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How do I start this entry...

Updated: Dec 7, 2021

This will be a long one...but, please stick with me.

I just opened my page after being away from it to realize that the last post I published was about my Grandma's passing. I have been neglectful. As the post I am about to write isn't all that cheerful either.

My heart is broken. I never really understood how much someone's death could hurt until I lost my Dad on Monday, November 22, 2021.

I don't even know where to begin when I try to explain the relationship that I had with him. He was my biggest cheerleader in everything I did. He was always in my corner, always there with words of encouragement, always there to help me see things from a different angle. He was so much for so many. A friend, a helping hand, a counselor, a shoulder to cry on, and hands to lift you up. He was always a phone call away if I was having a bad moment or day. He would just listen and offer up words of advice when he felt it was needed.

He loved so much and so deeply and so truly. This was so evident with his relationship with my Mom. God, he loved my Mom. All he ever wanted was for her to be happy. They were a perfect example of a marriage that worked, even when bumps showed up, they worked through it. My Mom has been amazing through this entire experience. Like us, she is taking it one day at a time. One task at a time, one project at a time, and one foot in front of the other.

He was a faithful man and wasn't afraid to share his Love of God. He always would say 'The Lord works in mysterious ways.' And, oh, he is so right. We don't know our paths and why things happen like they do. He loved Angels and knew that we were surrounded by angels in our every day lives. And hummingbirds...

I am so fortunate to have spent the weekend before with him on a trip to Milwaukee for a concert. I am so lucky to have had that opportunity. And, I will not take that time in the car chatting with him for granted. Ever.

He was the best Dad for my brother and me. He loved us both so much and loved our kids even more, if that's possible. He was always available to give a ride or to pick up someone, Or to let a kiddo stay with him at the house if it was a snow day or a sick day. He was so good at taking care of everyone else. He always put his needs last.

Mark, my husband, always said about my family that we Love Hard. And, when we love hard, things like a sudden death, hurt more.

The last few months since my Grandma passed have been hard on him. He was so sad, so heartbroken, exactly where I am today. I've never known my Dad to cry like he would. But, he would push past it and still find humor and levity.

I keep replaying the days leading up to his passing. Did we miss something? Did we miss a sign that something more than just a little shortness of breath was bugging him? He was an EMT, he knew the signs and symptoms of heart issues, he knew what to watch for and what could have been serious. And, no matter how many times I think about it, we still can't come up with the answers. Not that the answers will fix anything at this point. He's gone.

I hate saying that. I hate saying "My Dad is gone." "My Dad passed away." "My Dad died." I shouldn't have to say that right now. I should be with him, planning our Christmas Cookie baking day. Helping him figure out a gift for my Mom. Getting excited to celebrate his favorite holiday. But, here we are. Facing Christmas without him. And, without my Grandma, who also loved Christmas.

I stayed home from work today. My heart heavy and my body lacking sleep. Yesterday, my Mom and I went through all of his clothing and dresser drawers. We cleaned the junk out, we designated shirts to be used for a quilt or pillows, we selected pieces that could be donated, and tossed out stuff that was beyond worn. I thought that process would help me feel a bit... better(?), and better isn't the word I'm after. I actually don't know what I had hoped would come out of the process of cleaning things up. I could smell him on some of the items we worked through. I didn't sleep well last night.

The stages of grief are listed as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. As I look at that list, I think about my journey in these past two weeks. Denial occurred after I was told that he was deceased in the back of that ambulance. Anger - only at myself when I wonder what I may have missed. Bargaining - No, not really. There's no way that I can really bring him back. Depression - That's a given. I've never felt as sad as I do with the realization that my Dad is gone. I cry easily and I can feel the sadness on my face. It sits like a heavy weight in the muscles of my cheeks. Acceptance - I'm there. I really am. But, I keep reverting to that 4th step.

That 4th's interesting how, as a society, we are more in tune with the idea of depression. It's more socially acceptable to talk about depression and the state we are in. I don't like to admit that I'm depressed, there's still a stigma of weakness attached to it for me. But, here I am, openly admitting that for the second time in my life I am officially depressed. I won't seek medical treatment for it. I don't feel as though it's that severe. Though, being able to sit and 'talk' about it helps.

I have an amazing support system with my husband and my friends. My husband, God Bless this man, feels awful because he doesn't know what to do to help me. Right now, he is doing it. He is helping me in the best way possible by just holding my hand, pulling me in tight when I need to cry, and keeping the Kleenex on stand by. He is hurting, too. I know he is. But, together we are strong and we will make it through this.

In the meantime, the Christmas tree is up and I know my Dad is watching over us all. Christmas without him will be hard. Actually, Christmas without THEM will be hard. But, our faith is strong and our family is strong and we will get through this.

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