“Comma Moments”- When Life Forces You To Pause

Breathe in. Breathe out.

I can’t even recall how many times I’ve had to be reminded to do just that in the last few months. It’s still a daily, sometimes hourly affirmation I speak to myself.

We all have “comma moments” where life changing events cause us to pause our everyday life. I’ve had more of them than I care to share over the past few years but each one has given me incredible insight and allowed me to grow.

On July 20th, life dealt me the most painful pause to date. My daddy suffered a massive stroke, damaging 70% of the right side of his brain. His speech, memory, and smart assery (aka, fluent sarcasm), were unaffected but the left side of his body was left completely paralyzed. The prognosis was grim but he fought. Daddy's Hands- Facing "Comma Moments" in LifeHe did so with the same bold tenacity he’d always employed. You see, my daddy was a proud DIY’er who never quit or gave up on anything! As a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to crawl under the hood of his truck and help him work. He’d call out for a tool and I’d hand it over like a nurse in an operating room. We’d spend hours at a time under there and even if he didn’t know what was wrong, he always figured it out. I never saw him give up. He may get pissed and string together a long sentence of cuss words {which he made sound like poetry} but he never gave up. He did the same thing from that hospital bed.

Keep Reaching! Facing "Comma Moments" in Life 2015-08-03 15.09.33Not only did he win battles they said he’d never win, like moving his left toes, he won over the hearts of his nurses, cleaning staff and even the brute neurosurgeon who didn’t find daddy’s sarcasm entertaining at all. His taste in music {which we played for him constantly} was appreciated by everyone and made our ICU room THE room people wanted to take their time in. He also spoke more love than I’d ever heard him speak during his fight. Even when he couldn’t speak, he’d squeeze our hand in response to an “I love you”.

Those once strong hands held on for almost a month before he peacefully let go. Saying goodbye was the most intense, gut wrenching thing I’ve ever experienced but there was also an overwhelming spirit of peace as he drew his last breath. His life was hard, filled with trials, abuse and addiction but in his last days he was showered with love and care. I know in my heart, he felt it. Seeing him at peace for the first time in my life brought comfort to my shattered heart.

I didn’t work at all the month daddy was fighting and the roller coaster of emotions since he passed has made it very difficult to get anything accomplished. The world has continued to turn at what seems like warp speed and although I’m back to work now, I still feel like I’m moving in slow motion. It may take a while but I will get back in the swing of things. I’ll be back to blogging, creating video tutorials and sharing my passion with you all soon and I’ll do it all with the help of his spirit and guidance. After all, he taught me everything I know (boy, how he loved to remind me of that)! Until I do, keep sending those good vibes this way! They are felt and appreciated more than you know!

The insight, the growth, the takeaway from my most painful “comma moment” to date…

Family is everything and the bond of a sister is like no other.

We’re never left alone in our struggles. From the clerk in the hospital gift shop to painting friends I’ve never met, unexpected support always showed up.

My boys are amazing, competent little men and they make me proud.

Grief has no concept of time and visits everyone in a different way.

Attitude is everything.

Finding the positive is imperative.

Breathing in and out is sometimes the only option.

Life, though everlasting in spirit, is a mere vapor in this physical world. It’s meant to be lived with purpose and to the widest! In honor of the most giving, handsome, smart ass man I’ve never known, I will do just that! Facing "Comma Moments" in LifeHis heart beats on through through his children and grandchildren and now serves as a constant reminder to me and my siblings to make the most of each beat. Taken from his last EKG…

Heart Beat Tattoo Designed using EKGIf you can still call your daddy, do it. We aren’t promised one more beat, friends. If you can only speak to him in spirit, do it. If you are going thru a “comma moment”, keep the faith. Ask for the learning opportunities to be revealed to you. Allow yourself to feel every emotion. Be nice to yourself and when need be, just pause … breathe in and breathe out.

Much love! I could never thank you enough for your sweet support!




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  1. You are so right, every person grieves differently… for myself it’s been a long road. My Daddy passed January 2014 and Mom passed July 2014, 6 months later. The breathing in and out is something I still have to tell myself, that grief heavily sits on my chest some days. I feel I am just starting to touch the ground again with my toes… like some sort of thick soupy fog is finally starting to clear, little by little. You are so right… attitude, gratitude and those cherished memories. One thing I have learned going forward without my beautiful parents… the world is forever changed and I search for them in everything, looking for them and finding them comforts me. Thank-you so very much for sharing your beautiful words, they touched my heart and your tribute, your tattoo left me with tears, it’s beyond beautiful! <3 xo

    • Awe. I can’t even imagine the loss, Laurie. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and kind words with me. You are so right…I find daddy in the most unexpected things. I smelled a man in the grocery store the other day and just lost it. He smelled just like my daddy- aftershave and cigarettes. I wanted to follow him around but my tears stopped me in my tracks. I pray your heart continues to find your parents and the comfort they bring. Much love, friend! <3<3<3

  2. As always, you have a way of sharing the deepest and most intimate aspects of life with grace and beauty.

    Writing this tribute must have been joy-filled-pain. Reading it touched the place in my heart that never knew a father.

