This past month, my mind has been a mess of memories, thoughts, and feelings. I feel like I am in sensory overload. Three years ago today, my dad passed away and I can still remember every day he spent in the hospital, his last month with us. I wonder if that will ever go away or if will just fade into the back of my memories.
The day that he passed away, I made myself a little note on my phone, just moments after. It seems like an odd thing to do, but it was important to me to do at the time. And now, it’s one of the few things I have left on my phone from that very moment. It simply reads….
1:53pm 12/04/10 Goodbye Daddy… I love you so much and can’t believe you’re gone. My heart is broken.
And even still, as heartbreaking as that moment was, there was no where else I ever could have been. I needed to be there, with my family, holding his hand.
I think of my dad every single day, sometimes many times a day. A song, a movie, a memory, wanting or needing to talk to him, a meal…. Or it could be my wonder in seeing my niece and nephews and knowing that he would be amazed at how much they’ve grown. It could be anything. We talked about him on Thanksgiving, laughing about what he would be doing if he were there with us, sharing memories that we as a family have of him. The holidays will never be the same without him, as hard as I try. I have our Christmas tree up and it’s beautiful. I am hoping that the spirit he enjoyed at this time of year will somehow find it’s way to me this month.
If I could sit with him just one more time and talk with him, I often wonder what I would say. I need help solving some problems and more than ever need his guidance, but that seems selfish. I could share my excitement with him about losing weight. Or how proud I am of myself for running half marathons, something he never knew I could do. I could tell him about our crazy dogs – he knew Blue, but he never got to meet Ozzie and we’re sure they would be best buddies. We could share a favorite meal and a bottle of ice cold Peroni beer, his with a straw in it, his preferred way to drink it. Or we could listen to his favorite Big Band music….
But mostly, what I think I would say to him is how very much he is missed and how his life left such an impression on this family – his family – that anyone who knew him could easily see. I would tell him how different life is without him here to guide us along. I would share with him how he is with me everywhere I go and that we watch the sunset at Crystal Beach every month in honor of him. And most of all, I would tell him how very much I love him, how very much I miss him, and how he will always be my hero.