So, before my instagram was francesca_secolonovo_wellness it was known as Vivethavida. I was documenting my solo travels across asia while I was openly greiving the death of my father who past away from Cancer in April 2017.
I am on a new chapter in my life and want to start blogging and share things that are helping me along the way BUT before I do that I feel like this post needs to on here AND as my very first blog post because THIS is where it started. I dont even recognise the person I was but I love her and honour her. It gives me chills as I look back and remember typing out my feelings and petrified to press the 'post' button. I know how hard it is to know you need to deal with some painful shit but its totally nessesary. Dont let anything or anyone stop you in being the amazing human you were sent here to be. Know that with strength and courage you will look back with your head held high knowing you did it, maybe with help along the way but YOU did not let it break you. You came out the other side with light and love in your heart. THAT my friend takes balls.
So here we go.... me just under 1 year ago.
I want to start off by saying my father was absolutely the most adorable person to have been placed on this earth.
Everyone saw and felt the pure kindness that he was, he had such kind eyes. The joy and passion he felt to share his stories and his experiences of all the things he went through from surviving the earthquake of his home town in Sicily, to how London was when he first got here to Italian history. He was so proud to be Italian and knew all the stories about his country's history and how he could remember dates so easily was insane. My papa just was the best story teller.
I have left this so long to post because the night my dad died I most definitely lost apart of myself deep inside. The hurt you feel when you lose someone THAT dear is so deep it’s indescribable. No matter how prepared you think you are, your not. No words could ever explain how deep it runs and for me to only truly understand is to feel it… to experience it… and that is something I wouldn’t want anyone else to feel. To write this means I am announcing it out loud…. which means that it really did happen….. which means he really is gone and how do I learn to let him go? To accept that my life from this point on he will no longer be in it to advise me, guide me or to share big moments in the future. My dad was so modest he really understood what it meant to appreciate the smaller things in life and how those smaller things were actually the important things in life. He hated people fussing over him but I believe that everyone should know the amazing person that was known as Vincenzo Secolonovo. The most amazing person in my life and I am so lucky to say I had him as my father for 32 years to guide me and advise me to be the person I am today.
My dad taught me so many lessons in life… or at least tried. He taught me to be kind. If you are going to do something, anything you do it with your heart and to expect nothing in return. He taught me to be self-sufficient where I should not rely on anyone but myself and to be independent. To be strong and to have courage and to work hard for what I want. To listen to others better, to have more patience and learn to control my emotions and my temper. My dad had so much patience with me he always found a way to stay calm especially when I was upset. He never got mad or shouted at me. He tried to teach me to try and see the difference between good people and people who do not have my best interests at heart and to be cautious. Sometimes I get this wrong and my dad would say I need to be more careful and not give so much. You know my dad just got me, he understood me without me having to say so many words…. He knew I didn’t always want to talk.
Growing up you didn’t want to upset my dad. When we went out and the minute me and my brother misbehaved all it took was ‘that look’ and we knew to zip it. Or even better when my mum would say ‘I'm going to tell you dad’. That was what you said to get us scared!! LOL Or on a funnier note the true Italian that he was I remember him telling me. "France, don't call me dad or daddy. I want you to call me Papa!".
My dad never complained, he would wake up at any hour of the day or night to pick me up or drop me off no questions asked. He was kind, compassionate, charismatic, honest and believed in family above all not to mention he had such a strong faith in GOD. I would remember one of my earliest memories when I was younger Id be afraid to sleep in the dark so he would sit by my bed and I would hold his index finger because his hands were enormous with my entire hand just for one finger! He would pray by my side and would stay there until I fell asleep.
I still wake up every morning listening from the loft if I will hear him downstairs pottering about. Or if he will call me ‘France come downstairs’… unfortunately it is still silent… and I am starting to accept it always will be. I started rummaging and searching for every picture that I have of him and as a photographer I thought I wish I had taken more pictures of him… or more videos. The thought that with time will I forget the sound of his voice or the little features that make him, him. As terrible as it is sometimes I think there has to be something out there working for us. The Monday before he died I was due to work however I woke up with the feeling of absolute sadness in my heart and the feeling of being poorly that I called sick. I think was there something out there in the universe pushing and influencing to make me feel like that knowing that my dad was going to leave this world the following night. That Monday was the last day I got to spend with him. Stranger still at 2:25am I woke up suddenly. I laid in bed thinking mmm something doesn’t feel right and I wanted to call my dad but due to the time I didn’t want to wake him as I was sure he was asleep. Anyway, I fell and asleep and 15mins later I got the call being told my dad died. I know in my heart that it was my dad who woke me up a 2:25am as a way of saying goodbye because I KNOW that there is no way my dad would ever have left this world without saying goodbye to me. He wasn’t ready to leave me, my mum or my brother. He wanted to live. But this is the problem with us humans we think we have more time but we don't. We are all victims to this way of thinking.
Just like that…. That one phone call changes your life, flips your world upside down.. Was like someone switched off the light switch and my world went dark instantly. Someone disconnected my inner wiring and my body went numb and all sounds just totally faded out until I heard…… nothing. I didn’t feel a thing nor did I shed a tear. I fell head first into the darkness numb and emotionless. How do you get over loosing someone who was such a big influence in your life. The person who has been there since the first moment you took a breath??.. I feel robbed and I never thought I would loose my dad so early in my life. Loosing someone so close to you changes you. You don’t come out the other end the same. Things that scared me don’t seem to scare me anymore. To be scared now seems so pointless. Anyone who has lost someone to cancer you know that it isn’t pretty and it’s a pretty lonely experience. Watching someone decline in health I learnt to be more patient, compassionate and needed to show more love than ever. Not to mention to dig REALLY deep and find strength from somewhere, anywhere. This is something I know I will need to continue to do and he made me a better person from a really dark and horrible experience I just hope that I did enough.
Being so open about this on social media isn’t everyone cup of tea. However I believe that there is no shame in showing your vulnerability or your emotions. At the same time I am also great at putting a smile on my face and as I may seem like an open book only very few really know what’s behind that smile of mine. Emotions and vulnerability is what makes us human and the human race to me there is no me or you there is only us. We will all go through the same experiences and I believe its important to show to others you are not alone. To all other people loosing someone or has lost someone you are not alone and believe me many times I feel like I am but I know I am not. Take your time. Feel what you feel. Its fine to not have your shit together and the people who love you will know that and give you space, love and encouragement. The people that don’t wont and that is absolutely fine too and sometimes you need to decide to cut the cord. It’s a time to have positive people who love, appreciate and honour you. I find as time passes the harder is seems to get. I have waves of emotions and I cry at any moment with no warning. When this happens I imagine my dad every time saying to me ‘DON’T CRY, please daughter I don’t want to see you cry’. But, my dad truly deserves every tear shed and I miss him dearly. I’m a deep person and I don’t know how to have meaningless conversations or write blasay blog posts. I only know how to write what I feel no matter how deep that is and the people who connect with what I say and get it are my type of people.
I am proud to say I am my father’s daughter and I can only hope that I can be half the person my papa was and everyday that I think of you I think how much I really miss you.