As the day comes to a close I can't help but recall where I was one year ago. It was a dimly lit hospital room, huddled next to a bed, holding tight to my Dad's hand and whispering so many final thoughts in his ear. No one else could hear me, it was just me and him having our last conversation together. I told him my favorite moments we had, I told him it was ok to let go because I promised to stay strong, and I continuously said I love you more times than I can remember. I remember each breathe he took. I remember the nurse in me that was counting every respiration and timing them. I remember the times I finally understood how my patient's families felt when they were saying goodbye. I remember the pain I felt as my belly cramped up, only now realizing that I was probably having contractions. I remember the day and night so vividly. And when the clock struck midnight I remember telling my Dad we were going to share our day. My birthday and the day he finally found peace.
A year ago I walked out of a hospital, 32 weeks pregnant and in a complete fog. Nothing felt the same anymore. Life instantly became more precious. I grew a lot that day. I was stronger than I ever realized I could be. I sat in the quiet hours of the morning reflecting on everything life had to offer. I laughed. I cried. And I prayed. I called a church I hadn't been to in 20 years and spoke to the same Pastor who remembered my father immediately. It was so comforting to know with all the time that had passed he still remembered him. I guess that tells what kind of man he was. We discussed and planned a memorial service within an hour of chatting. Some how, I did it all. Some how, on one of the hardest days of my life, I lived up to my promise to my Dad that I would stay strong.
Now we fast forward to today. As I sit here typing this, years of memories are flooding my mind. The majority of them are the happiest and most beautiful times we spent together. But the one that stands out the most and still rocks me to the core is the day I told my Dad I was pregnant. No one, other than Dennis who was there with me, knows what happened when I told him. I had recorded all of our parents reactions and made a beautiful video but his was missing and this is why. When I showed him the ultrasound of our little bean, he instantly swallowed hard and tried to hold back every ounce of pain and fear he had but it still poured out of him. The only thing he could tell me was "I won't be here to meet him. I won't make it till then." To this day my heart breaks thinking of this. I cried the entire way home. I knew if I was feeling helpless, the feeling was magnified for him and there was nothing I could do to change it. He was right, he never got to meet our beautiful little boy, at least not physically. But somewhere deep down in my soul, I know he was right there with us the first time we laid eyes on Landon. And any time I look into Landon's baby blues-- there's my Dad staring back.
I promised myself that this post wasn't going to be overwhelmingly sad but I'll be honest and say the last few weeks have been really hard for me. I've tried to live up to my promise and stay strong but there truly isn't a day that I don't miss him. There are so many things I wish I would have said or done. So many things I wish I could change. But the reality is, I have to let go of the past and tell myself that he knows exactly how much I love him. And in this year I've come to realize, it's perfectly ok to have bad days. It's ok to mourn for him a year later. It's ok to feel the pain now and it will be ok to feel it 5 years from now. It isn't going away.
I found a quote that sums it up perfectly--
"Grief never ends...but it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith...it's the price of love."
So today, with a grief stricken heart I send my love to my Daddy. I truly hope you've found peace. Missing you today & always. Forever your Doodle <3