very personal moment and sharing it have blown me away. My stomach actually hurts because I just canNOT fathom. I can't.
What strength and courage. I wish I had an answer to your question....

Simply Colette said...


Thank you for sharing your story. I'm so sorry you had to lose a parent in such an unjust way. I know how you feel about the 'i love you' on the phone. I'm so superstitous about it. I hate turning on the news here in FL, there is always some crazy killings for no reason. I lived across the street from the mall kidnappings/murder and work hear there.

I'm glad you have blogging and writing to help make things a little brighter. Your blog is refreshing, but it's nice to see the person from behind too. :)

Kasey said...

just found your blog...
love it.

Olivia Rae said...

oh my god, i honestly cannot imagine. you're so amazing for dealing with it so gracefully, and being so brave to talk about it. i so admire you and am deeply deeply sorry for your loss.

Anne @ The City Sage said...

Cathi--thanks so much for stopping by my blog today and for sharing this story with us. I can only imagine how heartwrenching it would be to lose a loved one this way. Your strength is inspiring.

the NEO-traditionalist said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. You are such a strong woman to have gone through all this and emerged unshattered. Thank you for being such an inspiration.
XX Kate

Cathi said...

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE - your comments were very much appreciated and wonderful...!! You never know your strength until it's tested, believe me. My dad was a very positive person and he would want us to go on with our lives and enjoy them - so by doing so, we are honoring his life. From the moment this awful thing happened, I made a choice to have the best outlook and attitude I could have, given the devastating circumstances. Enjoy life everyone, and once again Thank you!

Lori said...

Oh Cathi ~ I can't believe what you have gone through. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are indeed a very strong woman to come away from this tragedy stronger and not beaten down. xo

Tracey said...

How absolutely devastating and terrible! I'm sure it was hard for you to tell this story and share something so personal, so thank you. My husband just lost his father a few weeks ago and it is never an easy thing to have a parent die, especially in such a violent, senseless way...


Behind These Blue Eyes said...

i love you mom!

Cathi said...

LORI & TRACEY - thank you for you wonderful words, I appreciate them more than you will ever know.


paige said...

oh my....what is there to say.
i am so so sorry for your loss.
i am so so sorry for such a horrific tragic loss.
you are strong & you are obviously taking one breath at a time, which is just truly all you can do sometimes.
blessings to you
i'm glad i met you today

Cathi said...

PAIGE - thank you for your kind words.....i'm glad i met you too!


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