My mind feels full but my thoughts constantly barrage my senses. It’s difficult at this time to know exactly how things will turn out, what the future holds, and how long it will be before my life returns to any sense of normality. I know eventually as the hands on the clock continue to turn and I continue to rip away the pages of my daily calendar, that the days will slowly get easier. But for now, what should be a calming thought, thinking that the days will slowly get better, is still clouded by the thoughts that things will never be the same. Life as I knew it, and have known it for my entire life is gone. I’ve lost my Dad…one of the main driving forces in my life, and right now the reality that he is gone is just beginning to sink deep into my empty heart.
It has been a long time since I have poured my heart out, so I figured now is probably as good of a time as any. I hope that one day as I look back on this entry that I will see a snapshot of a person who felt pain, longing, and the deepest grief he has ever felt, but was able to stay strong and able to turn a great loss into a positive moment in his life.
I am now 35 years old. I guess I had always kind of figured that by this age I would maybe be married with a child or two and share the joy of young one’s with my Mom and Dad. I am now confronted by the reality that if children and a family do happen, that they will never know their grandpa. I guess I also kind of figured that I would be there for him when he got “older,’ to help him in and out of the van or if he ever required a wheelchair or something, that I would be the one pushing him around. I always assumed that I would take care of him, just like he has taken care of me. I never in my worst nightmares imagined that cancer would rip him quickly out of my grasp. I thought we had many more years together, hundreds of more phone calls, thousands of texts, and thousands more “I love you’s.” But here I am, faced with the reality that there is a very real possibility that I could live more years without my main mentor, my main encourager, and my best friend, than I had with him. That doesn’t mean that I’m ungrateful for the number of years I got to spend with him, but it’s hard to grasp that idea of spending that much time without him. It’s heartbreaking. It’s earth shattering. It’s every cliche from someone grieving that you can imagine.
“A merry heart does good like medicine to the soul.” –Dad (3/29/17)
Still less than a month out since he passed, I find the days to be marred by a dullness that I’ve never experienced before. The simple chats on the phone, just to hear each other’s voice is something that I miss so much. I miss telling him about my simple plans for the weekend and hearing him say, “that makes me happy.” I miss how he never failed to say “I love you,” no matter how brief the phone conversation was. I miss being comforted and encouraged by him. I guess it’s just easy to say that I miss my Dad beyond belief.
I wasn’t ready for my world to change like this. Not yet. I wasn’t ready to see the person who lived his life with a smile and showed genuine kindness to everyone he met, quickly fade away from us. But then again, I’m not sure many people are ever ready to lose someone they love. All I know is that even in what should have been his darkest days, learning that he had this horrible disease, and then learning that there was nothing that could be done, he showed what I can only describe as the most inspirational display of faith and strength that I have ever seen. In this hour of darkness, he referenced scripture, he told us to stay happy, and never stopped showing his incredible character. This is something that will stick with me for my entire life. Even at his weakest state, he continued to teach us how to be better people.
I know as the days begin to come and go that the hurt and pain I’m feeling will slowly fade and turn into some type of strength. I know that he wanted us to be happy, and that’s what I plan on doing…just not quite yet. Right now, I still feel like I want to cry off and on throughout the day, think about him nonstop and not let his voice that I can still hear in my head disappear. I want to think about him all day and I want to miss him. For now, I need to lean on my family and those closest to me for support, because right now as Keith Richards once sang, “only a crowd can make you feel so alone.”