Memorial Day Memories

There are certain moments in life when you remember every detail specifically.  It doesn’t matter how much time goes by, those feelings and those memories still feel so recent.  Four years ago on Memorial Day weekend, I was heading home Saturday night after going out with some friends.  I remember being stopped at a traffic light when my sister called me.  She wanted to let me know that she was on her way to the hospital with my dad because he was having really bad stomach pains.  I just remember feeling so scared and this sudden wave of uncontrollable emotions took over me. I wanted so badly to keep a positive outlook, but I knew deep down that there was something terribly wrong. 

Now a week prior to this, my dad mentioned that he had not been feeling too well.  This was a man who was rarely ever sick a day in his life so we were all instantly worried.  We had celebrated my mother’s birthday and a few of my relatives had mentioned that my dad’s skin was looking a little bit jaundice.  The thought of something being wrong with his liver was our first instinct.  A few days after that party, I had lunch with him at a local pizzeria.  He could barely get through the meal.  I kept telling him that he needed to see a doctor, but my dad was stubborn and always wanted to be strong for everyone else.  Two days after that (bringing us back to that Saturday), I had plans again to see my father, but I was out running errands all day and told him that I had to cancel.  I remember hanging up the phone with him and suddenly got a really bad feeling that I could not shake off.  So I stopped by his house and he was so happy to see me.  I knew as soon as I saw his face that he was not ok.  He said that he had a bad night and couldn’t sleep.  His stomach was still bothering him and this had been going on for a week or so.  I made him promise me that if it happened again that night, to let one of us bring him to the hospital.  
So when I got that call from my sister, I knew it was going to be something serious because if my dad allowed her to take him to the hospital, then deep down he knew it too.  We were there all night with him as the doctors ran multiple tests.  Even in his bed in the emergency room, he told us to continue with our plans for going down the shore the next day.  He didn’t want to be the reason that we couldn’t have fun.  He was such a selfless man, always putting everyone first before him.  I remember holding his hand and telling him that there was no way we were going to leave him.  That moment as I looked into his eyes, I saw fear for the first time.  The doctor came over to tell us that they found a mass on his liver and needed to run some more tests.  And then it hit me.  I knew it was cancer.  We all knew it.  

On Memorial Day, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and it had already spread to his liver and his lymphnodes.  There are no words to describe what it felt like hearing that diagnosis.  My entire world came crashing down in that instant.  They didn’t give us a time frame for his life.  They weren’t sure if the chemo would work.  We just had to try and do what we could to keep him here for as long as possible.  I think I was in denial those next three months.  I knew what was happening but it was just so hard for me to accept.  It was hard for all of us to come to terms with the fact that my father could die.  I prayed for a miracle every day.  Deep down in my heart I really believed that a miracle was going to happen  Whenever my dad would talk to people about having cancer, he always said, “I’m going to fight it.”  And he did.  He fought as hard as he could those three months.  And that’s why he is my hero.  I learned so much that summer about life and myself, but most importantly I learned how to fight through fear from the most amazing man I’ve ever known.

When he passed away, everything changed and I was not ok for a very long time.  I learned to deal with his loss without really dealing with it.  I just had to force myself to go on with my life.  To be completely honest I don’t think I’ve ever accepted it.  There will always be a piece of me that is missing.  If you’ve lost a parent or any loved one for that matter, then you know that time doesn’t ever heal that wound.  I thought a lot about doing this post because it’s so personal.  I think each time I write about my dad I open up a little bit more.  What happened with him is such a big part of me and my life.  I want to be able to share more on here than just my outfits because there is so much more to me than that.  I’m no expert on dealing with loss because even four years later, I’m still dealing with it.  But if any of you have experienced something similar, please don’t ever hesitate to reach out.  It’s a constant battle, this I know.

If you took the time to read this, thank you so much for allowing me to share it with you.
And I just want to say thank you to all those who have served our country.  You have made the ultimate sacrifice and we are forever grateful! We remember you today and always. <3

  1. Naty! I just wanted to tell you that you are an AMAZING woman and that your is so proud of you! <3 love you girl! and you are so strong…I really admire you !

  2. Naty, you are a strong, courageous + powerful woman! Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart today. It's made me want to hold my dad a little tighter when I see him… Please know that although I don't know you, I AM praying for you + yours! Lots of love! Cat of

    • I really appreciate that love and thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. It means a lot <3

  3. Girl your strong, cant imagine what you are going through. You dad sounds awesome.

  4. Naty, thank you so much for share this, i admire you now even more, it is good sometimes to share more than clothes, this kind of post are very inspirational, you are a strong girl and i know your father is so proud of you, have faith.

    • Thank you so much for reading it today. I really appreciate the support and your kinds words. <3

  5. I met you last year during fashion week at your event and I told you how much I could relate to you because I lost my mother to cancer. This June makes it 4 years. I love this post because it let's your readers know more about you and I admire that. It takes a strong person to share this story because it's very personal and you become vulnerable. I understand what you are going through so much. And you're right, that wound never really heals. But by writing out this story and sharing it with us, maybe you're starting to heal a little bit.

    • I remember our conversation that night and it meant a lot for you to open up to me about your loss. It' crazy how we both lost them within 2 months of each other. This august marks his 4 year anniversary. Writing about it definitely helps me. It's not something that I talk about often, but when I do I feel some type of release. I'm sure you feel the same way. Sending you lots of love and strength next month. I know your mother is very proud of you. <3

  6. This made me cry so much because I know what you're going through. I just lost my aunt to cancer just 4 months ago and it has been the hardest thing to deal with.
    Lots of love Naty!


    • I'm so sorry to hear that love. Do your best to stay strong and know that you have an angel watching over you xo

  7. I teared up reading this. You are an amazingly strong, hard working young lady. Your dad is looking down and is so period of you for all that you have accomplished so far. Thank you for sharing such a personal piece of your life, it really helps to remind us what's important. 🙂

  8. Naty, I read this a few days ago and have wanted to leave a comment…but thank you so much for opening up like this. Seeing your outfits is always fun, but I know part of the reason you started this blog and have fearlessly pursued your dreams is because of your Dad. There IS so much more to all of us than just what we wear or how we look. Anyway, I loved this post. It was so beautifully written. Sending love your way! XO.



    Naty I'm sooo very sorry for your loss :(. 7 yrs ago on Memorial Day my little sister 9 yrs old at that time got hit by a jetski during our family trip to the lake and has been brain dead ever since and every Memorial Day weekend is a tough one and something that has changed our lives forever. And if that wasn't bad enough my younger sister on the Eve of her 22nd bday was killed by a drunk driver and this July will mark 1yr that she's been gone. My life has never been easy and it just doesn't seem to get any better. I started my own personal style blog to get away from my emotions to find another way to express myself. But I would also like to get a little personal with my readers and just haven't found a way to just that "/. I must say this post has really inspired to take that step maybe not this year in July but some day I will build the courage to open up and face my emotions and it will be all thanks to this post. Thank you again :).

    • Joenna- your comment just brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for all that you have been through and for losing your sister. I'm sure it's been a constant struggle being able to cope with it all, but just know that you are a strong woman. Dealing with tragedy is never easy. We tend to lose ourselves and it takes a long time to find our way back. Being able to express yourself, especially during those moments, is such a wonderful thing. My blog became really therapeutic for me as I am sure yours has too. It took me awhile to be able to open up and talk about my father. Even after 4 years, I still don't do it very often because the pain is still so very real and still feels recent. Take your time and there will be a moment when you are ready to do it. It definitely is a release. I hope that you build up the courage to do it. Sending you lots of love & positive energy. <3

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