My whole life, I was blessed with the privilege of knowing this wonderful man:
Words can’t accurately describe what my father meant to me. We had our ups and downs and disagreements like all parent-child relationships and in these last few years, pop and I had come to an understanding and developed a friendship that could not be broken. I am truly blessed to have known this man as he grew and changed (even as he aged) and even more blessed to have been able to call him Dad.
On Thursday, July 3, I received a phone call that will forever change my world. My mother called and said that my brother and I needed to come down to Virginia Beach where my folks were vacationing for the week. There had been an accident with Dad and we were needed as soon as we could get there. My father was not sick, he had no long-term illness that suddenly acted up… point being, this was completely unexpected.
I won’t rehash exactly what happened because frankly, some things need to be private. Needless to say, my father passed away on July 5th at 6:05pm. Now, I gotta tell you, I have seen a fair amount of death in my life, but nothing has cut me as deep as this. My pop and I were pretty close when I was younger and we had had our differences in the mid 2000s but since 2009, had been rebuilding what we lost and had actually become pretty close again. I discussed all large life decisions (why get a life coach, when you have someone like my pop who will tell you the good and bad honestly about the decisions you are trying to make). He was an awesome guy, generous, caring, loving, just an all around awesome dude (can’t say it enough).
Anyway family filtered in over the course of the week following the 5th and the funeral was held on Friday, the 11th. Things were real before the funeral, but became really real on the 11th at the burial service. The services were lovely, the feelings of reality setting in was terrible. All I really wanted was to feel normal and Friday was anything but normal.
In my father’s death, I have learned a lot. He was the smartest guy I know and I was lucky enough to call him pop and spend time with him leading up to his sudden and early passing. But the things I am learning do not cancel out the sadness. And the condolences and sorry-s I keep getting do not bring my dad back either — I realize people don’t know what else to say, and while I am appreciative and happy that pop was loved by the people that knew him, it can get a little overwhelming at times. I have a lot of feelings going through me. I want to say that most of them are happy memories that I remember and then realize I wont be having anymore of those, which then turns it to a sad kind of happiness. It is hard to put it all into words.
I was talking to Kat this morning and I was telling her that I had a myriad of emotions; they go something like this: angry, sad, angry, denial, angry, sad-happiness from memories…. And when I say angry, I am not even angry at any one person. I am just angry. Angry my pop had to go so soon. Angry that I miss him. Angry that I am not being strong for my mom. Angry that I am not being strong for the others in my life. Just angry. And you know what? It’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to be sad, and it’s even ok to not be strong. I have decided; LET IT BE SO!
As hard as it is to accept, I have learned and will continue to learn every day from my father’s death and from things that he has told me and imparted to me. And maybe some day, when you’re older, I will tell you all of the things I have learned from this amazing person. I am sure I am not done writing on this, but for now, I am done (with this post at least), so allow me to leave you with a few final thoughts which were most apparent when I was sitting in that hospital room with my family:
- Never stop loving.
- Always hug people (even if you aren’t a hugger, try).
- Tell your loved ones how you feel. STOP taking them for granted and tell them you appreciate them (even if it is awkward… which it prolly will be).
- ALWAYS appreciate the little things, it will make you happier in the long run; big things don’t happen every day but little things do.
- ALWAYS challenge yourself.
- Sing even when people are listening (and you know you will be off key) — Stop caring as much about what people think about you; it’s ok to be you.
And if you were lucky enough to know my pop, then you know that you should always listen to a little Jimmy Buffet to lighten the mood.
SMILE MORE, even at the randoms!