From day one my dad was my hero. He could do anything in my eyes. He was everything I could’ve ever wanted.
Tonight as I was filling out my planner for December the inevitable label of December 13th showed up. I write in 5 years. Half a decade. My dad has really been gone half a decade. Almost a quarter of my life…That’s scary to think.
In my English comp class at Delta, I have been working on a personal essay. After many failed attempts on other subjects, I chose the day of my dad’s funeral. All those tiny details came back and it practically wrote itself.
This paper also got me thinking about the future and what it will be like.
Since he died I’ve gotten my license, my own car, jobs, started high school and college, working on finishing up high school. Before long I’ll look back and it’ll be 10 years. I’ll be done with college, on my own, with kids and a husband.
Some things I don’t remember about him. Like the sound of his voice and that rips me apart inside. But I’ll never forget those piercing blue eyes or that smile. Anytime I smell sawdust or the woodsy smell of my hunting clothes it feels like he just walked through the room.
For a long, long time there were even songs that I couldn’t listen to because they reminded me of him so much. One song imparticular I still have a hard time with “I loved her first” by Heartland. My mom always says that was gonna be our daddy-daughter song. I was his first baby girl… and he won’t be there.
I have been blessed with plenty of other important men in my life who would be nothing but honored to walk me down the aisle and dance with me in such a hard time. But it just won’t be the same without my dad giving me away. A little girl dreams about that her whole life. I won’t get that same experience.
It’s hard to face facts that he won’t be there to see me walk across the stage in the spring or to give me away to the man at the end of the aisle. But I wouldn’t be able to face life at all if it wasn’t for the memories I have. For the relationship so strong it makes my heart still beat.
On December 13th, 2017 I will be able to say I proudly made it 5 years. Living off memories and living in the legacy. I now make an effort to spend more time with my family, building those memories that’ll live through the grave.
This past week I hunted with my grandpa and even though I didn’t get a deer I’ll never forget hunting with him over the years. Even at 17 I still sit with him not that I need to it’s that I want to. Next week I go hunt with my other grandpa in my dad’s tree. We have seen maybe 20 deer total over a 3-year span but that’s not what it’s about. Anytime I have a free few hours I call up my great grandma to just visit or help out whenever she needs it.
I’ve learned that without memories death is a lot harder. My grandma died after I had not seen her for almost a year. Deaths hard on its own, but regret sets in too. So I made the decision to never let that happen again. I became really close with my aunt Bev for the year or two before she died and she left such an imprint on me. I have great memories going to visit her carrying on the “howdy-duty” tradition. She remembered that phrase the last time I saw her and we both instantly broke into tears. It was something special we shared.
Sometimes I can’t stand someone in my family, but I’ve learned one too many times that once they’re gone you don’t get that time to make memories anymore. I was so fortunate to have what I had with my dad. God gave me a father who is irreplaceable and nobody will ever be worthy enough of filling his shoes. Ever.
But had I not been so lucky…I’m not sure how I would’ve done it. I had 12 years of memories to pull me though. I cannot stress enough how important it is to spend time with loved ones and make those eternal memories. I’ve built snowmen at 9:00 p.m. with my great grandma and I’ll never forget it. I’ve hunted with grandpas and uncles and even in the longest, slowest days, I take something away.
Even if it’s just a couple hours make the effort. Make those memories that’ll survive the grave cause when they’re gone that’s all you have. Five years and I still have memories of my dad crystal clear. 3 years I still remember my grandpa Don when he’d sit between my legs at football games sharing a 3 Musketeers and a coke. 2 years I still remember my aunt Tammy’s SC accent, “Lexi Lou, my baby girl”.
It may not seem like much but the littlest memories will be engrained forever. Don’t waste the time you do have. You can’t get it back once it’s gone.
He may be gone, but his spirit will forever be in my heart and his hand on my shoulder. I will never be alone. Love you bunches daddy ❤