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I Owe You An Explanation

Michelle Dale - Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You may notice it's been a little while since my last post - well a lot has happened and to be honest I needed to take a 'time out' to regroup from the non-critical aspects of my business (entrepreneurs don't ever get to close the door, or shutdown, but we do get to rearrange and prioritise). Well regrouped I have done and I wanted to explain to you why this all came about. It's also a bit of a tribute...

Back in August I completed a really intensive "Free VA Training Week" which went amazingly well, shortly following that was the Beta launch of my new product courses, the Examiner, Entertainer and Educator. A week before the Educator launched, and a couple of days before the Entertainer, right in the thick of the launch schedule, I was asked to speak in Manchester, UK on September 13th, at New Media Europe, which I did - I had just a few days to prep an entire public speaking session, and I've never spoken on stage before, unless you count school plays!

I prepped my speech, flew over to the UK from Greece, met up with my little brother, did my talk, finally got a chance to catch up with Chris Ducker, we've spoken for almost 6 years online but we'd never met in person which was very cool, and then spent the next couple of days in Cafe Nero on my laptop drinking them out of Green Tea whilst working on getting the courses ready to go 'live' on time. 

The Entertainer was launched from a cafe in Manchester and partly from an Airport (in true digital nomad style) and that went up without a hitch.

I flew back to Crete to be given the news the next day that my father had died. I guess it wasn't a surprise, I had been waiting for that news for 20 years, he had a lung removed when I was 14 from cancer, and the odds of him surviving weren't ever great, however he did live on, not well by any means, and was in and out of remission, on multiple medications, had additional surgeries and never worked again. Ironically he is from Manchester where I had just come back from, and I'd only been there once before - with him.

I was very close to my Dad when I was young - that's an understatement - we were inseparable. I'm his only child, we'd go shooting, fishing, clean the car together - pretty much everything... I idolised him, and him me, but as many parents do these days, mine divorced when I was 9 and we moved away, I rarely saw my father after that, and whenever I spoke to him it was like a time warp. The only Dad I knew was the one who taught his little 7 year old girl how to shoot a clay pigeon or skin a rabbit, and the only daughter he knew was the one who he would sing "Wild World" to thinking he was Cat Stevens. 

Sadly his new wife and I weren't compatible, and the gap became even wider between me and my father  - we occasionally spoke on Skype when his wife would leave the house for work, or to go the hairdressers, and conversations were few and far between, becoming hardly ever, but whenever we did speak, we spoke about the past.

It wasn't until my Dad had been dead over 9 weeks that his wife decided she would get her sister to call my mother to tell her, because she had to send me a watch my Dad had wanted me to have. It does have a great deal of sentimental value to him, and me.

I can't quite explain how it feels to be told that your father had died over 9 weeks ago, without any other information, it says a lot about his wife I guess...  I was kept from the funeral obviously, I don't even know the circumstances of his death... Questions rolled around my head like tumbleweeds, "How did he die?", "Was he is pain?", "Did he say anything about me?", "Was there any message for me?" or did he just not care, and didn't want me told... Plus, I had many things left unsaid to him, which I wish I had a chance to talk to him about - but he's gone, death is another part of life, and these are all things I've put to rest (with the help of some alcohol I have to admit...)

I got my act together and completed my final course on time - I also have other obligations, my clients needed their VA, my kids need their mum, and my wildly supportive husband was like a rock as always to help me through it all. Just 2 weeks later on September 30th, my family was due to come and visit for a holiday which had been booked. I'm usually ultra-organised and prep for these events so I can spend time with them, but this time around I wasn't prepared at all work-wise.

So family comes first and I put all my non-critical work aside, I focussed on my critical obligations and tried to be away from my desk as much as I could while they were here.

So now I'm back, and felt I owed you an explanation for my absence, although I was keeping things going in the background, personally I wasn't my usual 'on the ball' self and needed a break to just get through what I needed to and digest everything.

We're approaching the run up to Christmas and I've already started to think of 2016 and if anything, these recent events have reminded me again, to make the most of every moment, and to strive to never live with regrets, which as bittersweet as it sounds, will likely make 2016 my best year ever.

The last time I was able to speak to my Dad was March 2014, although he was never far from my thoughts, and I choose to believe I was never far from his, and that's something that can never be taken away by anyone. With tears rolling down my face, and in true virtual assistant style ;-) I am holding my own funeral service below with the memories I keep of my Dad, may he rest easy, until we meet again.

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Hi I'm Michelle, an entrepreneur specialising in virtual assistance, a digital and real world nomad, and a down-to-earth mother of three.

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