Dear Dad- 6 months of missing you

Dear Dad,

Well six months have passed since I have heard your voice or have seen your big smile. In fact, right around St. Patrick’s Day was close to the sixth-month anniversary of your journey to heaven. I know you spent St. Patricks’ day wearing your fun Irish hats, beads and spreading your Irish humor and fun. There is not one single day that I don’t think of you. To be honest, the first 3 months after you had left us I cried myself to sleep every single night. I think when you lose someone so close, you hang onto those last memories that you had with them. My memories were watching your 10-day transition to Heaven and although it was very sweet, calm and full of love — it was also heartbreaking. I do feel blessed that I had that time with you, as I know not everyone does. I truly thought I had more time with you, so it was hard to wrap my brain around the fact that it came so quickly. You were my person for 24 years– my Mom and my Dad. The amount of calls that came between us may have been more than a typical Father and Daughter- who knows, but what is typical. All I know is that you were always there. You were there to ask about my jobs, my boys, my daily life and all the ups and downs. You were so easy to talk to, that’s probably why you had so many friends and loved ones singing your praises. So yes, for the first few months I was extremely sad and trying to navigate life without you. But once the New Year hit- I knew that I had to try a little harder to work on my mindset. I could remain sad and replay those last 10 days over and over, or I could try to replace those memories with really happy memories. We have so many happy memories, so each day I would pick a few while I was out walking and focus on those. I would try to talk to you more, ask you to show me signs you were OK or if I saw a certain bird I wondered if that was you saying hi.

Grief does crazy things- the mix of sadness, disbelief and denial, anger, and all of the things that just come out of nowhere seem to make no sense. But that’s what grief is- it makes no sense and it is different for everyone. I learned to just let it happen when it happened and to take care of me. Focusing on the happy times helped to train my brain to find those memories vs. re-playing those last 10 days in my head.

In February, I started to journal. Each morning I would just write you a little letter and tell you what was on my mind that day in missing you, or remembering things we did or laughed about. I shared things that I knew you’d get a kick out of, and ask you questions about being in Heaven. This journal has helped me cope and heal a bit more and I look forward to continuing it.

Grief takes time and we can’t be hard on ourselves. If we find ourselves sad out of the blue- holidays are especially hard for me (even Valentine’s Day was)– it is OK. This is the year of firsts– and every single first without your person will be hard. You are trying to find your way without this person and it’s not a choice you were given- it’s something you have to deal with, cope with and find ways to keep your person close to you. Mine are journaling, taking walks and looking for things in nature as signs you are with me, and remembering all the good memories.

I hope that by sharing my grief journey here and there, I am inspiring or helping someone else on their grief journey too. Be good to yourself. I make sure I focus on sleep (which seems to be better now than those first 1-3 months), getting exercise, and taking care of my emotional and physical needs. The last thing I want or need is to fall hard because of stress and not dealing with my grieving in a healthy way. So even though it may be hard to find motivation certain days– just make sure you take care of you!


A Story About A Girl

This is a story about a girl….A girl who had a special bond with her Dad. He came to all her games as a kid while her Mom worked. He drove her to school many days, he took her to get ice cream, go for walks and so much more. They snowmobiled in the winters, and they went to the lake up north in the summers.

This girl respected and listened to his rules as a kid (being a little strict at times), and as an adult became friends with him. He taught her that rules and respect happen at home. She listened, she never wanted to disappoint him.

Their relationship changed when she lost her Mom when she was 21 (and in her last year of college). Her Dad now became her best friend. Their bond grew stronger as he had to be her Mom AND Dad for the next 24 years. As an adult, they took trips, they reminisced about him coaching her softball games, they had lunches, coffee, he got to meet her husband-to-be (at the time) and created a bond with him over sports, Wisconsin and life. He then watched her raise her sons and cheered them on in all they did, took them fishing, spoiled them with treats and gave them belly laughs with his humor.

This is a story about a girl who never dreamed of a wedding dress or certain things for her wedding day, but just dreamed her Dad could be there to walk her down the aisle.

This is a story about a girl who watched her Dad fight SO hard the past 18 months (from Diabetes complications), and she was by his side telling him it was NOT an option to stop.

This is a story about a girl who called her Dad a few times a week just to talk and he was always there for her.

This is a story about a girl who shared a few amazing memories this summer with her Dad- taking the boys boating and fishing, a day on the river with all four of his kids and his brother.

This is a story about a girl who saw her Dad made friends with every single person he met with his warm and kind personality- she learned so much by watching how he treated others. He lit up a room when he walked in and ALWAYS asked, “How are you doing?” He was full of life, full of personality and full of warmth. He was always kind, funny and someone you wanted to be around.

This is a story about a girl who knew the time came where he couldn’t fight anymore, so she spent special time with him. Each day was a blessing, and she cherished it with all her heart. She understood, even thought it was hard. She told him all the things, and he told her he lived fully and now it was time to go.This is a story about a girl who knew the end was coming very soon (within hours), so she told him he could go and be an angel and she was so confident he would watch over her! She re-assured him that she’d make sure she lived out his legacy and teach her boys to do the same.

This is a story about a girl who told him “Sweet Daddy, it’s your time”……and an hour after she left, he took his last breathe. Maybe he needed to see/hear her one more time, maybe he needed the re-assurance his baby would be OK and has so many people to take care of her, maybe he was being called to his new life right after she left and the timing was exactly how it was supposed to be.

This is a story about a girl who is heart broken that the most amazing man she has ever known for her entire life is no longer here to call or see. BUT she knows he is in an amazing place, ailment free and watching over her already. He believed in her more than she believe in herself — and he has taught her that she can and will do anything she sets her mind to!This is my story, and I am this girl. I was so blessed to have the most amazing father, a special bond for 45 years, so many memories and so much love.

This story has a new chapter, and I don’t know where it will bring me but I know it’s living out his legacy and honoring him every day.

Cheers to a wonderful man that I got to have for 45 years. I miss you already, but every day I will look for signs from you. RIP sweet Daddy, until I see you again…..💚☘👼