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The holidays have been different since my dad passed away 6 years ago.
But this is the first season that I have felt the loss, his absence so keenly. It's like grieving all over again and I'm overwhelmed by how much I miss him.
The day I found out seems like a scene from a movie. I was at work, around 9:00 AM and I got a call - the call. I got up from my desk, rushed to an empty office, but before I made it inside, I heard it and yelped, No. Three of my colleagues, all women, were beside me, arms around me, crouched down in front of me, in an instant. I can't remember if I was crying.
One of them handed me a $20 to take a cab home. I went to my boyfriend's apartment, climbed in bed, and slept. What else could I do?
The memorial service was a blur. Still is a blur. I wouldn't remember who was there if not for the guest book. The weeks and months after that, I cried a little, but not a lot. I had nightmares, but during the day, I was a shell of myself, going through the motions.
And I realize that I have been pretty numb all these years. I've missed him every day since he died, but I have been avoiding how much it really hurts. How scary it is to say, he's not here and never will be again. How hard it is to admit that I used to pray, plead, bargain so that he would live long enough to see grandchildren. How shocked and stupid I felt that I took for granted he would live long enough to walk me down the aisle. Why didn't I pray for that instead?
My dad's name is Sam and his birthday is on December 13. My husband and I are putting together a little gift for him, for me, to celebrate. I'll share it with you on Friday.
If you're missing a loved one this Christmas, bless you - it aches, I know. Let's remember them together.