Wow. It's been a year. A YEAR! I go back and forth between thinking it's been a lifetime, or just a few short moments. I miss you so much.
I hope you are happy there, in Heaven. Well, I know you are. Just think, no more pain, heartache...you have all the horses and dogs and things that aren't good for you that you want. An endless supply of cheese danishes and german chocolate cake and coconut cream pie. No green vegetables, cause you wouldn't eat them anyway. I would give anything to make you one more german chocolate cake just to hear you say "German Chocolate! My favorite! How did you know!" I always knew. I'll always know. I would give anything just to hear your voice.
The kids talk about you all the time, and still (Annie especially) break down in tears, seemingly for no reason. When I ask why, it's usually always the same answer. "I want Papo!" I want you too. I wasn't ready to give up my gardener, my mechanic. I wasn't done being your barber (although a bad one.) I wasn't ready to lose my dad. I wasn't ready for YOU to be gone. I'm still not, and it's been a year.
A year. A year full of pain. Heartache. A year full of intense, gasping-for-air sobs that leave me spent and lying on the floor. Or the bed. Or the couch. A year spent trying to hide my tears and pain from those around me so they wouldn't ask why I am crying and start the tears all over again.
I know that you are happy and content and watching. I KNOW that. I know you wouldn't want us to be sad. It's always hell for the ones left behind though. It's a lot easier said than done to be over something like losing a part of yourself. I've joined that group of people that have lost a parent. There are a lot of us. It's not an elite group by any means. But it is a hard group to be in. I didn't want to gain membership in the way I did. Although technically, I guess I did years ago when Cliff died. I never really counted him as my dad though...he didn't want to be. YOU did. YOU are, and always will be, my dad. Your death has affected me so much more than his ever did.
Do you remember teaching me how to take care of Atreyu? How much to feed him, how to clean his hooves? How to put the bridle on and the lead rope and hope he would follow? I hope that he is there with you. I hope all your horses are. I hope that Sassy and Totem and Buck and Chip were waiting for you, wagging their tails and jumping up and down waiting for you to pet their heads and say hello. Shep misses you as much as we all do. I don't think he waits for you anymore though....he would watch, and wait for months after. Everytime a truck would drive by that sounded like yours he would look. We all did, thinking it was all a bad dream. Expecting you to knock on the door once and walk in. For months after I would go into your closet and smell your clothes, the ones that you wore to my wedding. You didn't wear them often, but they smelled like you. The day they didn't smell like you anymore I cried and cried and cried.
I wish you were here, Dad. I can't say it enough. I wish you were here. I wish I could call you or you call me, just to talk. Just to say hi. See how things are going. I wish I could help you with the computer because you weren't too comfortable with it. I can still see you sitting there, trying to see the screen with your glasses on the end of your nose, tapping the keys with one finger. Fidgeting, because you couldn't sit for very long without hurting. It used to annoy me SO much how you would always always ALWAYS turn on a football game, then almost immediately go to sleep in the chair. You could be snoring, and as soon as we would turn the channel you would wake up and yell at us for turning the channel. I would gladly sit through a football game if I could see you again. Just once.
But honestly, once wouldn't be enough. I would always want one more chance to see you.
Say hello to Papa and Mama for me. They always did like you. I hope that you three have gotten to have some good conversations. I miss them too. There are so many many people that I miss, but I miss you three the most. I know that I will get to see you all soon, but I do hope not too soon. I have two precious angels to raise. They need their mom, and as much as I need to see you, Dad, I need them more. They miss you too...I know I told you that already. But they do. Brandy, I don't know about. She doesn't talk about you. She takes her pain and holds it close to her and wraps herself in it. Maybe it hurts her to much to talk about you....it hurts me to much NOT too. I hope that maybe people can know you through the stories I tell them about you. It hurts me that your grandkids, although they have their memories of you, will basically have to grow up without you. Kendra and Savannah have a hard time, I think. Sam and Emma talk about you every once in a while. I wish you were here to straighten out Brandy's husband. He REALLY needs it. The way he treats Mom and the kids is abhorrent, and Brandy won't do anything about it.
Mom. She misses you too. She doesn't talk about you a whole lot either. I know she has her own things she is going through related to you. Guilt is her constant companion when it comes to you. She knows you have forgiven her and that you understand stuff....but I don't think she has forgiven herself.
I can never say it enough. I miss you. A constant refrain. I will miss you for the rest of my life. I think of you often...all the time. I will always wish you hadn't bought that motorcycle. I will always wish that you had taken the car instead. I wish I had known what was going to happen so I could have spent every spare moment memorizing your voice, your smell, the way you wore your hair and the way your face crinkled up when you were laughing. Reading back over that, it sounds as if I were talking to a lover, and not my dad. EWWW. HAHA. There is just no easy way around it though. You are gone, and we are here, still mourning. Sometimes, in DEEP mourning. Other times are better. Today isn't so good.
A year. I can't believe it's been a year. I love you Dad.