It has been nine years today since my dad unexpectedly passed away. Nine years of life that just kept moving on without him. Nine years of highs, lows, sickness, successes, sports, graduations, pets, holidays, birthdays and accomplishments. Nine years of life he didn't get to share with us here on Earth. I know he is sharing it with us from Heaven, but let's be honest...that just isn't the same.
I don't get overly emotional about the death of my dad anymore. It's been nine years. I've had a lot of time to process, to grieve, to remember, and to cry. If I'm being honest, June 8 rolls around each year, and I sort of forget it's the date of his death, but then I panic thinking I forgot it, and I have to poke around the internet to remind myself that his death did indeed occur on June 8. I don't like to remember this particular date. I'll never forget his birthday. I'll never forget my mom and dad's anniversary. But the date of his death? I don't like to remember it.
I get emotional over my dad on unexpected days. For instance, I can be driving near Fresno State in the Fall with the Bulldogs getting ready to play a big football game. That has reduced me to sobs. Another "out of the blue" crying jag will hit me when I heard any song by Josh Groban. I swear it's my dad talking to me through his songs! I think of you when I see cows and trains. In my head, I count the train car colors and thank the cows for my milk. I think of you when I see mailmen. I think of you when I go on a candy binge and eat circus peanuts. I think of you when I see old fashioned hard Christmas candy.
Dad, we miss you so very, very much. Gosh, you would have been so stinking proud of Evan and Hudson. Evan's graduation day was hard without you there. You would have been beaming with pride to see your grandson earning the most awards and reading his letter to the whole congregation. You would have loved seeing Evan play basketball. You would have been so excited to see him win contests this year. It's been a really neat year for that kid. We still have that little sea lion that you gave Evan from the post office. I don't keep a lot of things, but I'll never give that away.
Hudson reminds me of you quite a bit. I see those dark brown eyes of his and remember those last pictures I have of you and him at Easter with you wearing bunny ears. You would have been the best grandpa to sit and listen to Hudson's crazy long-winded stories. You would have loved to see him play flag football and basketball. You would have been so proud of what an amazing reader this kid is. You would have been so proud of him getting straight A's in school.
I hope you would have been proud of me. I'm finally going back to school to get my administrative credential. I'm not sure of my plans for the future, but I want to be ready for it if an opportunity presents itself. I hope you would have been proud of me as a mom and wife. I hope you would have been proud of me as a teacher.
Sometimes I think back and wonder if you were aware of what was happening that last day. I also wonder if you were in pain before that day, but for reasons only you will know, you didn't go to the doctor to have it checked out. You were in pain most of your life. It hurts my heart to think of you being scared on that last day. It happened so fast. No warning. No idea that you were hurting. I know that you heard me when I saw you in the hospital that night. You squeezed my hand and made a little squeak to let me know you were with me.
I know you are still with me. I just wish it was here. It sucks not having you here. I am having a hard time processing the fact that you have been gone for nine years. That first year was filled with so many "first times without Dad" moments. Then life moves forward and we get busy with the day-to-day job of bills, school, grades, dinner, sports, and more.
I just wish we had had more time. It comforts me to think of you watching us from Heaven. There was one very specific incident where you "spoke" to me. I know without a shadow of a doubt that you were telling me that you were with me. I'd love to "hear" from you again!
I just want you to know that we are good. Eric and I have been married for 15 years, we are raising two incredible boys, and we have puppies. Oh my word you would LOVE the puppies! My great sadness is that Evan's memories of you are fading and Hudson was only a year and a half when you left. I keep you alive through stories. The kids know you. I just wish they had had the chance to know you here.
Keep watching over us. I love you, Dad.