Grief is a funny thing. It makes some things incredibly hard to get through, yet in other things it feels like it’s the catalyst behind you pushing you the way you need to go. It makes the days and years pass by as slowly as ever, yet quick as lightning. It can find you in moments when you feel like you can’t take the next step forward, only to shove you with it’s next breath.
4 years ago today, I got a phone call from my Dad’s number, only it wasn’t him on the other end, it was an EMT that I knew personally. When he told me Dad had had a heart attack, I immediately told him “I’ll be right there”, only to hear his voice pause, and then carefully say “Lacy, he didn’t make it”. You never forget that moment. What you were doing. Where you were. The numbness, tingling, shock and disbelief that quite literally knocks you to your knees. Time standing still. I swear to you that it felt like 5 years for my husband to get to the house after I’d called him to tell him the news. It took 10 years to drive to my Mom’s house where an officer waited with her for me to come and tell her that Dad was gone. Then there’s the weeks of waking up at night, even after the funeral, thinking “I wonder if the doctors could try _____________”. Waking in the morning trying to determine if it was all a bad dream. But your life is forever changed from that point forward.
I’ll never forget the dream I had a few months after he passed away. I dreamt that I was at Mom & Dad’s house sitting in the family room on the couch when suddenly Dad walked out of the bedroom hallway through the family room and out to the garage with my 2 oldest nephews in-tow. I looked around at everyone else in disbelief….finally asking aloud to everyone else “Do you see him?”, to which no one answered. They acted as if nothing was amiss. I followed him out into the garage, constantly calling out “Dad?” – he was ignoring me, it seemed. I kept repeating it. “Dad??”. Each time a little more desperation in my voice. He was busy helping the boys with a project of some sort, and I finally yelled “DAD! Can you hear me?” – and without missing a beat, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “I can hear you Lace. What? Do you think I’m deaf?” – truth be known, he was a little deaf in life, but I think this was him telling me that he hasn’t gone anywhere, and he can ALWAYS hear me. He can hear my prayers. He can hear my worries. He’s just not here physically anymore.
I fully believe that we are put on this earth for a certain amount of time, and when it’s our time to go, it’s our time. Our lives are full of lessons and trials – losing Dad happens to be one of ours. This day is no harder than any other day to me. I miss him no more today than I do any other time. This date is only a marker for how long I haven’t seen or hugged him physically, or been teased by his relentless wit. I still believe he’s right by our side, and if we are still enough, we can even hear him pushing us on, telling us to knock it off when needed, and wishing we could see the BIG picture he can see now. It doesn’t make it easier, but we have no choice but to keep going. Keep pushing forward. So that’s what we’ll do…every.single.day!
Here’s to you Dad.