10 years ago I went to school with two loving parents. 10 years ago I came home from school to one grieving parent. 10 years ago my heart broke into a million pieces. 10 years ago everything I once knew was gone, forever. 10 years ago my best friend took their own life. 10 years ago my mother not only became a widow but a single mother as well. 10 years ago I was forced to face the hardest tragedy that I have yet to overcome.
I was 11, barely. My birthday was only the month prior, and while things weren't peachy keen and we weren't a picture perfect family, we were still whole. Who would have ever thought barely a month later we would be forever changed. I knew my dad was sick. I had been made aware of his depression. However, I was all of 10 years old. I couldn't fully grasp the depths of his illness or the potential outcome. I also don't think anyone thought they needed to brace me for what was to eventually come of his illness.
Today, at 21 years old I still haven't fully grasped what he was going through and how it possibly led him to the decision he made that day on January 28th, 2009. The day that changed me and my life to come forever. That day made me fatherless. That day has made it so I won't experience my father on my arm as I walk down the aisle. I won't share a father-daughter dance. My future children won't have a grandpa that will spoil them endlessly.
10 years have quite literally flown by. I say literally because most of my days are just that. They breeze by as I feel life flashing before my eyes. I'm stuck in the past. I'm stuck in all the days prior to January 28th, 2009. I'm stuck in the time where my family was complete. I'm stuck in the time where life still made sense, where it was all rainbows and butterflies. I can't help but think if there was anything in those days that I could have done. What did I not see? Did others see it? Was I the only clueless one? How does this even happen?
While time has passed quickly, with that times does come some healing. I don't show my pain. I don't wallow in my sufferings. I don't publicly shed the tears that only my pillow will see. Anyone reading this who truly knows me knows me as happy. They know me as a girl with a smile permanently attached to her face. As a girl whose ambitions and dreams are not held back by the tragic loss of her father. However, what they don't know is that it still hurts just as much as it did on that day 10 years ago.
The older I get the more I am able to process my loss. My father wasn't my first even. Two years prior I lost my beautifully talented and gifted Aunt Nancy, the next year my vibrant and kind-hearted cousin Lisa, finishing this tragedy tribology with the loss of my own father. Through all this loss many life lessons have been learned. I know not to take each day for granted. I know the importance of letting your loved ones know how you really fell. I know not to go to bed angry. To make amends. To live each day to the fullest. The lessons go on and on.
However, not everything comes with age. They say time heals. However, I think you just begin to adjust, but you don't ever really heal. How can you? How can you make yourself whole again when one of the biggest parts of you is missing? With age, I have gained a sense of "understanding". I don't understand why he did what he did, but I understand now that I never will. I understand that in no way was it my fault. I understand that I am stronger than the tragedies I've been struck with. I understand that it is okay to be the happy person I truly am. Being and showing my happiness doesn't mean I've forgotten about my father or that I've moved past what has happened to me.
10 years of trying to seek unrealistic answers have now gone by. 10 years of grief has gone by. 10 years of waking up and remembering he's never coming back have gone by. 10 years of wishing I could go back in time has gone by. 10 years of feeling every emotion under the sun towards my dad have gone by. 10 years ago my life changed forever.
I will never, ever stop loving you, dad. You are forever in my heart.
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