It’s been 3 long months since I’ve posted. In reality, what I’ve gone through the past couple of months is something that most people go through in a much longer time period. I haven’t felt much like sharing, or bringing everything out in the open, but now I feel ready. First I will start with the first of my 3 largest life-changing events of this year (of my life, really).
I woke up on July 4 expecting it to be an ordinary day. I woke up early to go get my run packet for the Four on the Fourth 4-mile run I had signed up to do. Sadly, I was still in a walking boot for my ankle and couldn’t compete in the race, so I had to change my entry to a virtual entry to be completed at a later date…oh, by the way – I fractured my left ankle doing an obstacle course 10 days after my last blog post. So, really, I guess 4 major events have happened since I last updated. Whoops. Regardless, just tack that on to the list…
Anyway. I came home from picking up my packet and editing my race entry, and really wanted to take a nap prior to working some holiday hours from home. For some reason, I just really couldn’t sleep..kept feeling disturbed. In hindsight, I’m very aware why.
I woke from a slight doze to my boyfriend telling me I needed to call my mom right away. Immediately I knew something was wrong. I called her, and the words, “Calli, I’m sorry, but your dad passed away this morning,” came out of her mouth. My whole world was rocked.
How did this happen? How on earth did a day that started off relatively normally so quickly become derailed? I laid on my couch sobbing, howling in a way I have never heard myself yell before. With Tappy licking me and cuddling me, and with my boyfriend rubbing my back, there was still no consolation – nothing in the world could bring him back.
My dad had been sick off and on for 10 years; he was a fighter, and he just never gave up. Through the countless hospital stays, rehabilitation center stays, medication, procedures, etc…he endured. So, in reality, his passing wasn’t a complete shock. However, it’s because of how much of a trooper he was, how long he kept fighting, that it really was still a shock. How could something I had been preparing myself mentally for for so long still come as such a surprise?
There is absolutely nothing in this world that can prepare you for that phone call; prepare you for the flood of emotions that overcome you.
I was 26 years old, and I had lost my father.
No girl my age (or younger) should ever have to go through the process of losing a parent so young. Losing a parent is inevitable; it is a natural part of life. Losing a parent so early, however, is not something anyone should have to endure.
Gone were my hopes of having a man someday ask him for my hand in marriage; gone were my hopes of having my daddy walk me down the aisle; gone were my visions of him dancing with me at my wedding to “Butterfly Kisses”, which had been our song since I was 6 years old. Gone were so many hopes and dreams I had of him being present in my life; things I don’t even know that are yet to come, that he will miss because he is on the other side of this life.
To say that my dad and I had the perfect relationship would be a stretch. When he and my mom separated in high school, our relationship suffered a bit of a strain. However, through time, we had repaired old wounds. I didn’t talk to him daily, or see him nearly as much as I wish I had. So many regrets when it comes to our relationship the past few years. But, there wasn’t ever any doubt, I loved my daddy and he loved his baby girl.
He left this world fighting; he left this world after having given so much of his time and energy helping others, and giving me so many examples of what a true man is. He worked so hard, loved to have fun, gave so much to others, and refused to fully quit anything.
There are many memories I have of my dad that I will cherish forever. The purpose of this blog entry isn’t necessarily to reminisce, however, but to focus on my path of healing and moving forward.
In the past few months, I have learned that life is truly short. You can never really count on tomorrow coming; it is best to say what you feel and cherish what you have while you have it. There’s unfortunately no other lesson that teaches this better than death.
It’s poetic that my dad passed away on his favorite holiday; the Fourth of July was always his favorite time of year. He loved hanging out down at our beach, grilling and smoking meats, shooting off fireworks, and spending quality time with family and friends. That is how I choose to remember him – smiling, laughing, and shining radiantly like a firework that inevitably had to burn out. Now, every time I see a fireworks display, I know he is with me.
There is no doubt in my mind that I will see my dad again someday. When that day comes, who is to say – but I will be very glad to see him, whenever that may be.
In closing, I would also like to add that were it not for such an amazing support system in my life, I would not have been able to fight through this. Though this is just one of the three major events I have experienced in these past couple of months, this was definitely a hard one to process. My family and friends were so supportive and helpful in this time, and I just hope they truly know it did not go unnoticed.
RIP, daddy. I love you so much.