Four Boys of Summer is inspired by a daily dose of sunshine, compassion, love, gratitude for family and all-around positive vibes. This is the season to slow down, hit the pool or beach, relax, drink rainbow snow cones and play with your favorite friends. I’m only speaking from this perspective because before starting 4BOS, I’ve witnessed another side of summer and survived a few dark storms along the way. I was 19, starting my second year of college, and remember it being a beautiful early fall day on my campus. The sun was setting, ending a carefree college day. My friends and I were hanging out and having fun talking in my room when I received a phone call that would change my life forever. I was instantly transferred to a new realm of existence. The distraught voice on the phone said, “Your dad was just killed in a car accident.” I immediately dropped to the ground, covered my face with a throw pillow and let out a primal and traumatizing scream. The next few days were spent in a comatose state surrounded by many friends and family trying to support us through my dad’s visitation and funeral service.
"My friends and I were hanging out and having fun talking in my room when I received a phone call that would change my life forever."
Before this, my life was happy, oblivious, and shiny with no care in the world. My mom and dad were in love and enjoying the empty nest life with my older brother and I both away at college. They had big dreams for a new stage in life together, which I absolutely adored. After the pain was unbearable, times were dark and living on earth seemed so harsh. Unknowingly, people seemed cruel and insensitive. Missing him was an understatement and I felt incredibly alone with a feeling that no one could relate. I was super close to my dad and I needed him back in my life. The sun was not shining even on the most beautiful day, and the family unit we once knew seemed diminished. When my dad passed away, so did my soul.
"I decided I would try my best to live the most successful and positive life, and one day I would fill my dining chairs with as many family members as possible."
I lost my dad in early November with Thanksgiving just around the corner. My mom did her best and cooked a beautiful dinner, but the deep shock and disbelief that he was no longer with us robbed us from our holiday joy. We sat down at the table and it was painful to see his empty dining chair, the spot where he once sat eating and laughing. This moment was so powerful because it was then that I made a memorable and conscious decision. I decided I would try my best to live the most successful and positive life, and one day I would fill my dining chairs with as many family members as possible. I struggled for many years later but with each passing day, the grief lifted slowly. During one moment of anguish, I wanted to give up on my college degree and move home. However, knowing my dad was such an ambitious man, I needed to dig deep and make him proud. I ended up graduating from college and immediately after I accepted a full-time job. I started to find my way in life again.
Fast forward to 2003, I married my college boyfriend, my best friend and the love of my life who was there for me during those very turbulent times. Despite being one of the best days ever I wanted to sob hysterically because of one obvious and important person missing from the guest list. I “kept it together” with the loving support of my mom, brother, and uncle (who were also grieving deeply), and I called on the unconditional strength of family to walk me down the aisle. I felt so incredibly loved, but missing my dad more than ever, I was angry with him for not being there on my wedding day.
"I felt incredibly overjoyed with this full-circle moment, my time to start over."
When my first son was born in 2009, life completely turned around into a positive direction. I felt incredibly overjoyed with this full-circle moment, my time to start over. We planned on naming him William (after my dad) where we continue to celebrate his life and memory. Then came my SECOND son, THIRD and a year ago we welcomed our FOURTH and final boy. We now occupy ALL the chairs at our dining table and there is always a special spot reserved in our hearts for other family members no longer with us. It feels beautiful and beyond successful to have our family complete.
You see, my dad passed away but his love is stronger than ever, living through me and my boys every day. I can feel him lifting me up even when the clouds roll in, and now it’s time to give back hope to those who are looking for brighter days ahead. I dedicate 4BOS brand to my dad and thank him every day for giving me strength and a renewed and authentic perspective on life.