I cannot believe I haven’t written a blog in almost a year. Wow. And I suppose there is nothing special about 14 years. So Im not sure why I was called to write now. Fourteen years to the day that a deer jumped out into a mountain highway near Vail, Colorado and my Dad hit it while on his motorcycle. Fourteen years since his two close friends had to witness that awful scene and wait with him for a very long time until an ambulance and eventually a helicopter came. Fourteen years since a nurse from Saint Anthony’s Hospital in Denver broke protocol and told me over the phone at 4:30pm that my Dad didn’t survive. Maddie had Kindergarten orientation that afternoon. Her Dad took her because I couldn’t function. Fourteen years is a long time. And no time at all.
And so it goes, Dad….Maddie is off to her sophomore year of college. Crazy. Andy is doing well and about to take on Junior College. You would like Dave. He’s funny. And reminds me of you. He’s 54. Which is weird because that’s older than you were when you died.
I feel like Im supposed to feel something. I felt like I was supposed to write something. And Im not saying Im forcing it….but I dont think you should have to force ANYTHING. I feel like I should wake up on August 7th every year and be sad. Sometimes Im not. And does that make me a horrible person? Some August 7ths I am sad. No August 7th has gone by without me thinking about that day. But the thing is…after all these years…it really isn’t about August 7th anymore. I miss you on Fathers Day. I missed you at Maddie’s High School graduation. I missed you when I married Dave. I missed you when I went through my divorce. I miss you during every Dallas Cowboys game. I miss you when random songs come on- especially Charlie Robison. It doesn’t take a certain date on a calendar. It sometimes happens for no reason at all. I see some Andes mints, see a friend post about their Dad on Facebook, hear a Harley, see an RV with a family in it….
I am almost 48. I was lucky enough to have a Dad for 33 years. Lots of people don’t even get that much time. But to this day Im still angry & feel cheated. Ive accepted that that never goes away. I am happy, living life fully, saying yes to adventures, loving hard, saying what I need to say to those who need to hear it, and living life. But the feeling of being cheated doesn’t go away. The feeling of celebrating my Dad’s 60th, 70th, 75th birthdays wont and didn’t happen. Cheated. And my kids not knowing you is the biggest cheat of all. That one stings. That one makes me mad.
Your death changed me. Changed everything. I suppose there are some events that are life altering and there’s just no getting around that. I don’t know who I would be today if you were still here. And that’s a funny thing to think about. Because I know I wouldn’t be who I am now. And I don’t really know how I feel about that.
Fourteen years. Not a special number by any means. Just another trip around the seasons without you here on earth. I promise, again, to live full. Every day. I found this picture I’d never seen before. You had just had surgery on your thumb so you couldn’t swim. But you were watching me from above. I like that.
I don’t know that I’ll continue acknowledging this date. I don’t want that to upset you. I don’t think it would. Time has healed it a little. Time has taken some power away from a date on a calendar. Time has marched so very quickly and so very slowly all at once. Dad, if August 7th comes and goes next year without a blog, or a picture, I haven’t forgotten you. I never could. I think a heart just needs to protect itself. I think life moves on. I think writing those words puts a lump in my throat for I am grieving the end of grieving. I think grieving goes on forever. But I am whole now. The sadness doesn’t take up my entire heart anymore. And the irony is that THAT makes me sad. I think the sadness shrunk to make room for the kids & Dave & hiking & rock climbing & my cabin & adventures & the love I give to my job. Grief doesn’t owe anyone an explanation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation.