Last year I shared a post titled 13 years ago. This time, it’s 14 years ago. Both were written because today is the anniversary of my Dad’s death. Here is a little from last years post:
13 years ago today my Dad died. He was not old. He was not ready. He still had a lot of life to live, but still, 13 years ago today my Dad died. He was a remarkable man. Full of life and love and talent and more personality than any one person should be allowed. He could do anything. I mean that. I never saw him throw his hands up and say ‘I give up’. He played the drums (self-taught)….fished, camped, sang, gardened, cooked, danced, played golf and could build absolutely anything from a thought in his head.
He was a dog man. He loved his dogs like children…he would argue that that was not true…but it was. He could (and did) make friends with anyone including the person in line next to him at the grocery store. He loved practical jokes and was the life of any party. He wore a cowboy hat and boots even though he lived his whole life in New England. He played pool and loved cards and dice…cribbage and horseshoes. He was competitive as all get out and would get mad if he lost…lol….it’s awful but totally true.
He would cry when he got my new school pictures and one time when I lost a bunch of weight he casually told me that I ‘really should stop because I didn’t look like Nikki anymore’. He was affectionate and warm. He had a short fuse and was explosive (Am I describing him or me?) He was generous and had eyes that sparkled when he laughed….kinda like a little kid up to no good.
Recently a fellow blogger asked us to share one of our favorite memories from our childhood. I said this: My Dad worked nights and when he would come home in the middle of the night he would make himself something to eat, ending with him laying on the couch watching old movies and eating popcorn. I would get up and stand at the end of the couch behind his head, silent and watching with him until he would say…Come on Nikki…then I would climb up and plop my butt behind the curve of his knees and let my legs hang over his….and he would share his popcorn while we watched that old movie. I was very little when this happened yet I can still remember how safe I always felt with my Dad.
My Dad’s death had a profound effect on me. I’ve shared my story before. It’s not really important today, but I’ve struggled deeply to come to terms with his death. I can’t say that I have. It’s something that comes and goes. One year it may hit me hard…the next not as much…this is one of the bad years
14 years ago today my dad died.
Today I celebrate his life.
I miss him just as much as I did last year and the year before that and the year before that….
But over the last 14 years, I’ve come to learn that November 14th is just a day. A really terrible day that I don’t like to think about but still…just a day. For many years it over-shadowed ALL the other days my father lived. I wasn’t able to think about his life because all I thought about was his death, the pain it caused me and how to get rid of that pain.
What I’ve learned through losing him is this….
When we lose someone that is part of our core being we are always going to have a hole that their presence once filled. I am of the belief that that hole stays a hole and just becomes a part of who we are. Tying to fill it, heal it, close it…is sort of wasted effort. I think we must come to terms with the hole. Accept it as part of us. Use what it’s taught us to help others and when it needs some extra tending…tend to it by simply shining love on the hole and being kinder to ourselves. This is key to living life without those that we love. The hole my dad left behind is not a burden, it’s actually a reminder of how lucky I was to have such a deep and loving connection to my father.
Today the hole left behind needs more tending. So I’ll tend to it with love, memories, and a deep gratitude for all the days I got to have with my dad.
Thanks for reading~