Friday, December 23, 2011

A Year Without You

Life has a weird way of working out. One minute you are standing next to someone telling them how much you love them and then the next minute they are gone. A year ago I got ready for work just like any other day. As my dad made coffee we talked about our plans and the excitement of Christmas being only two days away.  I had my steelers beanie on and I was looking forward to watching the game with him that night. I went through the day as I normally would but the end result was anything but normal. 

That morning I spent with my dad would be the final moments I would ever spend with him. He passed away that morning, making the 23rd of December a day that I will never be able to forget. For some reason grief has a way of making you forget about a lot of things but the events of that day are something that will live on in my mind forever. 

As I traveled on a plane to Colorado it was the first time that I felt close to my dad. I soared through the air starring out the window imagining life in heaven.  For a little over two hours he was all I could think about and I sat there replaying the past year in my head. I know he is always with me. I know he will never leave my side but I still have a problem accepting that is all it will ever be. I can't help but think about that week and think there was more I could have done. If only I would have taken the time to notice things were different. But sadly that is something I can not change. 

Next week will mark the one year of the day we celebrated the amazing life my dad lived. I stood in front of family and friends and spoke of the incredible life he lived. Although I said what was on my heart I still feel there is so much more I could have said. I have re-read what I wrote over and over still wishing I could have done a better job. I mean he deserved that. 

I believe there comes a point in all of our lives where we begin to realize what truly matters. For me it was a shift in perspective and I began contemplating what it means to live each day as if it were our last. My goal for myself  every day is to affect at least one persons life in a positive way and to show them that I truly care about them. Some days are harder then others but right now all I can do is my best. 

For those of you who knew my dad you know he had this way of making people feel special. Every person he came in contact with was important to him. It didn't matter if he knew you for years or just met you, you mattered. I believe that is a quality he would want me to have and wants me to share with anyone I meet. 

I am thankful for the time I had with him because some people never get that. I know it's selfish for me to want more time but I think that's just human nature. We weren't created to deal with loss very well. In fact, I don't think we were prepared for the effects of loss at all. However, knowing there is so much more beyond the life we currently live helps with the pain. I know in my heart no matter how bad it hurts that I will see my dad again. I know that he will greet me with open arms and give me one of his hugs that I have been missing each day I wake up. 

As time continues to pass by the pain at this point only seems to increase. The cut is fully open right now and each time I think it has healed it's reopened with another event or memory from the past. The good news is it won't be like this forever. I know in my heart that I need to get through the new year before life can fall back into place. After next week is over there won't be as many "firsts" as there were the past year. The deep cut should begin to heal and slowly become less painful. There will still be times where the pain is greater then the previous day but as time goes by it won't be as painful when its reopened. I will learn and have learned to adjust to the life I have been forced to live knowing that my dad is always there. 

My year has been filled with a lot of ups and downs but there has also been a lot of good that has happened.   I have seen a lot of different people reach out and be there for me that I never expected would be. I have made some very important steps in a forward direction with an attempt to live as normal as possible. 

Early on I promised myself that I wouldn't allow my dads passing to hold me back from any place that was special to him. I returned back to Yannis Bistro for two amazing dinners, went to Stone Brewery, which was my dads favorite brewery, and also to the place he would take his last breath. Later in the year I celebrated his life by raising money for the American Heart Association and walked in his honor at the Heart Walk. Last week I returned back to my high school for the annual alumni game, which was the last weekend I spent with my dad. 

For me, all of those were big steps. They were moments and memories shared with my dad that were difficult to relive but I feel it's important to live as normal as possible. My dad wants me to be happy and wants me to make big decisions for myself. I finally signed up for classes and will be returning to school this coming January. I also finally did something for myself and I am spending Christmas in Colorado. I am honestly doing my best to continue moving forward in hopes of living a life that is worth something special. 

I thank you all for supporting me this past year. I never thought I could make it without my dad but with the help of everyone around me I am still taking the steps toward being happy again. Nothing can bring back my dad and nothing can take his place but I can still honor him in all that I do. I love my dad with all of my heart and today I miss him the same amount as I always do. There is no way for his passing to not affect me daily with the impact my dad had on my life. I will be happy again I know I will, but today I can't help but think of how different my life is without him here. 

Dad, I miss you so much and love you always and forever. Be with me today, tomorrow, and forever. Until I see you again I know you will always be right by my side. Your daughter I will always be. 

Merry Christmas &
God Bless,

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