You begin to fear that one day, you will stop what you are doing and try to think about his laugh. That you will try your hardest to remember the sound of it. You will close your eyes. You’ll picture his smile, his crooked teeth, that dimple in his cheek, but you just won’t be able to hear his laugh. You will feel completely paralyzed with shock. How could you forget the sound of your own fathers laugh? It seems as surreal as not being able to recognize your own face. But you’ve heard the stories, you’ve read the blogs, you’ve seen the movies.
You will be reminded of the inevitability of death everywhere you go. Empty seats don’t look the same anymore, because you know that one day he will be gone and that empty seat will stay empty. That one song he loves wont make you smile, but instead, it will bring tears to your eyes, because you know that one day you, the sound of him singing along with it in the car will just be a distant memory.
You will constantly think about everything he’s going to miss. Your college graduation. Walking you down the aisle on your wedding day. Telling him he is going to be a grandfather . Holding your first child in his arms in the hospital, with tears in his eyes. You’ll think about all of those milestones. You will think about how your children won’t get to meet him and hear that laugh that you still pray you wont forget.
You won’t want to talk about it. If you don’t talk about it, if the words don’t slip from your mouth, then it won’t feel real. You’ll cringe at the words “I’m sorry” and “I’m here for you” and “You’re not alone”, not because they aren’t genuine, but because the more people offer their support, the more you realize you need it.
You’re going to wish you took more pictures together. You will look through your photo albums and cry because there aren’t enough with him. He is the light of your life, he is your hero, and all you have left to remember him by is a couple pictures you took on vacations with your family.
You’re going to wish you laughed more at his stupid jokes, even if they weren’t funny. You’re going to wish you said “I love you” more often. You’re going to regret slamming the door in his face in the seventh grade because of some stupid argument, because you know now that it wasn’t worth it. You’re going to wish you hugged him just a little tighter the last time you saw him, because who knows if it was the last hug you’ll ever get from him. You’re going to regret every single day that you didn’t tell him exactly how much he meant to you and how much you appreciated him.
The thing is, you still have time. You can still tell him you love him, you can still laugh at his stupid jokes, you can still take pictures with him, you can still hug him even tighter than the last time. Make the best of every second you have left with him because it could be the last. Cancer takes away time, something we all take for granted. It tells you that time doesn’t stop for anyone because life comes and goes by the numbers. But the meaning of time is impossible to define until you’ve realized the value of each moment. So take each moment, grab it, and hold on to it. And remember, no matter who tells you otherwise, you will never forget the sound of his laugh.