While we’re often advised to hold a firm line to separate our work from our personal lives, you’ll find every facet of my own story woven deeply and unapologetically into The Desert Dose. My business is an extension of myself, my honed skills and abilities used to fuel my deep desire to help women believe in themselves, step into their stretch zone and experience growth.
This fall, the Desert Dose took an abrupt and unexpected pause because my human story collided with it. The simple explanation is: Dad died.
Turns out that when you’re in the act of dying you aren’t synced to the same schedule of those of us still busy living. So it was in the midst of our prime riding season that I hit pause on each of our retreats. After months of planning, there was nothing more I was looking forward to then to immerse myself in them. While covid had prepared me to swipe my calendar clean, there was no playbook to guide us in navigating my father’s death. It was an intense roller coaster of denial, sorrow, vulnerability, awkwardness, heartbreak, helplessness, beauty, even humor, and eventually peace. And I was grateful to hold Dad’s hand and be by his side through it all.
While trying to make peace with losing Mom last year and now Dad, I stumbled across this quote:
“Sharing tales of those we’ve lost is how we keep from really losing them. And even though they are gone now, their story flows through me.” - Mitch Albom
So in this spirit, I’ll share some of Dad’s story with you:
Dad’s smile would light up any room and his storytelling was famous among family and friends. He taught us to be humble and be kind and generous to others. The tales he told were that of legend, teaching and living alongside the Dena Tha’ Indians in northwest Alberta in the 1960’s (long before the term Indigenous was commonplace) riding horses and pushing dogsleds, and then meeting his wife-to-be (Mom) while traveling in Barcelona.
One of my favorite childhood memories of Dad were those nights at the dinner table when he couldn't wait to share his latest (bad) joke and he couldn’t get out the punch line before he busted out laughing. He’d then start crying from laughing so hard - which in turn made us start laughing uncontrollably and it was all ridiculous. He would have to get up and walk away from the table because his stomach hurt so much and he simply could not stop laughing.
As I reflect on my Dad’s life, I’m filled with grief and gratitude. Aside from the fun and laughter and teaching us that life is in the moments, what Dad really taught us is to do small things in a great way.