September 14, 2013
My boyfriend Ryan and I hosted a house warming for our first apartment. When everyone left I thought about my dad; I still hadn’t told him about my new place. We played phone tag all week and that evening I decided to call him again. He picked up after a couple of rings and we had a brief conversation. He asked me what I had planned for my birthday which was coming up and when I reminded him of my age he made me laugh by saying “Dang, that means I’m getting old…but I’m still a G!” 🙂 When I told him about our apartment, he was happy for us and was impressed that we found a nice place with decent rent. He then told me that he was out eating and would call me back later but as usual, he didn’t. I figured I’d call him again if I hadn’t heard back in a couple of days.
September 15, 2013
While sitting on the couch playing family feud and relaxing with Ryan, I got a phone call from my brother’s mom (my dad’s ex wife). She was crying hysterically and I thought she was just playing around. When I realized that she was serious and I was finally able to decipher what she was saying, my heart began to pound out of my chest, my palms began to sweat, and I felt nauseous. In that moment, it felt like the walls were closing in on me. My father had passed away unexpectedly…6 days before my birthday. In a blink of an eye my whole world flipped upside down.
This was the day that my heart broke.
That night and the days that followed, I couldn’t stop crying, I didn’t sleep well, I barely ate, and I was in a state of disbelief. Despite all of this, my inner voice rang loud and clear, telling me to stand up and be strong. I needed to be there for my little brother and sister. I needed to be there for my family, I had to be strong for them.
As soon as I arrived in Minneapolis, my work had begun. My dad left no will and no instructions. The responsibility of handling his estate fell on my shoulders and it has consumed my life for the past 7 months. It has been a challenging and overwhelming learning experience. Most people don’t even know the half of what I’ve been going through and haven’t been there to find out. I have days where I want to just ball up in a corner and cry but I know that’s not an option. It’s hard but I continue to hold my head up and move forward because I know that’s what I must do. I’ve had to be brave, doing my best to do what’s right while trying to keep the family from falling apart. It has not been an easy feat!
Although my legal and personal struggles are tough, nothing compares to the pain that I feel when I think about the fact that my dad is gone. It’s still hard to see RIP next to his name because it makes it all too real. It hurts that he won’t be here to make me laugh with his crazy jokes, give me advice on life/relationships, walk me down the aisle when the time comes, or be here to see the birth of his grandchildren, and so much more. That is a hard pill to swallow. I think about my siblings and how our dad won’t be there to celebrate big achievements in their life and help them when they need him the most and I feel sad for them. My family is hurting…all we have now are memories, which is a beautiful thing but at times leaves us yearning for what we can’t have, which is the opportunity create more memories with him. It’s as if time has stood still.
When it comes to my relationship with my dad, there are so many things I wish I had said or done differently…but I guess that’s how it goes. I hold on to all of the good times and sometimes cringe at the bad, working to not let the feeling of regret consume me. It’s a work in progress. Bottom line…I miss him and wish he wasn’t taken from us so soon. My dad’s death has taken a huge toll on me and has changed my life forever. With all that’s been going on I haven’t had much time to let it all out and it honestly scares me to think about what it’s going to be like once I get the space to do so.
I’ve read somewhere that when you lose a parent, you begin to see them for who they were as a person, outside of being your parent. For me, this is true. Since his passing, I have had the privilege of stepping into his shoes and seeing him as the man he was, not just as my dad. I say privilege because it has taught me a lot about him as well as life and people in general. My dad had such a big personality and heart. He had a strong presence, beautiful smile, and the loudest laugh you have ever heard, you couldn’t help but notice him when he walked into a room. 🙂 He touched many people in his short lifetime. His kids meant the world to him and he made sure that everyone knew it. He was very smart, accomplished so much on his own, and worked very hard to provide for himself and his family. He was a very loyal friend and a caring person who often times felt alone and hurt. By stepping in his shoes, I have come to find out why. No matter how hard you try in life, people will disappoint you. Life is unfair and it can wear you down to the point of losing faith. I see my dad’s struggle for what it was. Many times his love came through the form of anger because that was the only way he knew how to deal. Now I fully understand why.
My dad was a good man. Was he perfect? No, but he did the best that he could do and it showed. It is no doubt that he is loved by many. I just hope he knew it.
As the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. Although it is hard for me now, I have faith that a blessing is just around the corner. Through this experience, I have learned so much about myself and I have a new found appreciation for life. In losing my dad, I’ve been faced with my own mortality. The fact is, life truly is short. I have so many goals and dreams that I have not worked towards and I realize that my time is now. It’s time to make things happen! In memory of my dad, I want to be the best me that I can be and work hard to accomplish and create a life that I am proud of. That’s what he would want me to do.
Dad this post is dedicated to you. I love you with every piece of me and am thankful that you were such a big part of my life. You were a great dad and you have always meant the world to me and still do. I miss you beyond words. I hope I continue to make you proud!
Me and my dad in June 2012 at my college graduation party.
*Have you lost someone close to you? How have you dealt with the pain? Are you still dealing with grief and need someone to talk to? Share your experiences in the comments below.*