I Miss Him

It’s difficult to explain the loss of my dad to people who have never lost a parent. It’s an indescribable  arrange of emotions that don’t make sense and contradict each other. It’s hard to pinpoint what I miss the most because I miss everything. My heart screams in pain at what I’ve lost, but it can’t figure out how to put those feelings into words. When tears stream down my face and someone asks why, the only words I can find are “I miss him.” Simple, yet, those words describe how I feel at the sixth anniversary of my dad’s death perfectly. 

I’ve learn over the years that nothing anyone says to me will make me feel better. When someone tells me he’s always with me, I fight the urge to roll my eyes – it’s easy for other people to say that – they can still call their dads, I can’t. They can visit their dads, but unfortunately for me, Heaven doesn’t have visiting hours. They can tell their dads that they love him and hear those words spoken back to them; I can tell my dad I love him, but never again will I hear him speak those words. 

I try to go into the week leading up to my dad’s death with no expectations of how I will react, yet, I get frustrated when the tears come. I’ve cried those same tears for six years. I know that no matter how many tears I cry, it won’t change anything. The tears allow my heart to say the words that I find myself unable to speak. When I can’t express why I’m so upset, the tears try to communicate it. Yet, my mind knows that no amount of tears or words can ever change what happened. Perhaps that’s what’s most difficult. 

The tears flow for what I’ve lost – my dad. They flow for all the hugs I’ll never get, all the “I love yous” that were left unspoken, all the stories left untold. They also flow for the things I’ll never get to experience with my dad – he’ll never walk me down the aisle, I’ll never see the look in his eyes when I tell him he’s going to be a grandpa, I’ll never look across the hospital room and watch as my dad stares into the eyes of his grandchild. The tears flow for everything I miss as well as everything I lost and everything I’ll never get to experience with my dad. 

On this anniversary of my dad’s death, I find myself still struggling with words. It’s the one time of the year when I find words to be the most difficult to find. The tears that escape my eyes, the sobs that escape my soul, and the heartache that fills me are what define the day. 

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What I Miss the Most

“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. 

Learning to Love My Body – Learning to Love Myself 

I’ve been quiet over the last couple months. It happens from time to time. Words continue to fill my head, yet, I struggle to put them into sentences, paragraphs, and blogs. 

I’ve been doing some soul searching lately. I’ve always had a pretty good idea of why I do the things I do – I just have a hard time admitting to most people how I’m feeling. I want to be seen as a strong, independent, intelligent woman. I’ve worked my whole life trying to prove that I could to anything – I could survive. Yet, I tend to keep so many feelings hidden from the world. Honestly, I question my decision to share those feelings here. However, when I started this blog, I promised myself to always share my feelings openly and honestly – this was going to be my space and a small glimace into my world. Maybe someone would stumble across it one day and realize they aren’t as alone as I feel some days. 

When I originally started the series “Learning to Love My Body” it was about my quest to get healthy and how loving my body meant more than just eating right, exercising, and going to the doctor for checkups. It was about all the different aspects of learning to love oneself. Overtime I’ve come to realize that those blogs aren’t just about learning to love my body – they’re about learning to love myself.

Learning to love my body was easier to admit to than learning to love myself. People have all sorts of “problems” with their bodies that aren’t problems. They’re differences that make each of us unique. Learning to love myself almost makes it sound like I don’t like myself – I do! But it’s about learning how to love myself. It’s about admitting that sometimes I need to take time for me, and I should never feel guilty for doing so. It’s about figuring out what I want and doing it – even when it scares me. 

Learning to love myself means being honest with myself. Not just about the things I don’t want to do, but about why I don’t want to do them. What’s holding me back? Do I genuinely not like the thing I’ve said no to? Am I scared? Is something hurting me? Loving myself is being honest with myself. It’s about taking baby steps to get me to where I want to be – not just health wise by eating right and going to the gym – but whole health wise by taking time to see the people I love and not being scared to step outside my comfort zone. I could be missing out on the greatest experience of my life and I don’t even know it.

