It’s been that long since my dad passed, It feels like an eternity. Suicide is sudden, there are no goobyes,hugs, kisses or apologies, reconciliation to be had. It’s just over. It is his birthday today which is why I am writing this blog. He would have been 72 years old today. I know many people reading this have experienced the pain of their parents dying. It is not easy and the pain still feels very heavy for me. People tell me it will get easier as time goes on, I don’t think about my dad as much as I used too, but the pain is still there.
I sat this morning sobbing while my boyfriend held me, just missing my dad. The pangs in my heart feel like a sharp knife. The memories flood in of his loud but charming laughter and ability to be silly and take over a room full of people. As I spend time with my gbaby, I sometimes shock myself as it comes into awareness that I am mimicking my dad as I play with her. He would with all his grand babies play on the floor with them and do gymnastics moves and let them climb all over him. He loved them and would teach and interact with whatever activity was going on.
I hold on the good memories of my dad. The suicide has become less of a focus for me as time passes. I feel terrible I couldn’t do more for my dad or enough but I am relieved that he doesn’t have to suffer with depression anymore. He doesn’t have to battle through memories of Vietnam or night terrors that he would have to sedate himself with medication to sleep through the night. He is free. I hold on to the things he taught me which was being passionate, bold and having integrity about the things I believed in life. He made me strong and gave me life skills that are innumerous. He never treated me like a princess, I was taught as a girl to carry our own weight in life,literally when we would backpack we had to be able to carry our body weight. I would cry and throw a fit like a girl but my dad would not hear it. We did Ride The Rockies as a family and if you don’t think riding up a mountain pass on a bicycle I wasn’t freaking out, I was. My dad would just ride beside me and tell me to keep going and that I was wasting my energy crying. I also played on the baseball team my dad coached. He was a semi professional baseball player. I laugh, as I remember him yelling at me from the sideline , “SHAUNA, slide into base.” I would yell back, “not in these jeans,DAD!” He never did understand my want to be fashionable. I fought him but I realize now it was all for my benefit. Hind sight in always 20/20.
Today I honor my dad on his birthday for the amazing memories of the life we shared and all the traits he left behind in myself, my children and my grandchildren.