Valentine's Day Kids Shoot

January 2022 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

[shareaholic app=”share_buttons” id=”20872686″]

January 2022 will forever be known as the month I lost my dad. I don’t know how to sugar-coat it: January sucked, but this blog is not going to become a sad place, I promise—in fact, we’re all feeling a bit of peace right now. Plus, I have a whole lot of travel and murals and career posts coming at you really soon, though I may occasionally intersperse an essay or two as the feelings hit.

Greg Luna's life

January started off a pretty solid month until Dad was taken to the hospital midway through for seizures and other stroke complications. But prior to that, we spent four nights away in an Airbnb in Florida and had begun to map out our year, both in mural work and also in our travels.

The Highs

We had our first board meeting of the year. Prior to the pandemic, we had planned to do at least one of our quarterly board meetings for the nonprofit in a different city where we’d be inspired by the art scene. We finally made that happen via four nights in St. Pete, a gritty, artsy Florida city if ever there were one!

DMA-events board

We’ve been grinding away at the home renovation content. Since September, I’ve written 51 DIY guides and pieces of home renovation content for one of our main clients, Angi! SVV and I work on each articles together, and it’s really fun applying our skillset to helping others accomplish home projects. You can see everything we’ve written to date here.

We sold our first house! Thought we’ve bought five houses or condos over the past decade, I’ve never actually sold one. And an hour after they put my dad on Hospice, I had to go to the closing of Myrtle to sign about a zillion papers. It was a surreal week, but my bank account is happy to have that money in savings for our next investment … and taxes.

Home Renovation Project: Ripping Out a Bathroom

I’ve started booking travel again. Before dad died, mom and I had already planned a trip to Palm Springs for BNP (the Indian Wells Master ) next month. SVV and I rebooked our 10-year anniversary trip to Holland that was canceled early on in the pandemic and are heading there in late-March. Our family is going to the beach in Florida in May once tax season is over. Having so much to look forward to has definitely been a nice distraction from these past two weeks.

Tips to Moving Abroad

This was us when we met in Holland in 2005!

SVV finally has a doctor who cares. We’re on month sixth of the mystery chronic illness, and before the holidays, SVV was finally transferred to a functional medicine doctor in the VA system who is determined to get to the root cause of his pain. He’s been on the SCD plan for two months, and while he still has days of intense pain, overall he’s feeling significantly better. And then we *finally* got a diagnosis just this week (technically in February, so I’ll write more about in the future).

So many people came out to support my family in our time of grief. I’ll never be able to thank everyone who sent food, flowers, texts, stories and cards; who called or came to be with us in those immediate days after; who came out during a pandemic to pay their respects to my Dad. The funeral weekend was beautiful because we were all surrounded by so much love.

Valentine's Day Kids Shoot

The Lows

SVV got “it.” After two years of dodging the virus bullet, SVV came down with it last week. Luckily, I never got it—we isolated on opposite ends of the house for five days and didn’t go out in public—and neither did anyone who stayed with us for the funeral. The three vaccines also did their work, as while he was really sick for two days, he bounced back by the fourth.

But then Kari and the kids got it a second time, so I had to go back in isolation again. I officially cleared a negative test today and am good to go back in the world again.

But seriously, universe, the last thing I wanted following my Dad’s death was to be isolated from everyone, including my husband, alone for five days! Twice. GOOD GRIEF. Cut us some slack already.

This past month may have been the lowest of lows in my 39 years, but you know what, we’ll get through it. So will you if you’re having a rough time. Though sometimes the darkness feels smothering, there are always brighter days ahead. Plus, just 30 days until daylight savings’ time, which always boosts my mood! 

Valentine's Day Kids Shoot

  • February 14, 2022

    Hi Kristen,

    I am really sorry that you lost your dad! I hope you can find strength in life and have support from your friends and family to get you through this tough time. I think even after a big loss you continue to share your life with people and that is a big sign of strength. I really wish you all the best for the future, and I hope you find all the success and solace in your life. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    • March 18, 2022

      I love coming to your site for new book recommendations (it’s been several months since I’ve logged on) and my heart just dropped. I’m so very sorry about your dad. It’s such a hard thing to lose an amazing parent and it was obvious how special you both were to each other. I know that journey well. It’s not an easy one, especially at the beginning. Hang in there.

      And my husband has done the SCD for several years (he has Crohns). It has kept him off meds and relatively stable/pain free. I hope your husband has success with it. It’s definitely not an easy diet but I hope it helps and he gets some answers. Happy to talk more about it if you ever have the need.

      • March 18, 2022

        Thank you so much, Tracy ❤️❤️❤️

        And SCD has been further complicated by an Alpha-Gal diagnosis. So not only can he essentially not eat anything but SCD, but within that, he can’t eat anything mammal (or mammal derived, i.e. anything containing gelatin) or things like avocado and kimchi that aren’t on a low-histamine diet. It’s been chaotic to figure out, but we’re learning.

    • March 18, 2022

      Thank you so much, John! ❤️

Leave a Comment