You were my first sight at my high school graduation. You were among the most honored of parents, watching your little girl cross the stage and accept her diploma. I had no idea that was going to be the last time I was going to see you outside a cold, dark hospital room.
I didn’t have the strength to talk to your doctors. I didn’t have the capacity to accept what they were saying. You didn’t either, which is why you didn’t want me to know until I had to.
I didn’t want you to see me sad. I didn’t want you to feel my heartbreak. I didn’t want you to watch me cry. I didn’t want you to experience more pain. I wanted to protect you just like you protected me. No amount of medicine or doctor care could protect you anymore from the inevitable.
You asked me to come over and sit with you, I couldn’t touch you. The moment I grabbed your pinky, it became real. The courage to say the words that we were all avoiding escaped, and although there was nothing said, the look you gave me spoke enough truth; I had days left to be with you.
I stepped away your side, and I ran as fast as I could. Out of the dreary room, passed the stark white halls of the oncology unit, and into my mother’s arms. All the strength I had was left behind on the tear stained floors of the ward, and for fifteen minutes, my mind was numb, my body was shaking, and I was running out of air.
I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t want to hear anyone talk about what happens ‘afterwards’. I didn’t want to know about your life ending when mine was barely starting.
26 days before you died, I was sitting on the far edge of your bed. You were in and out of sleep. I asked you if you were proud of me. It took you almost 18 years to say the words ‘Are you kidding me? I’m so proud of you.’ I grabbed your hand and wiped my tears with another. He said to me ‘your mom and I love you more than anything in this world, never forget that.’
On August 10th, 2015, I got my driver’s permit. I called you immediately to tell you. You grunted at me. I was relieved to hear you breathe. On August 14th, 2015, I took my first college placement tests. I had no idea that I would be receiving a call at 1:45pm saying you had said goodbye.
It’s been two years since you’ve passed away. I’ve needed you every single day since. I’ve needed you to show me how to do my taxes. I’ve needed you to help me get the scratch off my car. I’ve needed you to be my daddy again.
I hope I’m making you proud.
I hope I’m making the right decisions.
I hope that you are as happy with me as happy as I am with myself.
I hope you’re okay with me moving across the country to follow my dreams.
I hope you know that I’m truly doing the best I can in lieu of your absence.
I hope you know that I do everything with the grace and poise that you taught me.
I hope I’m making you proud.
‘Remember.’ ‘Daddy loves you.’ ‘That’s right, peach.’