January 11, 2001 is the day my dad went to be with the Lord. That’s what I say and that’s what I believe but what I feel… Is that was the day I lost him forever. Not for all eternity no, but for all the rest of my days here on earth. That’s been 15 years ago and some say “time heals all wounds.” Or “It gets easier as the years go by.” I don’t find that to be true at all. For me every year is just more terrifying. My heart aches so much that I can’t even put it into words. I still have nightmares of the night we found him. It’s always so vivid and so real I wake in a panic covered in a cold sweat with a pool of tears down my face and soaking my pillow. Normally I’m not able to sleep for the next few nights. I keep all these emotions and dreams/nightmares to myself and maybe in some way that’s why I suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. I just don’t want to relieve them… My first panic attack started about 3 years ago. The same year I realized I had been without my dad the same amount of time he was with me here on earth. 12 years… I was only 12 when he died. I have now lived my life without him longer than I did with him. I didn’t have him for so many important moments in my life. My drivers test, graduation, my wedding, the births of my kids…I know without a doubt my little girl would be one of his favorite grandchild. She’s identical to me! Not that I was his favorite child, but I was his baby girl. And any parent knows they hold that child in a different Place. That’s your last baby, the last firsts, the last of any need for keeping around baby items, the last snuggles…
He use to always tell me I didn’t have to do yard work because I was his precious little princess. I remember still all the things he would say to me, but I have forgotten his voice and I have forgotten how he smelled. That’s terrifying to me that I can’t remember those things about him. When I was younger I use to go smell all sorts of men cologne/after shave to find his scent. The sales lady probably thought I was nuts. What teenage girl smells men’s cologne? I often look at pictures of him that I have here at my house but none of them do justice. Yes it’s what I remember but remembering his face when I’m awake and remembering him in my dreams are very different. In my dreams he is so real I just want to hold on to that image. He never talks in my dreams, though I assume it’s because I can’t remember his voice.
There were many nights I would wake up around 3:00am and find him watching tv in his rocking chair. He always rocked me until I felt sleepy again then I’d walk back to my bed. There have been many night since he has been gone I wish he could just hold me and tell me it was ok. I have had struggles many don’t know about. Being who I am prevents me from feeling as though I can share my struggles openly. I often just put on a brave face and act like nothing is wrong.
Thinking about how hard this is on me seems so selfish when I think how hard this must be on my mom. She lost her husband…her love…her rock…her other half…her kids father. I couldn’t imagine the pain she felt and still feels. I couldn’t imagine how hard it is to lose the person you planned to grow old with. The person that is suppose to help raise your children. To go from working mom to working mom and dad. I know I didn’t make it easier on her like I should have. I wasn’t what you’d call the “angle child” that would be my lovely sister. After my father passed I didn’t handle it well. I took it out on my poor mother as if it was her fault. I knew it wasn’t but when you have all that anger and grief it has to land somewhere. I just thank God everyday for such a strong and loving Christian mother.
Today I am hurting…deeply… Today I will hold my kids a little tighter and I will cherish every second with my family.