Tomorrow marks 5 years since my dad woke up in the middle of the night with chest pains and less than 10 minutes later he was gone.
5 years. It doesn’t seem possible.
About a week ago, I started to get this sense of dread and foreboding. I feel like the date August 3rd will be cemented in my brain forever. I’m aware of it’s approach and gauge so many other things on my calendar around this date.
It’s true that in the past several years, I can recognize some of the “good” that I think we all look for after going through tough times. I think about Heaven more that I ever have before. I know that no matter how much I might feel uncomfortable going to funerals where a friend has lost their parent or loved on; it is absolutely the right thing to do. I can offer some guidance and empathy when others walk through the same path. I know fully that my father is in a much better place and doesn’t miss this world and the things in it.
But there’s still some painful things that I don’t know if I will ever be okay with.
- I never got to say good-bye to him. I was away for the weekend when it happened and my last conversation with him involved where I left my car keys (I had borrowed his SUV to take on my trip and left my car with him). The last text message I have from his was him informing me that he had let my dog lick his ice cream bowl. This was one of those things he did mainly because he knew I didn’t approve. A sweet and funny memory as a last text, but not a true good-bye.
- My sweet niece Tessa, the one who holds my heart, she was born 3 1/2 weeks after my dad died. He never got to meet her, never got to see her big brown eyes, so like his own. Never got to see her crinkled up nose when she laughs and all the expressions her eyes can do. This just breaks me. I think he would have been as in love with her as the rest of us are. That she never got to meet him or call him Papa or get her own little bag of jelly beans from him (he used to bring the girls their own little bags of Jelly Belly’s every time he would visit them) is so hard to come to terms with.
- I feel like my brothers and I have settled in to our adult lives more in the last 5 years than at any point before. We all own homes, Sam has graduated college and is working on his master’s, the rest of us have jobs that we are good at and that we enjoy. These are some pretty big steps we’ve all taken and he didn’t get to see any of them.
- Not being able to see his granddaughters’ grow up and turn into these pretty amazing people. They are all full of personality and opinions. He doesn’t get to see who they are turning out to be.
- He didn’t get a chance to retire. To not have to work long hours, be gone for days at a time. He didn’t get a change to travel places with my mom; to sit in the shade and fish or read a book. He always talked about how he would like to buy an RV when he retired so he and my mom could see the US and visit the grand-kids. I know that he also would have loved to have visited England and Ireland.
I truly believe that he is in a better place than the rest of us are. That he no longer has pain or sorrow or regrets. And there is a definite peace that comes from that. Knowing that I will see him again one day does ease a lot of the pain I feel.
But some of these unknowns, to not understand the timing of all of it, the things I mentioned above, I don’t know if I will ever get a peace about them. If I will ever feel settled.
He was not perfect by any means; he could be grumpy, impatient, and stubborn.
But I was his girl.
I knew that he loved me unconditionally.
And I miss him.