I am going to back up, give you some context.
I haven’t lived at my childhood home for several years now, but I am still slowly picking up the miscellaneous items that I had left behind. You know, the items that are cluttering up the closet in the guestroom. The last trip brought back all of my journals, scrapbooks and other creative collections. I started reading through them and wondered why the hell I wasn’t writing anymore. Sitting there reading what I had written during the darkest time in my life, made me wonder, what would my voice sound like now? Now that I was in a much better place. I had to find out.
Darkest time in my life you ask? Well… I was in high school, dealing with hormones, boys, girls, friends, enemies, cliques, bullies, sports, body image issues, my shameful academic status, and junior year, the loss of my father. When he passed, I stepped into a new place. My father had taught me many things; how to drive, play basketball, look at the stars, raise and love my family. He taught me to work hard and never let anyone tell you that you couldn’t do something. The importance of education – though I didn’t see it or appreciate it until I went to college. He taught me how to read blueprints and work with wood and power tools. To cut the lawn and split wood. To never take life or the people around you for granted. And he was gone. I had so much more to learn from him.
I remember standing in the funeral home, hugging my best friend who was crying and telling her it was going to be OK.
It was in the moment when I felt like I had lost everything that I found myself. I can’t say that I believe that there is a reason for everything, because no matter what losing my father has taught me, I would still rather have him here. But, to help me move forward, I see this as his last life lesson; he taught me to be a strong, confident, take no shit and get shit done kind of woman.
This year marks the 10th anniversary and makes the start of this journey all that more important. This is the first time that I am writing. With the exception of this post, this project will be the first time I am writing about something other than death. Inevitably, the topic will come up again as my husband has a similar story.
While working on my undergrad, I had to write a letter to someone I had lost. I of course, wrote it to my dad. I don’t know where that letter is today, but that’s ok, because it’d be so different. It’s go something like this
It’s been awhile. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about you. You’ve missed a lot.
I met a bad boy. I actually met him when you were still here, but nothing more than a friendship formed. You probably met him once r twice, as our paths crossed regularly. Spoiler alert -we’re married now.
I somehow made it through high school and graduated. I was never the academic achiever that you were, or hoped I’d be, but I did it. I did it well enough to make it to college. I thought for a while about going into aviation management like you. But that wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. I settled into human development, it just felt right. I minored in both justice studies and adolescent development, with the plan to go on a get my MSW. I had even gotten accepted into the program at my college. I wanted to work with at risk youth. But just like with losing you too soon, life had other plans.
That bad boy, turned fiance, and I welcomed your first grandson into the world a few months after I finished my degree. We started our family and I started what would turn out to be the best job I’ve had to date.
Fast forward to August 2014, my husband and I are pacing the halls of the hospital timing contractions as we prepare for grandson #2.
I wish you could meet them. You’d love them. Our oldest, Maddox, he twirls his hair when he’s tired, just like you used to. We talk about you a lot. The boys know about you, they’ve seen pictures and videos. Maddox knows why you aren’t here anymore, we’re always honest with him. Sometimes he even feels sad that you aren’t here for hi, or me. He’s a sweet boy.
Mom did a great job, but I wish you had walked me down the isle.
I miss you.
You move forward, you never move on.