Just last week was the ninth anniversary of my father’s death. I was thirteen when I lost my dad suddenly. I remember every second that followed my mom telling me what had happened the night before. What followed were days of crying, trying to piece together why he had been taken from me so soon.
I had shared a phone call with my dad what was likely just minutes before he passed away. After I hung up, I realized I had forgotten to say, “I love you” before we said goodbye. I didn’t bother calling back because I planned to call him back in a couple of days. Instead, he passed, and all I could think about is if he passed knowing that I loved him.
As many times as my mom would tell me that he knew it, I still have yet to shake those thoughts nine years later. I’m still slowly healing, but that doesn’t make up for everything.
I know you think about everything your dad will miss, just as I have. Maybe you had a vision of your dad one day walking you down the aisle, but now instead you are wondering how exactly you will keep him incorporated in your wedding day.
I have always wanted kids, but it makes me sad to think that they will never have the chance to meet him. I will often wonder how I will tell them about him. Will I tell him about the monster games that we played at the park and that no matter how many times we would play, he never acted sick of it? Will I tell them that I was holding my dad’s hand and walking down a dirt road when I saw my first shooting star?
Will I tell them about his life trials? Yes, I want them to know that second and third and fourth chances are okay to give, especially when they’re for people that you know love you. My dad wasn’t perfect, and I want my kids to understand how forgiveness is what helped both of us through his trials. At the time of his death, I was so proud of how much he had turned his life around.
I know there’s times when you miss his hug, and on a bad day, you know that the only cure for whatever you’re going through is being wrapped in the safehaven that is his arms. Sometimes, when I’m having an extra tough day, I wrap my arms around myself and try my best to imagine him hugging me. I know it hurts so much to think that you won’t ever be able to hug him again, but I know in those moments where I am hugging myself, he’s reaching down and hugging me from heaven.
There are so many experiences that I know my dad didn’t get to be a part of and more will come in the future. I know when it comes to holidays and birthday after birthday, you almost feel numb. You want to imagine how your dad would be cheering from the stands when he heard your name called at graduation.
You want to think about how your dad would have fit into every big and little moment in your life. I often think about what it would be like to call my dad from college, frazzled with stress and deadlines. I think about what sorts of advice he would give me, and how he would make me feel okay again.
It gets easier. You stop crying as often, and you’ll remember that you have made it this far. Although going almost an entire lifetime without him seems impossible, you’ll do it because you know it is what he would have wanted. He is with you always, carried close in your heart for as long as you live.
You’ve suffered an unimaginable heartbreak, and somehow any hardship that life throws at you has nothing on it. You’re one tough cookie, and you should know that your dad would be so proud of you. I know it can be cliché to think, but you were loved by him more than you’ll ever understand.
Your dad never left you when he passed away because he left you his hands to help you pick up the pieces of your broken heart, his feet to guide you when you’re lost, his smile to make you laugh, his eyes to help you see the bigger picture, his arms to wrap you up in a hug, and his heart to beat for yours when you miss him too much.