Dad, One year ago…

One year ago, today…

It seems like a minute…

It seems like an eternity…

One year ago, today, may have been the hardest thing I have experienced in my life. I lost my hero. I lost beer drinking buddy. I lost my friend. I lost the only man that I knew would never hurt me. The only man that I knew would always be on my side. The only man that I knew would be, forever, proud of me through good and bad. The man that taught me the meaning of love. The man that taught me how to fish. The meaning of dedication. The meaning of kindness. The meaning of family. And strength. And life. And God.

One year ago, today, my father took his last breathe. He went to be with our father and savior. Life has not been the same since. I thought it would get easier, but it doesn’t. When you lose a parent, you never stop missing them. You never stop wanting to call them. You never stop wanting to share your life with them. The empty feeling never really goes away.

After a while, you just get used to it. You get used to the hole that they left in your heart. You get used to missing them. It doesn’t go away. It doesn’t stop hurting, you just learn to exist with the hole. You learn to function with a little part of you being broken. You learn to look for the the light. You learn to find joy where you can. You learn to cherish the memories.

There are moments where it just hits you. Moments where you can’t breathe. Moments where it hurts so bad that you would give anything to go back just one year and one day to when he was here. And then, you remember his illness and the pain he was in and the suffering he endured. You remember how hard it was to watch him fight. He fought so hard to be here, just one moment longer, for us. You remember, he wouldn’t want you to be sad and so, you pick up your broken pieces and you try to move forward.

And you do. You laugh. You live. You love. You pray. Boy, do you pray. You enjoy life. And no matter how much you do, there will always be those moments where you just won’t be okay. What I have learned is that is okay. You have to experience those moment. You have to give in and not fight them. The harder you fight them, the harder they hit. You learn those moments pass, so you just have to live in them to get thru them. They become less frequent. You get better at picking up the pieces. You get better at pulling yourself back together. But… you know you will always have those moments. You will always have that hole in your heart. You will always miss them. That’s just how loss is. And when it gets to be to much, you turn to God. God will get you through.

I don’t have a Dad. It took me a long time to say that out loud. It took me along time to accept that he was not going to be there when I went home to Pennsylvania. He is gone and I miss him with every fiber of being. He is with God. And so I will pray. One year ago, today…I said my last goodbye to him. One year ago, today, I cried more tears than I knew my body held and I prayed more prayers than I thought that God could hear, but he answered every one. God always shows up.

One years ago, today…

What a year it has been. I ended my marriage. I split the custody of my small boy. I bought my first house by myself. I bought a new car. I took my small boy to Disney. I was diagnosed with anxiety. I started dating. I met a wonderful man. I lost a wonderful man. I lost some friends. I made some new ones. I got a promotion. I got a hamster. I found a new hang out. I found a new hobby. I grew my business. I deepened my relationship with God. I found faith when I didn’t have the strength. I found support when I didn’t know it was there. I became stronger. I laughed. I cried. I lived. I loved. I prayed. I went on.

So, today, I mourn his lost and celebrate the fact that I would have never been able to accomplish what I have this year if he had not been the man he was. He had a quiet faith that lead me to seek God in my darkest hour. In his last months on earth, he taught me what true strength was. Every moment that I wanted to give up, I leaned on him. I leaned on his memory. I leaned on the strength that he taught me. The strength I witnessed. And when I couldn’t, I gave in and allowed myself to feel that pain. I allowed myself to cry. I prayed because that was all I had. I leaned on God. I showed myself grace because that is what he would have done. That is what God does. That is what he would have wanted.

So, today, Daddy. I love you more than I was ever able to express and I am so incredibly blessed that God gave you to me. My life is so insanely messy and beautiful and blessed and I have you to thank for that. You gave me the strength to stand on my own two feet and chase my dreams. You gave me the courage to never settle for less than I deserved. You gave me the confidence to be unapologetically me.

I wrote this in a blog shortly after my dad passed and it still rings true. “Today, I know, my dad left this world a better place. Through his legacy of kindness, he left behind so many people to care for us in our time of need. I only hope that someday, I can do the same. Someday, I will see him again, I will hug him again, I will fish with him again, we will clink beers and laugh about the good old days. I will tell him, I wished I knew this all when he was with us, but then again…maybe, just maybe, he planned it this way. He was a sneaky guy. I guess I am not meant to know, so for now, I will miss him and will be at peace knowing that he is with our Heavenly Father watching over us and smiling knowing, we will be okay.” (Read that blog here.)

And I am okay. I wasn’t then. I didn’t know if I would be. I wasn’t okay with the feelings and emotions but this year has taught me that those feeling are what makes us human. Those feelings make me who I am. The tears are just of reminder that I am missing something really good. Something really special. I will never forget him. I will never not miss him. I will always have moments where it gets so hard I want to give up but I will remember, in the midst of chaos, sparkle. Don’t let life dull your shine.

Much Love,

The Manicured Mom

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