“What do you miss the most about him?”
With the sixth anniversary of my dad’s death fast approaching, I find myself wanting to talk about him. About how special he was to me. About how much losing him hurt. About all my memories of him. Losing him tore my heart apart.
In the week leading up the anniversary of my dad’s death, I never know how I’m going to react. Sometimes I’m fine and can go about life like everything is okay. Sometimes I cry for a week leading up to the anniversary and when the day arrives, I’m fine. Sometimes I try to sleep the entire day away to block it from memory. I roll with it and have learned not to make plans or set expectations.
I tell a couple people around me – the people most likely to notice if my attitude or mood suddenly changes. I don’t want them to worry about me, but I need them to understand if the bubbly person I try to be who cracks jokes suddenly goes into hiding and a little girl emerges who is trying to hold back the tears threatening to fall.
This year, I told two co-workers. The ones who I see every day, the ones I’m always talking to, the ones who will notice if something isn’t right. One of them posed the question above to me – my initial response was that I miss everything and that I really miss his hugs.
I’ve kept thinking about it though. It’s hard to pinpoint one thing that I miss more than the others. I truly miss everything.
What I Miss the Most
I miss the way that my daddy would wrap his arms around me – the feeling of complete security, knowing that I was safe from the world. I miss the proud look in his eyes whenever I reached my goal and I miss the joy in his eyes whenever he was happy. I miss our talks in the garage and I miss sitting down at the table with him. I miss the daily text messages – the reminders “Love you. God Bless you. Have a great day!” and I’m ashamed that I ever once considered those reminders to be annoying. I miss taking time to spend with him and I miss how he always picked up the phone when I called. I miss the reassuring voice in the other end of the line. I miss the sound of his voice. I miss knowing that whatever happened, my dad always had my back. I miss the parent in my life and I miss knowing that he was okay with whatever decision I made. I miss my protector and my hero and my friend. I miss the feeling of never questioning if someone loved me because he showed me daily that he did. I miss him directing the church choir and I miss learning new music from him. I miss the look in his eyes as he stood there before the congregation and led the choir in a performance. I miss the happiness in his eyes and the concentration on his face and the achievement of standing up directing a choir where he wanted to be. I miss hearing stories about how he wanted to be a musician and about the record he made. I miss hearing him sing and I miss all the lessons he tried to teach me. I miss the sound of his voice when he talked about God and how he knew exactly where he stood with Him. I miss reading the Bible together and talking about how Revelations scared me as a child. I miss being told there was nothing to be scared of. I miss waking him up in the middle of the night when I was scared and I miss when he left for work at 4:30am and snuck into my bedroom to give me a kiss – oftentimes I was awake, although I never let him know. I miss everything.
I just miss my dad.
And it’s one of the hardest things to do – living life knowing that a piece of your heart was ripped away from you. Understanding that God has a plan and being grateful for where you are, yet longing to go back in time to the person you lost.
Usually the days go by and everything is fine. However, sometimes the days are long and hard. On those days I find myself leaning on those around me to help pick me up or offer up a comforting word or just listen to me. Those are the people I find myself hanging onto these days. The ones who will help see me through the happy times and the sad times and show me similar love to that my dad always did.