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Good Grief...Life, Love, and Death

The road that was named in my dad's memory two years after he passed.  This photo was taken today on the 12 year anniversary of his death.

Today is the 12 year anniversary of my father's death.  Now, before you send me comments full of condolences, hear me out: I'm okay.  Depending on how close to tragedy you've been before it can be hard to comprehend when--if ever--someone becomes okay after a deep loss.  They say it takes around a year for the grief process to commence.  I believe it takes a little bit longer.  For me personally?  Well, I was really young so figuring out life on top of losing a parent, and one that I considered my best friend at that, is not something I'd wish on my worst enemy.  Add in some compounding issues going on in my external life and losing two friends within three years of my dad's death, it took a while to be in the adjacent neighborhood of okay.  I put on a good face at college as I didn't want to be "tragedy" girl, as that's how I felt in my small hometown, but beneath the surface there was a lot going on.  For me, the three year mark was not a devastating day as the first two had been.  And then every other year really just depended until the nine year mark.  The five year mark felt heavy, because it was the first real "milestone" year since the first.  The other years were either random days with a proverbial cloud over them, or, depending on what was happening in my life at that time, things compounded and June 3rd was a sadder reminder of how much life can suck more than I liked it to be.  And then came the nine year mark.  Though I had somewhat dedicated this day to doing something life affirming for some time, it was on that day while hiking with my Border Collie and looking forward to going to a concert that evening with one of my best friends that I found myself actually being happy from within that day.  I felt the celebration of my dad's life and hopefulness in where I was going in life and how much distance had been placed between my past and present.  I knew the following year would be the ten year mark, and that felt strangely good.  You never forget those you've lost, especially people who have had an indescribable positive influence on your life.  But at a certain point it feels good to let go and not have the identity of your past be your current identity.  Maybe that sounds alien if you have not been through something like this, but trust me, when this happens it's a healthy thing.  
Me and my dog, Lucy, on June 3rd, 2012 (the 9 year mark).  We were at Red Rocks in Morrison, CO.

I went back and forth about if I was going to acknowledge this day publicly on the blog or Instagram this year.  There isn't a wrong answer, but I suppose I've been moving in a direction in my life where I've become increasingly more private and because I don't want to have my past determine my future I'm at a loss as to how to handle a day like this.  I thought this would be the year I don't say anything and have it be as normal as a day as possible.  Of course, I will always know what June 3rd is.  That will never be erased.  One of my favorite TV characters of all time, Lorelei Gilmore, planned an ill fated wedding to Luke Danes on Gilmore Girls for June 3rd and there's a few episodes in that season where the characters keep rattling off that date and my brain always gets a little uncomfortable.  But for the past few years it's been the kind of date where I know it's around the corner, but I don't really realize it's "here" until about a day or so before.  This year was not any different, aside from a last minute road trip back home to PA where while planning it on the phone with my mom we acknowledged that I would be home for the "anniversary", even though it was not the reason for my trip.  So where does this leave me with ultimately deciding to post something like this?

Sometimes I forget how cool blogging really can be.  There are days where things get lost in the shuffle, like when your stats are way down compared to the week before, or you can't keep up with other blogs who regularly comment on yours and you feel racked with guilt.  I have a love/hate relationship with social media, and if you're a longtime Instagram friend you may have noticed that I go dark from time to time, and it's because of this fact.  But then you have moments where you realize people in countries where you know nobody are regularly reading your blog, or a young girl tells you that she looks up to you.  For me, that's the part of blogging that matters.  I can't do anything for sheer vanity, and to a large extent this style blog is both currently and subtly a venue for other things, and it's a platform for future things that will be larger than me.  It's in part why I started A Case of the (Motivational) Mondays (...which I'm bringing back...I swear..) and why I have been trying to make some of my posts more personal, despite how private I'm becoming.  I mean, I have an Instagram friend in Australia who found me through hashtags relating to Supraventricular Tachycardia, a heart condition I have and had an ill-fated surgery to attempt to fix.  This woman on the other side of the world began searching SVT related hashtags on Instagram upon getting her surgery for the same disorder after I opted to blog about it.  She reached out about last fall and we've been in touch ever since.  That never could have happened a decade or so ago.  The world is officially flat...and it's an amazing thing.  While I really, really, really do not wish to mention that this is my dad's death anniversary each and every year, situations like the above story make it difficult to not share when days like this pass by on the calendar.  Maybe 2015 will be the last time I mention this, but a few days ago I decided that it was probably best to acknowledge this day again, as my audience seems to grow each month.
Far from our last photo together, but easily my favorite photo of us.  This was sometimes in the 90s and it was admittedly our first and last model shoot together ;)

I think about my dad every day and what an amazing man he was, but sometimes I forget the impact he had on others.  One of my dad's best friends youngest kid moved to Denver over the summer and I got such a kick out of not only listening him explain to my friend Brett what a great guy my dad was, but also watch his eyes light up as he talked about my dad.  I tell all of my friends all about my dad, but most people have some kind of idealized idea of their parents...especially posthumously.  That was the first time in a loooonng time I got to witness how not crazy I was for thinking my dad was awesome.  My mom recently dragged out an old newspaper clipping from 2005 when my dad got a road named after him.  If you're not my Instagram friend (@demurelaurenblair), please become mine because I have a surprisingly humorous throwback Thursday post I'm saving from the clipping for tomorrow.  But anyway, I read through it for the first time in 10 years and I was touched all over again at all of the nice things that friends and community members said about my dad.  This is only one excerpt of a handful, but the middle one leading to the right is my favorite:
I don't care if I get a road named after me, or have any fanfare like this.  But it's hard not to be inspired by these words and to hope to live the kind of life where people at least think I've done something of worth and had a uplifting effect of those I've met.  Shouldn't that be the goal for everyone in life?  Personally, my faith lies with the idea that this is our only go around in any capacity.  For me, that means that I want to not only live the best life possible but I also want to strive to leave this world a better place when I leave it.  Otherwise, I truly don't understand the point.  If I don't make a difference, then it feels as though my life will have been lived in vain and I'm not down with that.  It seems like the ultimate form of selfishness to me.  If I were a betting woman, I think it's safe to bet that I probably got that from my dad, though he never directly preached that.

I suppose the point of me writing this particular post on this anniversary is multi-fold.  It's a little bit to say that if you're going through the grief process that it gets better, it's in part to open the door a little wider into who I really am behind the computer screen, an excuse to honor my dad, and to let you to take away whatever you want from this.  So much of life goes by that we take for granted.  Any excuse to remind each other to be kinder, to do what's right, to live life to the fullest, and to strive to accomplish our goals is always a good excuse, hence this tribute has found it's way onto my fashion/style blog today.  My hope for this "anniversary" in the future is to always have it be a reminder to strive to be better.  After I came clean about my health troubles 10 months ago, I was honored to get comments and personal messages from you guys about your health woes.  Please feel free to do the same with this if you can relate to this post and feel like sharing.

Again, before you say you're sorry to hear that my dad passed away when I was a teenager, please realize that while that sucks and it was the worst pain to sift through...I'm super lucky.  My dad was amazing and I got more out of him in less than 20 years than some people get out of their parents who get double to triple the amount of time with them.  Take whatever you want out of this blog entry, but please do not feel sorry for me in the slightest.


  1. Darling Lauren, from your very inspiring post, I can tell you are doing fine. I am sure he is so proud of who you have become today. Stay strong beautiful. Your beautiful smile and personality shines through. Of course, I have to say, I am sorry for your losses and pain because I am, but most of all, you came out more amazing than ever. So I applaud you for that.

    Ahh, social media is intense, but nothing comes without hardwork and persistence. Do your best and simply let the rest take care of itself. Sometimes you just allow things to happen organically. Thank you for sharing this :)

    1. Thank-you for the kind words, pretty. XOXOXO

  2. Wow. I have so much to say about your post and none of the words. It's amazing how much comfort you can find in the people who are effectively strangers. I needed to read this today - I have a post coming tomorrow in a similar vein. To me, grief is a process and very personal... but the beauty comes in the way those people we loved and lost manifest in our present. And one thing that I see very clearly in your post is an exquisite vulnerability and a way to move forward and continue to see beauty in the world. No pity here, my sweet. Only deep, deep admiration.

    1. Oh wow, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for your post. Color me intrigued, though I'm sorry that this is apparently something you can relate to. XOXOXO

  3. This post is so inspirational! You have gone through so much, and you are so strong ❤️ The photo photo of you and your dad is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us! Good bless ❤️

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! Your dad sounds like a wonderful man, and this is a great reminder to all of us to keep going to honor all of those who left us too soon. Fashion bloggers are SO much more than closets full of clothes, so I hope you continue to share with us <3

  5. Wow, Lauren. I'm having a hard time finding the right words to describe what I am feeling after reading your incredible post. You are such an inspiring, strong woman! This was a wonderfully written post and a great tribute to your father. I've personally never had anyone that close to me pass away, but I hope I can remember your wisdom if/when it happens. Thank you for sharing such a personal post!

    Also, that newspaper clipping of you two is just too cute!


  6. Inspirational post! Sometimes life surprises us but It's so good to know that seasons come and go, there are things that we will never forget because it's part of our story, but It's good to remember that those things make us stronger. :)

  7. What a beautiful, touching post! Your father would be proud (no doubt) of the lovely way in which you celebrate his memory. Your strength and positive outlook inspire me. T.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story and tribute Lauren, you are so strong, beautiful and inspiring your Dad would be proud of who you are and what you're doing. You are so right not everyone has wonderful parents and to be able to cherish and remember that is something so beautiful and heart touching. Thank you for being you and making the world a better place just like your Dad.

    -Rainbow xoxo

  9. Such a beautiful post to remember your dad. He sounds like an amazing man. I cannot even find the words to adequately describe how I feel after reading this. Im so happy you were able to find peace after all of these years. I hope to get there someday myself. I did end up crying about half way through this thinking about my mom. This is so inspiring and thank you for sharing!

  10. Lauren,
    So lovely. You and your brother were the absolute joys of his life. Love you lots! Hugs, Aunt Cin

  11. What a gorgeous dress, you look stunning! :) xo~ Lena

  12. Lovely dress and post!! U look so cute in it. Happy weekend. Xoxo

  13. I really enjoyed reading this post because as a reader, I get to know you better through what you have gone through. When we lose family members, that changes us forever. Your dad sounds like an amazing individual. It sounds like you are leaving your mark of inspiration through this blog and following in your father's footsteps as an inspirational person. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.


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