I remember Coming to this country I was only 4 years old, and what I remember is 2 amazing parents making a game plan to work their asses off and give their kids a good life, no matter how unsure the future seemed. I was a daddy’s girl; and he had the American dream on a Scarface level. My bond with him was special, and he taught me how you gotta hustle to make it in this country but it is possible to make it.
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a workaholic My first job was at 11 years old, and I havn’t stopped since.
My parents didn’t mind as long as it never interfered with school. So that’s what I did. I went to school, helped my parents, and went to work at a bagel shop. This continued my entire adolescent life. While a lot of people my age were going to the mall or hanging out with their friends, I was at work after school and sometimes even before school by 5am.
I did well in school. Never struggled in that aspect. Everything was going great. My work experience varied from food service to waitressing to a medical office receptionist etc. I was always busy with something this was how I was wired. I had graduated high school early not to waste time and had gone to college earlier. I got married and got into a nursing program and had my first baby all by 23. I was in the fast lane making all these plans for my future when life decided to pay me a visit.
My best friend, my big teddy bear, my dad had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He was 57. To make matters worse, we got so freaked out we had my mom get checked out and low and behold. Stage 3. I remember feeling this hole burning in my stomach as the doctors spoke to me hearing my own heartbeat in my ears and nothing I did made it go away. I was in the twilight zone and I couldn’t wake up. My siblings and I were frantic. We did everything to be by their side and try to save them. I was in my final semester at school and my first child was only 1. For a year and a half, I watched my father be eaten alive by this disease. I watched my mom bury her young husband while undergoing her own chemotherapy. I felt myself slipping away from this world. I worked as a nurse and although I once loved it I was so unhappy being surrounded by death and sickness, nothing made sense anymore.
Every oncology patient I had brought me back to that place. Every smile my son gave me I couldn’t return. None of my “friends” who mattered were there, every night my head hit that pillow I cried myself to sleep, sitting alone with my irrational anger towards God and towards this cruel world. I felt like my entire world stopped , but everyone else was speeding by, business as usual. To say I was depressed, is a vast understatement. I was so so angry. It was just so unfair. My parents JUST bought their first home. They just took their first breath of “we are finally home owners in America” but Hashem had different plans.
For the first time in my life, I was forced to take a hard stop and actually face what I was dealing with and how I was handling it.
Therapy led to healing and time helped me cope. At some point you come to a realization you have to stand up and keep going and really just let go of the anger. Because this is a part of life. We have to know what pain and suffering is to feel the extent of joy and love we are blessed to experience as well. Where there is darkness, there is also light.
Every single thing I went through during that hard period of my life made me exactly who I am today. I got back on my feet with a strength and a purpose I did not even know I could possess.
I no longer kept thinking “what could have been” and started thinking “how blessed am I to have been his daughter in this lifetime”. Nothing that has happened has happened in vain, because his American dream lives with me. I left the hospital and started over in a less stressfull setting. I had 2 more kids and found my dream job. I started a comedy page and am launching my own podcast next month. I changed my mindset and lost 45 pounds. Most importantly, I stopped hanging out with non genuine people and changed my environment entirely, putting my focus on my marriage and my children.
I started treating my life like the gift it truly is. I enjoy every moment I can! I love laughing and making others laugh, and I enjoy thinking about the beautiful memories I’ve been left with. Making comedy on my page that everyone enjoys has been a blessing. I do many of the movies my dad loved. It’s my own version of therapy.
Life sucker punches all of us as we are busy planning for it. This is an inevitable harsh reality that we all must face. That doesn’t mean we have to stay down when we get knocked out.
Rocky Balboa Said it best. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!“
There is a light is at the end of the tunnel, but it is up to YOU to hold up the flashlight.