For those of you upset by sad things, this is not the blog entry for you. Next week will be better, I hope.
This Friday it will be one year since my Daddio passed away. I hate every word that is associated with death. Pass away, left us, died, gone. I hate all of them. There will never be an okay word that says, “My dad’s gone and he’s not coming back.”
It’s been a year and lots has happened since you “left”.
– I got accepted into grad school! Can you believe it? I loved it! But I only stuck around half a semester. I really did enjoy so much about it, but I was not 100% sure it’s what I wanted to do with my life at this point. That’s okay. You taught me I could do anything, Dad. You told me my big heart was an asset and that it made you proud. I’ll figure it out one day. Meanwhile I am using my big heart every day that I see someone who needs it.
– We took my little sister to Disneyland, just like you asked us to. Most of the time it was really great. I love spending time with her (how she thinks and takes in the world astounds me sometimes) and I think the magic of Disney was pretty neat. But, during the World of Color show they showed the part in the Lion king where Mufasa dies and Simba is going, “Dad? Dad? C’mon, you gotta get up” and we were not okay. I started crying in the middle of Disneyland during the fireworks because you couldn’t see them. I’m sad you couldn’t take her yourself, even though I know you HATED crowds.
– I started a side art business; And especially during Christmas time, it did SUPER well! I was so proud thinking that these pieces I had made would be hanging in people’s homes! I remember you coming to my high school to buy the ugliest print I’d ever made in art class. It was of a pink sparrow or something. I remember feeling so grateful for you that day, that you would spend your money on one of my ugly pieces! You hung it up on your wall with pride and I remember going, “Dad take it down!” and you chuckling and refusing.
– Hubby and I went to Hawaii. Mom says you guys went there together when you were young. But we did the big Island, I think you were more into the resort-y type areas like Maui or Oahu. (Turns out, I am too! Lava is not my thing!). Some days when it was especially beautiful, I cried because you weren’t here to see it.
– We sold our condo – and it was very stressful for me!!!! I know I would have texted you like I always did, asking for sage advice, because you always gave the BEST advice. On the phone, in person, over text. It was always the BEST advice. And I know you would have said something that would have made me realize how silly I was being freaking out about something I couldn’t control. Good news is, it’s sold so I’m freaking out a little less (but hi, I’m Katelyn, I worry about WORRYING).
– We bought a townhouse. It is wonderful and has 4 bathrooms, which to me is the pinnacle of luxury and something I know you would appreciate. When I saw the guestroom I felt my heart twinge a bit. Whenever I had envisioned my own guest rooms in the past, it would be you coming down for a visit and occupying them. My heart still hurts when I think of the things you won’t be here for.
I’m still mad at you a little bit. I’m still mad at the doctors for being so slow on acting on your deteriorating health even when I had mentioned months before that you weren’t looking well. I am mad that you didn’t take your health seriously. I am mad at all the people who told me that “it gets easier” because they lied. It doesn’t. You just get better at managing when you break down. I am SO mad that if I ever get around to having kids, you won’t be here to see them or give me advice on how to be a good parent because I KNOW you were full of amazing advice. Who will be my children’s ‘Papa’? That was supposed to be you! I’m pissed off that without you here I feel like I’ll never fully enjoy things that my friends with parents still alive will. I’m scared sometimes because you’re not here and I guess it’s because I felt like you were one of the few people who knew me, the real me. You saw me.
Friday is going to be so hard. Actually, if I’m honest this entire year has been hard. Normally I don’t work Friday’s, but I picked up an extra shift because staying home alone would make it harder. I always think of how hard a worker you were. I remember your boss had to force you to take vacation because you LOVED what you did. I love that you loved to help people, Dad. You were so good at it. You helped me so many times I thought I was lost.
Some of the people you left here are big jerks. I wish you were here to straighten them out in only the way you could. Gently but firmly. I miss that about you.
I keep going to text you or call you and then remembering.
Whenever I hear Patsy Cline, I sing along for you and Grandma because you both loved her and you’re both gone. I sing my heart out, imagining you can hear me. I pretend you are both sitting there listening and smiling at me. Then I open my eyes and not shockingly, you are not there.
I used to beg and pray that you would haunt me. I would have taken a ghostly version of you over nothing any day. But no matter how much I look, I still haven’t seen you. There have been many signs of you watching over me, but I dismiss them. I want to see your face. I want one last hug. I know I will never get those things but I can’t stop wanting them.
I saw a guy who looked like you at Starbucks the other day. Like, a LOT like you. He dressed like you, his hair was like yours, he even did that crooked way of leaning that you used to do when he was putting cream in his coffee. I watched him, mouth agape as he went about his business. I wanted to rush over and hug him. I wanted it to be you so badly, Dad. I felt myself shaking and I bolted from the coffee shop leaving my poor husband bewildered.
I walked behind an older guy with cowboy boots when I was grocery shopping last week. I found myself going closer and closer to him, watching his boots hit the floor. I know how much you loved to cook too. I bet you liked grocery shopping. I never asked you. I wonder if you did. I remember the pair of your cowboy boots that I kept after the funeral. They sit in my closet, looking sad because you’re not there to wear them. I was sad that the man at the grocery store was wearing boots like yours. I think I will always get upset when I see the kind of cowboy boots you wore on someone other than you.
I’m trying to be a good big sister to my three siblings. I feel sometimes like I need to be better, be stronger for them. I try to give advice you would give. I try not to get frustrated so easily. I try to tell them how much you would respect and love their choices and their successes because I know you would. A few months ago they all called me at separate times during the span of several hours upset and missing you and it made my heart break all over again because I couldn’t do anything to help them. I ended up sending them trinkets off of eBay to hopefully brighten their day. I see they are changing too. In good ways, I see you influence in all of them. They are all good, kind, loving people you helped raise. I am proud to be their sister, I am proud to be your daughter.
I am sad that I get to be alive and you don’t. I feel guilty every day I don’t enjoy every second of life because I feel like I am living for you too, a life you didn’t get to finish and I am wasting it. I know that I have changed since you left. Sometimes I think it’s good, when I do something I’ve been afraid to do or show patience when something would normally upset me. Sometimes I think it’s bad when I can’t sleep because I am afraid any of my loved ones will be taken from me.
I don’t really get the point of death. I guess it’s so we enjoy the time we have here, right? Thing is, I could have enjoyed my time on earth with you still in it. I’ve realized after a year that I am unsatisfied with not knowing what awaits me for sure. I am upset that you haven’t come to me in some Mufasa-in-the-clouds type of way to let me know all is well. I know that this is the mystery of death and something we all must face alone, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it or even agree with it.
We are all going to go visit your brother, mom and sister (and our many cousins) in Ontario this summer. You would be amazed and humbled at how your brother has welcomed us into his home for our stay and just how supportive he has been since you “left”. (I don’t like left because it makes it seem like you had a choice). We are all very excited to see your old stomping grounds, see where you hung out when you were a kid. We are all so excited to have you alive in more stories I guess.
You taught me a lot when you were alive, Dad. You taught me a lot when you died too, just in a different way.
I don’t know how to end this letter, so I guess I’ll just say: Until we meet again, Daddio.