Saturday, July 18, 2009

Four Months Later

Dear Dad,
It was four months ago today that you breathed your last breath here on earth and went on to your home in heaven. I think of you often there, wondering what you're doing, wondering if you see me, contemplating what your new life must be like.

I know you are with Jesus, I know you are happy, and I know you are pain-free. It is these things alone which make your leaving possible to bear.

It is so hard down here without you, though. I keep waiting for the day to come where every Wednesday I won't wake up counting how many weeks it's been since you passed away. I have become accustomed to the pictures of you I have around my house, but when I come across one I haven't seen in awhile the tears and longing are instantaneous, the pain still crippling. My grief has changed in that it is not a constant, minute-by-minute battle, but it still strikes every day, and the intensity of it is the same as it has always been.

I miss you, Dad. I miss your smile, I miss your voice, I miss you telling me you love me, I miss hearing you say my name, I miss watching you with your grandchildren, I miss talking about the weather with you, I miss you asking me about my job, I miss your fatherly concern over every aspect of my life.

No one else can give that to me. No one can love me like you loved me. No one else will ever have the same vested interest in my life that you did. You were my father, my counselor, my cornerstone, my friend, my invincible, powerful, strong and mighty Dad. My rock.

People keep telling all of us kids and Mom that a day will come when it won't hurt so bad. That there will be a time when we can look at pictures of you and feel happiness instead of hurt. That life will go on, and your memory will still be alive, it just won't be so painful to remember you.

I can't even fathom what that will feel like, or when that will ever be. Today, Dad, I still miss you more than ever. Even more than I did on the day you died. With life continuing on without you it feels more wrong than it did before. I expect to see you, or hear you again. So much time has passed that it seems only right that you should be walking through my door, as if you were just on an extended vacation.

I don't know if I'll ever be able to accept the finality of your loss in my life. I feel like I'll always be on the lookout for you, just waiting for you to turn up again. Eliza thought she saw you in Walgreen's the other day, and I did too. I heard her say, "Papa! Papa! Papa!", while pointing to a man who had your same build, your same gait, and was wearing clothes similar to what you would wear. Before reality came crashing down on me I thought to myself, "He's come back!", and before I could stop it from happening, hope and joy filled every ounce of my being, and for a millisecond I was about to make a mad dash into your arms.

Needless to say, you weren't in Walgreen's that day.

I don't know if you can read any of these words I write to you. That is another thing I've had to adjust to since you've been gone. For almost a year and a half I was able to write all about you and write for you, knowing that you were on the other end reading every word I wrote down. You were always so gracious and complimentary. You would remark to me about how well I knew you, how perceptive I was when it came to you, how you couldn't hide any of your feelings from me.

That's what I miss most of all, Dad. The closeness we had come to share. I relied on it more than I knew. Your approval meant so much to me. I just wanted to be a daughter you respected, and admired, and were proud to call your own...

Four months has passed, and it could just as easily be four days, or four years. I have come to realize that grief has no timetable, no calendar, no set amount of days before it runs it's course. You are just as much on my heart now as you were in March, and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon.

You were so wonderful, Dad. I would give anything for just one more day with you here. But a good friend said to me this week, "If he was given the chance to come back here, he wouldn't. He would just say, 'Bring my family to me someday.' "

And so I'm on my way back to you. Maybe not today, or tomorrow, or in the next few years, but I will see you again. Until then, my beloved, treasured father, you are never far from my heart.

All my love forever,

Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day envious that you are with my Dad. Please tell him we love him and miss him. Tell him his legacy of loving You still lives on through all of us who knew him.
Please give him a hug, and tell him it's from me. Tell him that there will be plenty more where that came from someday.
You've got a good man up there with You, Lord. Thanks for letting us have him for a little while. What a gift You gave to us all...
In your Name I pray,

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