You’re not supposed to lose your Daddy at age 26.
You’re not supposed to spend an agonizing hour picking the perfect Father’s Day card, not knowing whether this could be the last card you ever give him, only to have him go the very next day, before he even had had a chance to read it.
You’re not supposed to get that call, the one that means you need to come – tonight.
You’re not supposed to wonder if he could hear you at the very end, like everyone said he could.
You’re not supposed to fix your eyes on his chest for hours at a time, wondering if this breath would be his last.
You’re not supposed to to hold his hand, the same hand that squeezed yours sooo tight just a few days before, and know that he will never squeeze back again.
You’re not supposed to wonder why or how this is happening, when just 2 days ago you were watching TV and reading together, and holding hands… and he was okay. Not healthy, but good, with at least a few more months or even years to go.
You’re not supposed to watch your Mom break down because she just lost her best friend of 44 years, and she doesn’t know how she’s going to make it through the next few days.
You’re not supposed to think back on all those things that people say they think when a loved one dies – that they think it’s a mistake, that he’s just somewhere else, but he’ll be back – and really and truly know exactly what that feels like.
You’re not supposed to be jealous of your sister, because she got 11 more years with him than you did, because she got to dance with him at her wedding, and walk down the aisle with him.
You’re not supposed to look at your 7 month old niece, laughing and smiling, and burst into tears because he won’t get to make her laugh, or play bucking bronco in the pool, or watch her grow up.
You’re not supposed to have to wonder how 40 pictures could ever do his 67 years on Earth justice.
You’re not supposed to wonder why the world seems to continue on, as if nothing happened, as if your world hasn’t come crashing down around you.
You’re not supposed to look around at everyone else and think “Do they know what just happened? Do they know what a wonderful person just left us? Do they know that I will never be the same? Do they know that I will never be whole again, that there will always be a piece of me missing?”
You’re not supposed to question if you will ever be completely happy again, because right now, it just doesn’t seem like it.
You’re not supposed to see him everywhere, in everything, and yet yearn so badly to see him again.
You’re not supposed to feel empty, to feel nothing, and to feel like you’re going to burst with so much emotion, love, pain, and sadness at the same time.
You’re not supposed to know in your brain that he is gone forever, but not comprehend in your heart and soul what this really means.
None of these things are supposed to happen.
But they do happen – they are happening.
And when it happens, I have to welcome each and every awful feeling for a moment, and then quietly ask it to leave to make room for happy memories, for feelings of gratitude.
Because even though I wasn’t supposed to lose my Daddy after only 26 short years, I had twice what he had with his Daddy.
And even though I only had him for a short time, I experienced so much more love, and lessons, and laughter than most daughters get in a lifetime, with a man more intelligent, more hardworking, more humble, more patient, and more loving than
most all other men.
And I have to be grateful that he left us peacefully, without pain or distress, and that we were all there with him, talking to him and holding his hand and telling him how much we love him; grateful that his good times far outnumbered his bad times, and that he will not suffer like so many other people with the same disease have and will.
I have to be remember that he was lucky – most people with his disease are diagnosed so early, before they even live – he lived a full life. He married the love of his life when he was 23, he loved his job, he traveled, he enjoyed a few great years of retirement, and he raised 2 wonderful daughters.
And even though he’s gone, I have to grab those moments when I can feel his hand on my shoulder, or hear him in the thunder, knowing that it’s his way of saying “I’m still here, I love you, it will be okay” and hold on to them for as long as possible.
I have to find a way to continue making him a part of my life, in any way possible.
And I have to know in my heart how much he loves me, and is proud of me, and how much I love him, and am proud of him.