However, I understand I’m scared to try new things. Sometimes the past has a way of haunting us. We can put on a fantastic act for all the world to see, but something inside could be eating us alive. We don’t know how to express our feelings and then we feel embarrassed for having those feelings. 

It’s important to recognize that feelings are uniquely our own. No one can tell you how to feel and no one has a right to make you feel guilty for the way you feel. It’s embarrassing asking for help in certain situations – I understand that. It’s hard to put yourself out there and attend that Sunday School class or join that kickboxing class you’ve had your eye on. It’s harder to think about life passing you by while you’re sidelined. It’s about learning to focus on what you can do in the next 24 hours to get you where you want to go – wherever that may be. The rest will fall into place and if it doesn’t fall the way you think, perhaps it was never meant to be. Learning to love myself is about taking care of every aspect of my well being. 

Let’s Just Talk…

When was the last time you had an open and honest conversation with someone? How did they react? Did you have a difference in opinion? Do you felt like they heard you when you spoke? Were they upset when you felt differently than them? Did they accuse you of judging them or tell you to never speak to them again? Halfway through the conversation, did they tell you that all you’re doing is arguing when you weren’t even aware that you were having an argument? Did you feel anything was accomplished or were you left feeling defeated and emotionally drained?

I’ve always felt that the best way to solve differences is to leave the line of communication opened but also be honest with your feelings without taking offense to how the other person is feeling. If I have a disagreement with someone, I want to be able to talk it out and I want to feel comfortable expressing to the other person exactly how I’m feeling without fear that they will think I’m judging them or being difficult – simply because I have a different opinion. Likeless, I won’t take offense to what the other person’s opinion is. Do you have a different opinion than me? Cool! That’s part of life and we are free to have as many opinions as we want. 

The problem comes when the other person doesn’t understand how to communicate and takes offense to everything that is said. You’re often left feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. You try to understand the other person, you ask what you can do to help, you try to understand the situation. If you give an opinion that is different, obviously you are judging the other person and that is a reason to be cut out of their life. 

I don’t do well with threats of any kind. I’ve cut people out of my life before and I couldn’t care less if someone cuts me out of theirs. I very firmly believes that God is in control and He lets people enter and exit our lives as needed. If someone feels the need to cut me out of their life, I see it as God’s Way of removing that person from my life. Why? I’m not always sure, but since I have faith in God, I trust Him. Perhaps that’s why that threat has always bothered me – either talk to me or don’t – I believe that God is ultimately in control. 

But what about if I have a different opinion than you? Is that judgment? Should I lie to you when I feel differently simply to avoid hurting your feelings? You should never hurt someone’s feelings on purpose – that’s mean. But having a difference in opinion is normal, healthy even. It allows people to grow and understand. The problem arises when someone views a difference in opinion as a judgment and takes offense to it. Perhaps that is a battle we will always be fighting – figuring out how to communicate with people who view words spoke as an attack against them when you’re only stating your opinion. 

However, there’s another part of communication. Sometimes, you need to be blunt. If I believe someone is being a brat, and then they are complaining to me, I will tell them how I feel – they are being a brat and need to knock it off because adults don’t act like that. It’s the same way my friends and family call me out when I’m acting like a brat – they give me their honest opinion of my actions and how I’m being perceived. What I do with that information is up to me. But the point is that someone cares enough to be blunt with me about the way I’m acting, the same way I care enough about other people to be blunt with them. 

Perhaps communication is difficult for all people. Most arguments and disagreements could be solved if people were open to honest communication. The problem is, a lot of the time, people don’t want to communicate. They want people to be on their side and if they aren’t, they take offense. What happened to being able to communicate without fear that someone would take it the wrong way? What happened to have a healthy conversation and working out problems? What  happened to communication?

Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

She couldn’t sleep. 

Her mind continued to drift back to him time and time again. 

Just when she thought she was finally over him, he always popped back into her life. 

A phone call. 

A text message. 

An unexpected visit. 

She rolled her eyes toward the Heavens. 

“A little help down here.”

“That’s not funny.”

