81: Dream Life through Freedom

81: Dream Life through Freedom

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive

Dream Life through Freedom

The guardian angels of life sometimes fly so high as to be beyond our sight, but they are always looking down upon us.

~Jean Paul Richter

“We’ve got a Code Blue. CODE BLUE!” blared over the intercom in the ICU of Stony Brook Hospital. My brother and I were huddled in the hallway twenty feet away, holding each other and trying very hard not to cry. We knew it was for our mom. We had just been holding her hands minutes earlier, me holding her left, and James holding her right, when her heart stopped.

The doctors said it wouldn’t be long after they stopped the medicine that was keeping her body alive, and yet it was still shockingly fast. I knew she was already gone — she had said goodbye to me earlier when I had been in that dreamlike state between being awake and asleep on my flight from Las Vegas to New York. She had told me she loved me and to be strong. In fact, I wasn’t expecting her to still be alive when we landed. She had had nine heart attacks in ten hours. Mom was always a fighter. But I knew that “she” was gone. They were keeping her body alive for us to say goodbye.

My mother had been sick for years — suffering from diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and three different types of arthritis. In the end she died from liver failure. Too many Tylenols for her arthritis — apparently you can’t take twenty-plus a day — a complete overdose no one caught because they were too busy looking at the “big diseases.” Ironically, she was in her best health in the years after my father passed away. He had died almost four years earlier after a nine-day battle with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed and unexpectedly died of the disease before anyone had even figured out a treatment plan. He said he had never wanted to be an old man who faded away and got weak. To our disappointment and anguish, he got his wish.

Losing both parents before the age of forty was daunting to say the least. I was at war with our family — emotions were brought up and resentments that had percolated for years shot to the surface. Things I never knew about my parents or my grandparents came to light as the weight of being executor of five family estates was placed on my shoulders. I tried to grieve as best as I could while still trying to keep everything together. It wasn’t fun. At the end of it all, half of my family had disappeared. I was left with a nice nest egg, but only half a family, no parents and no place to go “home” to anymore.

After two years of battles, it was finally over. I was finally able to grieve. One day, I looked to the sky and said out loud, “Okay Mom, what’s next?” Instead of being scared or uncertain, it was a strangely freeing question. I had moved to Las Vegas years earlier on a complete whim, throwing away years of building a successful marketing career to follow my dream of being a singer. Was it selfish to ask for more? To ask my mom for a new dream? To ask what’s next?

Within the next few months, weird things started to happen. Right before my dad died, I had started following the teachings of both Tony Robbins and The Secret — getting the movie a year before it was publicly released — and started keeping a gratitude journal. For years nothing seemed to happen, no real changes in my life. But after the day I asked my mom what was next, little by little everything in my journal started to come true, as if by magic!

I was able to live in Las Vegas and summer in Long Island like I had wanted to since I was a child. I started to travel the world — sometimes winning free trips! I wanted to move from my apartment to a new home, and my best friend, who was a real estate agent, drove by a new development that was building the exact home I had envisioned years before. I was able to buy it — and at a discounted price. The original owners who had commissioned my house surprisingly bowed out while the structure was already under construction. I even rescued the exact dog I had envisioned as being a part of my life — a pure bundle of love.

Even though I loved being a singer on the Las Vegas Strip, I had actually wanted to leave my job for some time. It had always been a place of negativity — a place where management didn’t seem to value us as individuals. It was hard to put on a show and make people happy when management would cut me down almost every day. I had no idea what the next step would be. But I wanted something new. What that “new” was, I had no idea.

I took the summer off to finally work out my grief and plan my future. When I returned to work, I was told I had been fired but never given a reason. Searching for new employment and facing nothing but dead ends, I wandered into a Meetup group and found my life’s purpose — voice acting. I could act, perform, create my own schedule, travel, make a good income, and still have time to volunteer and teach. My “tribe” of fellow voice actors became my new friends and replaced the family I had lost — giving back to me tenfold all that I gave to them, a group of like-minded people who put others before themselves.

Lastly, my greatest blessing was when I returned home from my mom’s funeral, and my best friend informed me she was pregnant with her first child. That little girl is the complete light of my life. I can’t walk into a room without her dropping everything to rush to me with a giant hug. I honestly believe my mom sent this angel child to me.

They say when God closes a door he opens a window and that everything happens for a reason. My parents gave me the freedom to achieve every dream I ever thought of and ones I didn’t even know I had until they came true. I miss my parents every day and I wish they were here. But I know they have had a hand in this — and that they continue to allow me to thrive and send me blessings every day.

~Andrea Hadhazy

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