    Thank you for your generosity of spirit even in the midst of the toughest tests that life has to offer. Sending my gratitude and admiration for your Father, your Family, and You.

    • Oh, Tracy your words move me to tears again. Joy filled pain is a perfect description. It literally took me all day to finish the post. The wounds are still so fresh. At times it feels like we were just cheering him on during physical therapy but as I typed those words yesterday, it felt like forever since I last touched his face. My heart goes out to you as well. I’m honored that my daddy touched you. Thank you for sharing your heart and your kind words. Xo

  3. Hope Williams says:

    Oh Angela, I’m so very sorry for your loss. You are right, pause is so important. Feel it, breathe it, exhale it, lose it, scream it, do what your emotions need doing at the pause moment. It is part of the growing experience of learning to live without that person physically there.
    Life is a daily struggle in so many ways. Life is short and fleeting. But I do promise that when you find your new normal, your daddy will be there, in everything you do. For being his student, you are his prodigy. And in those times, his spirit will shine it’s brightest through you.
    I pray you enough for today.
    Blessings of love & life, Hope

    • Yes!!! I find him in the most ordinary ways, Hope and it always comforts me! I’m so thankful for his guidance thru the years. I wish I would have thanked him more while he was here. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It means so much to me and my family! Lots of love!

  4. Linda Weeks says:

    My sympathies to you and yours… I love the tatt! Daddies are very special people, especially to girls…. I know he must have loved you and your family very much… since you are so loveable.
    Keep on breathin’ – hugs from here..

    • Thank you so much, Linda. The tattoos mean so much to all three of us. I love to tell admirers what it is. You would be right, btw! He loved his family more than anything and always put us first. In fact, he loved everybody like that. His selfless giving actually caused much pain in his life as people often took advantage of his giving heart. His soft heart is just one of the traits I’m thankful he passed to me! xoxo

  5. Oh Angela, my deepest sympathies to you and your family. I know it’s difficult to share such a personal life altering experience. Your post has truly touched my heart as my sister and I are caring for our 82 yr old Dad. You’ve not only generously shared the love for your Dad, but have also inspired all of us to reflect and appreciate. Sending blessings and hugs. ~ Denise xo

    • Aww, Denise. I’m sending you and your sister lots of positive energy and love. I’m so glad to hear you have a sister to share this time with. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it thru without mine. The love you two share for your dad will not only aid you in caring for him but will provide the most incredible support when the time comes to say goodbye. I pray you share many more years with him and that each moment is sweet. All my love! XO

  6. Denise Potter says:

    Thank you for posting this, actually the title caught my attention since that is exactly where I am today. My mother is in the last stages of Alzheimer’s and it is an emotional roller coaster for all of us. We think she is ready to go by the physical signs and then she will rally a little and be more stable. We are nine years into the disease, my father passed away shortly before she was diagnosed. Your post was beautiful and contains so much wisdom.

    • Denise, my heart is with you! I don’t think anything could possible prepare us to let go. I pray each moment you have left with your mother is cherished and remains with you forever. Thank you for sharing your moment with me and for your kind words. All my love, sweetie.

  7. You brought me to tears. It is so true daddy’s are so important to their daughters! Mine 83 lives with us. He has a huge heart and a comment for everyone. Even though he has dementia he is fast with the comments (no filter). Last week he was at my brothers and I missed him so much. Mom left us with him when we were young. He was mom and dad. He gave up so much for us three kids his whole live. Now it is my turn to care for him. I am honored to do so. I have so much love and respect for him. I feel your love and your pain. You are in my prayers. Hold on to the peace and fond memories. They are priceless. He would want you to be happy and always smile. That is how you honor him! Thanks for the post it touched me more than you know.

    • Thank you for sharing, Jean! Sounds like your daddy entertains you just as much as mine did me! Some of the things my dad said were absolutely cringe worthy but that’s just who he was. I counted every ounce of care I provided as a privilege! It’s so nice to hear you say how honored you are to so the same. My heart is with you and has been blessed by your kindness! Thank you!

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