In November 2021, I realized a lifelong dream by launching The House of DOTŁ’IZHI boutique in Iowa City. This venture had been a passion project since my early years. However, tragedy struck when my father succumbed to COVID on November 13, 2021. His passing left me with a profound legacy—the intricate art of beadwork and a deep connection to our cultural roots.
Amidst the sorrow, I found strength in utilizing my grief as a driving force. It became my mission to preserve traditions and breathe life into our cultural heritage. Even as the weight of loss lingered, I was determined not to let our customs fade away.
The challenges persisted, and on August 3, 2022, my world was further shattered when my brother fell victim to a brutal incident, enduring seven gunshot wounds to the chest and found dead in a car. The impact of this tragedy reverberated in ways I could never have imagined, testing my resilience and fortitude in ways I had never anticipated.
In October 2023, our family faced another devastating blow when my brother-in-law fell victim to a drunk driving accident and did not survive. The impact of this tragedy weighed heavily on my husband, resurfacing the emotions associated with the loss of my brother, creating a profound and painful echo of grief.
Over the past two years, I've found myself adrift, making regrettable decisions, placing trust in the wrong individuals, and often saying yes when I should have firmly said no. My creative spark, once vibrant, seemed to have extinguished, leaving me in a state of artistic inertia.
The question of how to bounce back from such profound loss and navigate the aftermath of personal and familial tragedies is undoubtedly complex. Finding the strength to create beautiful art amid the desire to escape the harsh reality is a formidable challenge. It's during these moments of despair that I hear my father's voice echoing in my head, reminding me of my identity as an Apache woman.
The guidance from my father's voice becomes a beacon, urging me to continue reconnect with my cultural roots, drawing strength from the resilience embedded in my heritage. Embracing my Apache identity becomes a source of inspiration, guiding me towards rediscovering my creativity and navigating a path toward healing. In the face of profound loss, it is often the echoes of our roots that help us find our way back to the essence of who we are and what we are capable of achieving.
In essence, your experiences, even the most painful ones, become integral to your narrative of strength, beauty, and worth. They shape the contours of your character and contribute to the unique tapestry of your life.
Beautiful Soul keep moving forward.