Today is the one-year anniversary of my father’s death. Not a day that should be celebrated I’m sure, but a milestone nonetheless. We have tearfully made it through the first Easter, Father’s Day, Birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without him. The first ones are always the most difficult.
My father died from cancer. He fought the battle for many years, but it just wouldn’t be beaten. Since I live about eight hours away, I was not able to spend as much time with him as I would have liked. I thank God I was able to be there when he took his last breath. And I am grateful that he is no longer suffering. But I am also sad and sometimes angry that his grandkids won’t have him around as they grow up, that he’ll never walk my sister down the aisle, that my mom won’t have him to grow old with, and that, well, I just wasn’t done with him yet. It’s just not fair.
Dad was a fun guy. I loved to spend time with him even if it was just a quick trip to the store or watching a football game. He loved riding roller coasters, playing baseball, and playing drums. He was a big fan of the Redskins, the Orioles, the Beach Boys, and the Beatles. Oh, and he loved ice cream! And he could make us laugh until we cried, usually at the dinner table. A tradition I have happily continued with my family.
Dad was the world’s biggest procrastinator! A trait my daughter and I have inherited, much to my husband’s chagrin. Yet he still became a successful small business owner and provided well for his family, even working a second job to put me through college. He never complained. I try to remember that when I get into a slump. He always had faith in me. This inspires me to carry on and keep trying even when it seems hopeless.
Dad was also a big kid. He would join in our dodgeball and kickball games, pelt us with snowballs, and drown us (not literally) with the garden hose. He taught me how to throw a football, ride my bike, and find the best hiding spots for hide and go seek. For me this is the hardest part to deal with. Paw Paw, as his grandbabies called him, adored his grandkids. He won’t be there to teach them the best hiding spots. My son, Doug, was blessed to have him for seventeen years, but my daughter only got ten. She may not remember him the way Doug will. And my nephews are even younger. What if anything will they be able to recall about their grandfather? His sweet grandkids have lost more than they will ever know. And that absolutely breaks my heart.
I miss him every day. Rarely a day goes by that I am not wiping away tears. A Beach Boys song on the radio, or a photo of him that I had forgotten about will make me weepy. Or I realize a milestone he will miss like my son’s high school graduation this June and my daughter’s new braces. Sometimes a thought of him comes to me for no reason. Still takes my breath away.
This post feels a bit choppy. There is so much about him I want to share that it was difficult to try to keep this short and simple. Today I really just wanted to mark this milestone and share a little bit of him with all of you. There will be more stories down the road.
I miss you, Dad.