Tomorrow is June 11th, and tomorrow marks one year. One year that my dad has been gone. It really seems almost surreal that it's been a whole year, it's felt like it's flown by, and yet, I've been waiting patiently for this day to come. This past year has been so full of the very, very hard part of healing; the grieving, the anger, the sadness, the tears, the bitterness. This year has been full of healing for all of those things, and that first year is just...hard. I understand now why the tradition for widows used to be that they needed to wait a year before they re-married, because even as a daughter losing her father, I've needed this year to feel...OK. After his long, horrific illness filled with pain, and way too many 'íncidentals' that lead to a sad, awful death in a nursing home, I've waited a long time to be...OK.
I think about my dad every day. I think about his loving kindness, his soft face with saggy skin that I used to play with in Sacrament meeting as a kid. I think about his silent way of pondering, he was a man who thought about things in a way most men don't, he contemplated and pondered. I think about his patience, the patience he showed as a Branch President to the church members he served, the patience he approached his children and grandchildren with. Never have I known a more patient man when it came to matters of the heart.
I remember when Kristoffer and I were engaged, and we were told we couldn't get married in the Temple as soon as we had hoped due to tithing issues. As terrified as Kristoffer was to talk to my father, they went for a walk together one evening, and when they returned, Kristoffer just told me how much he knew my father loved him. Kristoffer felt so loved by a man he wasn't even legally connected to yet.
I think about how my dad LOVED children. He truly had a divine connection with them, and he spoke to their tiny little spirits. They knew it, and they loved him. Even if they weren't sure of him right away, he would soon become their favorite person. Every child in his mind was precious and adored. When we were pregnant with Marin, we had a terrible scare and were told some testing showed she could quite possibly have Downs Syndrome. It was absolutely terrifying. My father, shortly after she was born and was confirmed she was healthy and did not have Downs Syndrome, asked about her and I just remember him telling me how precious she was either way. He would have loved her no matter what.
I miss my dad every day. I miss his voice. I'm so sad that my kids will not have their grandpa to play with and talk to. Oh, how he loved them! And they have just a handful of very young, tender memories that I am so terrified they will lose.
I'm so grateful he is no longer suffering in that wretched, disease ridden body. I am so grateful he is living with our Heavenly Father now, free from pain. I am grateful that he is spending time with this baby we are expecting in October. That makes my heart smile! I know this little girl will come into the world already having been sent from the other side with hugs and kisses from grandpa. She will be the first grandbaby born since his death, and I am quite certain that I will feel his presence here after she is born...my dad never could stay away from babies, he loved them so much we called him the "baby snatcher".
Spending time with Marin (at age 4 months) and my nephew, Scott.
Maaaany years ago...I was the little blonde sitting on his lap.
He used to let me paint his nails, such a good dad.
Lauging with my Uncle Don. This is the face I loved to see. My dad was so not photogenic, so catching his real face was a rarity.
Snuggling with my Marin.
Always happy to hold a baby!
So, dad: thank you for everything. Thank you for loving mom, and being a good husband. Thank you for wanting children and raising me as a patient, kind, loving father. Thank you for teaching me the right way to hear people, by listening to their heart. Thank you for teaching me all about life, country music and molasses cookies. Thank you for teaching me to do hard things and grow up. Thank you for teaching me how to grieve and be a grown up...a grown up that has been washed with tears of grief. I love you dad, and I miss you. Take good care of my baby girl up there while we wait for her arrival!