Lately, I've been thinking about my dad a lot. Not the happy memory thinking, but the "man I miss him so much that it pains me" thinking. Sometimes I am surprised that four years later (I can't believe it is four years later...), I still grieve for him just as much. Not in the same ways that I used to grieve...where I would cry and be mad...but just the sad how I wish I could pick up the phone and hear his voice grieving. The, every time I think of him it still brings tears to my eyes grieving. I often wonder how long this grieving will continue.
It is probably the season. This is the time of year my dad loved so much. It was tree time. He got to spend a month outside, selling the trees he worked so hard to raise, and talk to the customers that came to buy them...many of them buying them year after year. He was so proud of those trees. I was proud to continue selling them, and as I have mentioned before, am struggling with the fact this is the first year I will not be. I am trying to let it go though.
When my dad passed away, I lost an amazing friend. I was a definite "daddy's girl." I sure didn't know that all the time. We had our ups and downs as I was growing up and sometimes I thought I hated him because he expected so much from me or imposed such strict guidelines on me as I was growing up. I can of course, look back on those days now and be thankful for what he did...it is because of him that I have a firm work ethic and firm morals.
My dad had a great smile and laugh. I miss hearing him laugh. His laugh filled a room and was contagious, and when he smiled, you couldn't help but smile back. He worked hard for his family...even when he knew he was at the end, he wanted to make sure we would be ok when he was gone.
When my dad first found out he had cancer, a wise man told me to make sure I told him everything I needed to tell him. That I should be grateful I had the opportunity to let my dad know how much I cared about him, etc. I struggled with that idea. I felt like telling my dad the things I felt bad about... like how I treated him once at a competition we were at when I was struggling through so many things in my life...how much I loved him and appreciated all he did for us... meant that I was giving up on him. That I believed he wasn't going to beat it. And so, I never told him. I waited until he couldn't respond, until I have no idea whether he actually heard what I said. And that bothered me. I wanted him to know. I know the first thing people will want to say is, don't worry he knew. I'm not saying he didn't know I loved him. Or that I went through the growing pains that all teenagers went through. But to have said it would have taken a huge burden off my chest... that way I would know that he knew for sure that I understood my past mistakes.
The hardest thing for me is not being able to pick up the phone to call him and get his advice. Especially as I go through new things and sometimes struggle to find my footing in life. My dad always had the best advice...even when I didn't like it. He had so many life experiences and he knew something about everything. I was only fortunate enough to learn a tiny bit of what he had taught himself over the years. You see, I thought I was going to have many years to learn what he knew. I miss calling and just saying hi. I miss his excitement. Really, I miss everything.