Death Isn’t The Part That Hurts The Worst

It’s that time of the year again for the holidays to celebrate the awesome people who gave life to us. The day that we give thanks for raising us and never giving up on us no matter what dumb things we did. The day you write sappy Facebook posts acknowledging that your parent is in fact better than the rest and you don’t know what you’d do without them (guilty of that).

Mother’s Day for me has always been incredibly easy to celebrate. My mom is my best friend and North Star. No matter what she gives me guidance to find my way back to who I really am. Regardless of where life takes either of us we are still attached by heart. I have pictures with her in every stage of my life and through all of my accomplishments and happy moments.

Father’s Day has always been a struggle on the other hand. I vividly remember in elementary school when he left. I remember him not coming home at night and the table being set for only 3 way before he decided to really leave, and I hated him for what he did. I hated him for choosing alcohol over his family. I hated him for not showing up when I needed a dad. I hated him for everything wrong that he did and ignored anything he had ever done right and now I hate myself for hating him. 

This Father’s Day I don’t even have an address to send a card to if I wanted to because heaven doesn’t have an address. I’ve went probably 15 or more years without sending a Father’s Day card or making a phone call or even acknowledging it’s Father’s Day, and none of that seems to make a difference year after year until it’s the year you don’t have the option of sending one or making a phone call to simply say, “Happy Father’s Day Dad.”

I questioned hundreds of times what I would do or how I would feel when he passed away. I wasn’t sure if I had the right to be upset or cry because he wasn’t part of my life. His DNA runs through my veins and anyone who knew him knows I look just like him, but he just wasn’t there. My pictures and memories of him and I stopped around the age of 6 or 7 and that’s all I have left until you fast forward to the last time I saw him after he was already gone. 

That day was probably the most devastating day I have ever lived through. Any question I had of if I would be upset or if I would cry were answered the second I received the news that he was gone. I was broken for so many reasons and the death wasn’t the part that hurt the worst. What hurts the worst is the fact that he’s gone now. It’s when I don’t have the option of visiting or calling him ever again. It’s regretting every day that we were both on this earth and we didn’t talk. It’s all the memories that we didn’t have, that we missed, because of things that happened in the past. It’s reading through the notebooks he wrote in in his last months and reading the questions, “What about Amanda?” “When was the last time I saw her?” I don’t know if he ever got the answers to those questions and I won’t ever be able to answer them now. 

So this Father’s Day unlike all the others here’s a letter that anyone with an absent father can probably reflect on, and if I could ever give any advice to any person who has a father that they are not speaking with for any reason under the sun, let it go. You may not ever forget what they did, but you have every chance and option to forgive what they may or may not have done. I’m saying from experience it’s better to do it now than wait till you don’t have the option anymore. 

” Dear Dad,

Happy Father’s Day! I hope the view from up there is everything you hoped it would be. I hope it’s full of fast cars and big motors. I reread your notebooks on a regular basis and hope all of your questions were answered when you arrived at those pearly white gates. There’s a million things I wish I could have done and wish I could say now, and even though I don’t have the chance anymore I hope you know that I love you and no matter what I always did and always will. I am your daughter regardless of anything that happened and proud of the memories I have of you. I’ll always remember the truck pulls and chanting your name as you smoked the finish line. I’ll remember eating cottage cheese and tomatoes in your big recliner in the evenings. I’ll remember the firework shows in the barnyard on the 4th of July and our last vacation to Marco Island as a family. I want you to know I forgive you. 

I love you.”


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