Dear Dad.

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Dear Dad,

Sometimes it feels like yesterday. Sometimes it feels like it was 50 years ago. Regardless, I can remember everything about that day. 5 years ago today was the day you took your last breath. It was unexpected and unfair and basically the worst thing that has ever happened to our family. 46 years old is too young to die.

But you already know all of that. I am writing to you because it has been 5 years and I am still afraid of living life without you. It sounds stupid, I guess, because here we are. Life must go on. When someone dies, it doesn’t give you an excuse to shut down. You have to go back to work or school or whatever. You have to eat and bathe and just go back to “normal.” But I don’t even think that is possible. What is normal? When five years later it still feels like everything is a mess. It still feels like we are picking up pieces of a life that doesn’t even feel real anymore.

A lot has changed since you left and at every major moment I stop and think, “What would Dad say if he were here?” Would you be happy? Or sad? Or mad at something one of us has done? Definitely joking no matter what is going on. I can only imagine….I imagine the cheesy grin on your face as I walked toward the stage to get my college diplomas. Or the laughs we would share as I told you the horror stories of my first year of teaching. I imagine the fun you would have had as you watched your sons get married. The advice you would have for each of them. I imagine watching you and mom together, celebrating thirty years of marriage. Mostly, I imagine how different our family get-togethers would be if you were sitting right there with us.

I know that we will see each other again some day, so until then we have to keep moving. We have to keep experiencing. We have to keep remembering you. I will continue to tell my students about you and one day my children will know all about their goofy Papaw. It doesn’t feel like it’s enough. But I guess that is what your death brought us. A void. Life will never be enough without you living here with us.

I can’t say it enough, I miss you.  When things were dark, it was you who fixed them. You could literally make me feel better no matter what I was going through.  You were our biggest supporter. Most of all I miss your jokes. You could make anyone laugh. When I tell someone about you, thats what I say. He was the funniest Army guy you would ever meet. I’d sure give a lot just to hear you tell another story, even if I had already heard it a million times.   Really, I just miss you.  I’ll miss you every day of forever. Keep watching over us. And keep visiting me in my dreams.

“They say now you’re in a better place, and I would be too if I could see your face. You should be here.”

Until next time…

Lots of love,

Kristin, Sis, Sister Rose (Aka your perfect child)

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Just living life and missing you.

It is kind of bizarre how my grieving mind works. I know that I should take my dad’s passing and use it as a catalyst to change the world. Not just the world, but change the hearts of the people I know and love. What I mean by that is when my dad died, something inside me broke and I knew that it would never be fixed. I knew that it would help me love deeper and it would make me feel closer to my mom and brothers and sister in laws because they were with me through it all. I knew that it would make the little things that bother me or annoy me, seem not so big because after all, what could be worse than losing your dad? And for the most part, all of this is true. But sometimes when I am working or am in a bad mood, I forget just how trivial these things are. I have realized that anything small that is stressing me out today will probably be better tomorrow. I get stressed about planning my lessons, but then I get them done in no time. I get mad at my students because lets be honest sometimes they are a pain. Then I get to school the next day and have a perfect school day. Some days I stress about money but if I just wait a few hours, it doesn’t seem so bad. I struggle with just stressing for no reason when sometimes I just need to sit and take a breath.

I say all of this just to reiterate how trivial some things can be and just how much time I spend thinking about them when in reality they are not that bad. It isn’t worse than losing a parent. It isn’t worse than watching someone you love so much battling through a war with his own body. And watching him go from being the big, funny Army guy to someone who can barely get around by himself. Those are only memories I hold on to as a reminder to live life to the fullest. So this is my reminder to live life fuller and better than I am living right now. To remember that life will always throw me curveballs and there will always things to worry about but I am alive! I have a house and a career and a dog and family that I love. I will never be alone because I have them. I miss my dad more than I could ever put into words. I am sad when I think of things he wont be here for and the things he has already missed but I know that he is watching us and smiling and probably making fun of us because that is what he was always doing. Almost five years after his loss and I am choosing to use my memories and my heartache as a stepping stone for how I want to live my life.

 

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Why does it rain so hard on those who deserve the sun?

 

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