“He’s going to break my heart.”

She declared lots of things to God. 

Truth is, she was never sure if she really liked him or not. 

Maybe she wanted to but didn’t know how. 

They were friends and everyone thought they should be more. 

But were they?

The subject had been danced around for years – neither one committing to making a move. 

She often felt like he was expecting too much from her. 

He wanted her to give up things she felt the need to hang onto. 

They weren’t bad habits. 

He felt she was too busy and wouldn’t have the time to commit. 

She knew that she would always make the time for anything and anyone if it was important. 

Friends tried to set her up with other people. 

“I don’t have the time,” she complained. 

“That’s never stopped you before.”

They were right. 

A lack of time had never stopped her before. 

If she wanted to date someone, she always made the time. 

However, this guy didn’t think she had the time. 

She knew she did. 

But something else nagged at her soul. 

He doesn’t support her. 

He says he wants what’s best for her but he doesn’t understand she needs to hang onto this just a while longer. 

How could she be attracted to someone if she don’t believe he would support her in anything she does?

The question rolled around her brain. 

Her cell phone buzzed. 

Another text from him. 

“A little help down here,” she begged God. 

She needed a sign. 

She needed to know what to do. 

Soon the texts would stop. 

She knew they would. 

She would find herself crying in the shower once more. 

Crying for what could have been. 

Crying for what was never meant to be. 

Crying for what she continued to allow herself to be put through. 

No, this time she wouldn’t get caught up. 

She would except the relationship for what it was, even if she didn’t know what it was. 

What happens when she lets go?

She’s scared she’ll never find the one. 

There’s not enough time to find him. 

“A little help down here.”

She begged God to answer her cries. 

Show her the way. 

Lead her to where her heart belonged. 

Learning to Love My Body – I’ll Figure it Out

I’ve let a lot of things slide lately – my health, my friends and family, my blog. When I’m  working 70+ hours a week – multiple weeks in a row – sometimes it feels like I can never be caught up with everything else. I work so hard because I know that it’ll help me get where I’m going financially faster. Sometimes I find myself questioning at what cost? Am I scarificing myself in the short term to get where I want to be long term? Is there a way to balance everything?

Here’s the thing though – I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure out how to keep my health on track even when I know I can’t make it to the gym. I’ll figure out a way to stay in better contact with my friends and family, even if it’s just a quick message to let them know I’m thinking of them. I’m continue to write in this blog because it’s one of the things in life that has always helped me clear my head. When you love something, you hang onto it. You hang onto your friends and family because of that love. You have to hang onto your health too – hang onto where you want to go and what you want to be and who you want to become. It’s able figuring out how to be the best you there is. 

Sometimes learning to love my body is about figuring out how to accomplish everything in a day and not feeling guilty over making sacrifices in order to get to where I want to be. It’s about not having guilt about going to the gym or missing a day at the gym. It’s about understanding that taking care of my body is one of the single most important things I can do. It’s about figuring it out – how to balance jobs and gym and dogs and family and friends. It’s about the choices I make when I’m not at the gym and realizing they’re just as important as the choices I make when I’m at the gym. Learning to love my body is about figuring it out – no matter how many times I stumble and fall. It’s about getting back up every single time. It’s about taking care of myself every single day. 

Excerpts from a Book I’ll Never Write

There’s an entire playlist in iTunes devoted to ‘love’ on her phone, yet she’s never been in love. 

Pinterest is filled with love quotes and engagement rings and wedding inspiration and ideas for the children she longs to have, yet she keeps this a secret. 

Her favorite shows rarely have to do with the actual show and instead involve the love story that is often secondary. 

A list of kids names in hidden in her phone and she wonders if she’ll ever get to use even one of them, if the children she longs to have will be named from the list she’s kept for years. 

She puts up a happy face for all the world to see, claiming she’s too busy to find time to settle down. 

Still, she wonders if the problem is her – perhaps she’s so uncomfortable in her own skin, that it makes everything else impossible. 

Her only goal is to live a happy life – learning to be comfortable with herself, however, she still longs for more.