I lost my dad this year, which made 2016 the hardest year of my life. There are no words to describe the loss, except that it's real, all consuming and life-changing. I'll never be the person I was before I lost my dad. Knowing he was a short drive or phone call away was something I took for granted. Although we spoke daily - or often more than daily, I always knew that I was a few clicks away from talking to one of my favorite people in the world. I loved my dad from the moment I began to remember. He was charming, funny, and truly my biggest fan. There was nothing I could do wrong in his eyes. He loved me unconditionally, which was an almost God-like way of caring for someone. The greatest thing was that I cared for him the same way. There was no path either of us could take in life that would bring judgement or resentment from the other. We loved each other for who we were at a soul level, and that may be the biggest gift life ever gives me.
I know now the truth of what it is to go on without someone you love. I still pick up the phone multiple times a day subconsciously trying to call him. I look for and believe I see signs that he is still with me, but that may be because I must in order to continue breathing. I've wondered if it's even possible for the world continue to turn without my dad, but the sun rises each morning, and my children need me. So I cook, and I make beds, and I love, and I paint, and time moves forward.
I tell my dad I miss him at least a thousand times a day, and I do. I miss him so much.
I am forever grateful for my baby Quinn, who smiles at me all the time and hugs me and needs me. I love that child.
My dad gave me my first camera for Easter when I was 7 years old. A few days after my dad passed away, Oliver went into my office and found a white plastic film camera of mine and has not stopped playing with it. Anywhere we go, he makes us wait so he can bring the camera. I finally ordered him HIS very first camera and it arrived today. It took him no time to learn to use it. I know my dad's looking down on us with a BIG smile right now... and somehow I think he made this happen. ❤️❤️❤️😢❤️❤️
I am thankful for my Oliver, who snuggles up next to me to watch a movie without any idea his mom is broken.
I am thankful for my Jimmy, who literally picked my up off the ground and carried me through the darkest days.
I am thankful for my family, friends and community who have surrounded me with love and support and reminded me how wonderful the world can be.
I am thankful for the paintings, where I can sit in front of a canvas and let the pain and sorrow melt away. I can turn my mind off and focus on lines and colors and patterns. I can take a break from life for just an hour or two and come back renewed. Whatever cosmic coincidence got me to start painting just before I lost my dad is truly a gift from heaven, because it's my respite.
I know that time heals all wounds and God will never give you more than you can carry, but during this holiday season I'm praying for that healing and lightening of the load. I believe life will get better, but I also believe there will never be a day when I do not miss my dad.
Thank you to all of my readers who have cared for me and supported me throughout the years, and throughout the last few months when I took a much needed break.
Looking forward to a much happier 2017.