I was living in Fort Collins, CO. in a 4-bedroom apartment with 3 other girls when I got THAT CALL from home with tragic news.
I recall I had just finished my last class of the day at Colorado State University. It was a beautiful spring afternoon with Colorado’s bluest skies. I had all the windows open in the apartment and I was waiting on my boyfriend so we could plant tomatoes together.
The phone rang and I picked it from my bedroom as I slowly watched my entire world shatter in front of me. “Esther, dad killed himself” were the words from my brother in Italian. I was holding so tight to the tomatoe seeds that the bag crumbled into pieces and I could not utter a single word for days until I arrived to France for the funeral.
That was April 3rd when my dad committed suicide in my grandmother’s house in France and a couple of months later I walked alone at my graduation with an empty and hollow heart. I endured life for a couple of years with no goals. There was no aim. I fell in a path of survival that involved drinking, holding on, getting the job done, and disconnecting with others including myself. Five years later my adventures ended in a helicopter ride to University of Maryland shock trauma for 7 days.
I had lost things in life but never had I lost myself. Waking up in the ER with 38 staples across my stomach and tubes coming out from all body openings was a breaking point. I stood in nothing and yet I was alive.
I began my journey of letting go and forgiving. I started living from a space of love instead of anger. I started losing the fear and pursing what sets my soul on fire by seizing every dam day by the bull's horns, balls, tail, what ever I could grab. I took responsibility for my stories and started giving zero fucks in order to start living the life I love.
My failures drive me and my desire for life gives me the strength to never give up again.
I never planted a fucking tomato in my life. Those seeds are in the past. But don’t you worry, like a good Italian woman, my kitchen always has plenty of tomatoes that I buy from Whole Foods.
Instead of planting tomatoes, I have learned to grow goals in my life and to see them succeed.