About Me

“You can pray while you’re fishing, but you can’t fish in church.” – Dad

Hi. I’m Suzy. 

I’ve read that you should never start out an “About Me” section that way but alas, here we are. 

To be honest right off the bat, I’ve been trying for 2 weeks to start this paragraph. Call it writer’s block, self sabotaging the idea of having a blog, or simply not knowing the right words to paint an accurate picture of myself. In no particular order, this is what I’ve come up with. 

I am an anxious introvert who romanticizes all things outdoors in a quest to settle the broken parts that lie within me. Being in nature offers me the opportunity to recharge and find a balance, which has proven to be vital in recent years. 

I grew up in an unstable and often hostile household. At a very young age, I discovered how addiction can sink its claws into the most loving of parents and hold them hostage despite how hard you cry at their feet to get sober. It was during some of the most chaotic times that my father would mentally check-out and I’d find myself watching him fishing from the bank of the Rogue River. Despite the ways he treated my mother and ignored acknowledging his addictions, I was drawn to him and developed a bond that never weakened through the years. Many would argue that my father wasn’t the best and there are even some who have said he wasn’t even a good one. In many ways, they would be right, but he was mine. He struggled to provide, he struggled to engage, and he struggled to get sober. Through it all, I saw beyond his shortcomings and understood his suffering. I had, in every sense of the term, become the co-dependent daughter of a suffering alcoholic. I felt the joy he felt while fishing, and I found solace in watching him cast. Evenings shifted from alcohol induced fighting between my parents to tying flies side-by-side with my dad. Life went on this way for a few more years, until their choices to feed their addictions lead to evictions and the loss of everything we owned. Despite being a lover of words, there are no words to describe what it’s like to find your seat at the back of a stale greyhound bus and wave goodbye to your father, not knowing if you’ll ever cast out beside him again. 

I can’t begin to describe who I am without describing the reasons I venture out into the outdoors and then make it a point to write about it. 

I am a loving mother of 3 children, whose father I divorced a few years ago. To navigate a divorce is a struggle, at best, but to experience a grueling custody battle is heartbreaking in every sense of the word. Around this time, my father was diagnosed with cancer and every attempt was made to visit him, fish with him, and make just a few more memories with him. It became a habit to call him after each time I fished to tell him of the salmon or steelhead I had landed or lost. The excitement that my report would give him ignited parts of him that were very much dying inside. 

In 2016 I lost my father. A year later, my mother passed away in my arms. I once again found myself a lost child, unable to fill the voids that felt bottomless. I wanted to run and scream their names into the wind and I wanted permission from the universe to fall apart. It has been through finding my place back on the river bank, albeit without my father by my side, that I have begun to heal while casting in his memory. It’s become my therapy, my time to recharge, and my time to process all that has changed in my life. Once the sun has gone down and my gear is packed up, I find it incredibly cathartic to write about it with the hope that, perhaps, my parents are reading my words and smiling. 

I fish to feel alive, and I write to remember.

Welcome to my blog. 

If this is your first and last stop on here, I’d love it if you could take a moment to share why you fish or what it is that gets you outdoors. 

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4 Comments

  1. I see a lot of similarities on our backgrounds. Although I come from a super stable family, I wound up a single parent when I was quite young. Fortunately, I have been fly fishing since age 4 and my connection with the outdoors has brought me through a few tough times. My father and I fished a lot in his final years and I found that we were slowly trading places in our relationship. That was the basis for me writing The Blackest of Canyons.

    Now my home is filled with fishing equipment, photos and memories that stretch back through the years of my grandfather, father and myself. In the end, there is always the hope of “one more cast.”

    Like

  2. Dear Casting Into Shadows,

    I don’t know how you found your way to my blog site and the fun pun/poem about opening day for fly fishing, but thanks for the “like.” I don’t fish much anymore, but my son (the fictionalized kid in the poem) is an expert fly fisher in Boulder, CO. The site of the “opening day” poem is a river in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky where we lived for seventeen years. I have lived along the shore of Lake Michigan in Southwest Michigan for the last 33 years.

    Your story is ever so poignant. Keep fishing and keep writing.

    By the way, when my late wife (mother of my son and daughter) died at age 49 of a cerebral hemorrhage,
    I went into therapy for two years and ran five miles a day for most of that time.

    I have kept running through the years. It’s great therapy.

    bob-dahl.com

    Like

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