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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I celebrate him in memory always...

Every single time.  Every single star.
Sunday night I had a message from a friend - a simple, yet poignant, "So....Father's Day kinda sucks!".  She lost her father less than 3 months ago.  I had no sugary 'make you feel better' comments to send back to her. Comiserate, yes, I could do that.  Because it does suck. It's sucked for the past 11 years for me.  11 years have gone by since I've had a father to celebrate on the one day that is established to do just that.  So for anyone out there who's estranged from their father, I implore you to mend your relationship before it's too late. Before he's no longer in the chair in front of you.  Before you no longer have the opportunity to lay a kiss upon his forehead.  Before the feel and strength of his hug is just a faded memory.  Before the sound of his voice and his laugh get harder to remember. You don't know how lucky you are to still make a new memory on Father's Day - any day.

When my father was in the hospital and I was in denial, I interrupted him.  I interrupted his conversation with me on what he wanted to do with some video clips he'd been saving.  I stopped him from explaining his intents for those clippings. I was scared to lose him.  I didn't like to even fathom that he wouldn't get out of that hospital bed.  My dad.  My big teddy bear of a man.  My hero.  There was no way he'd not make it out of there to continue on with what he wanted to do himself with those clippings.  I put my finger up to his lips and shushed him... "I don't want to hear it, Dad", I said,"because you're going to have an opportunity to do all that yourself when you get out of here".  Even though it wasn't even a remote possibility at the time, I also reminded him that I needed him around to walk me down the aisle when I eventually got married.  He looked me in the eye with a pained expression, simply agreeing with me to appease my mind, and said, "Yeah".  This conversation was even before we knew that it was cancer.  Before we had known it had spread and that his outlook was dismal at best.  Despite having no concrete proof, though, Dad had started that same conversation that day with, "You know a man shouldn't have to spend his final days like this...".

They say that you know when your time is nearing.  Despite the others around you being in complete and utter denial, you know yourself.  So you sometimes have that opportunity to express what your intents and wants are for any unfinished business you won't be able to take care of.  To say what you need to say.  I stifled it though.  I could have finished up the clipping project if I'd taken the time to hear him out and let him fnish.  I could have spent a longer time by his side that day and had a conversation with him when he still had his mind and his wits about him - before all the medication. I could have asked him so many questions about his thoughts, his childhood, his desire for how he wanted to be remembered.  I had been given the opportunity but I'd strangled it off without a second thought because I was scared to think of the end. My final memory of my father talking to me was a simple, "Good bye", before his eyes filled up with tears.  Everything else he'd said that day was inaudible because the medication had burned his mouth so badly that it made it impossible to understand. I'd lost my chance. Then, I lost my father.

Say whatever it is you want to say.  Before it's too late.  Call your father --- right now.  Tell him you love him - before you no longer have the chance.

In my heart always, xoxoxo

After Dad passed and we were going through some of his papers we'd come across a photocopy of the following verse.  It helped, somewhat, and for any of you still struggling with your own losses out there, I can't say anything to make you feel better.  It does suck.  It will always suck on the 'special' days, and the anniversary days.  Even the ordinary days when he's just more in mind and heart than usual.  There will be tears.  Let them flow.  Perhaps these words might take a bit of the sting away, or at the very least, let you realize that the feelings you have right now are felt and understood by someone else out there: