I have SO many mixed emotions about June 5th. Feelings of grief mixed with overwhelming gratitude. June 5, 2007 my amazing Dad passed away. He suffered from stomach cancer for years before finally being freed from his physical body. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was 19 weeks pregnant with my 5th baby and we had been spending most of our time at my parents house for months. Dad and I took turns throwing up together-him from the cancer and me from morning sickness. We knew the end was getting close and just the night before I had felt prompted to go and sit with my Dad and leave the kids home with Reid so that I could be with Dad one on one.
When I got to the house, I sat with Dad so that my Mom could go for a walk and get some fresh air. Dad was asleep, but he would randomly squeeze my hand and I knew that he knew I was there. Before I left, I kissed his forehead and told him that I loved him. As I said the words I just knew that it was going to be the last time I got to say that to him in this life. I cried the whole way home and most of the night. In the morning I decided that I would clean our house from top to bottom. I’m a stress cleaner and we’d spent so much time at my parents that my house was a total wreck. As I gathered the supplies to clean the bathroom I had the distinct impression to take a shower and get ready for the day instead of cleaning. I ignored the prompting and continued to clean. Again, I felt the prompting to take a shower and get ready for the day and again I ignored it. As I was cleaning the second bathroom, I got a phone call from my Aunt Michelle and she said that Dad had no pulse. All I could think about was getting to my mom as quickly as possible, but I didn’t know how long I’d need to be there and I was covered in bleach. I quickly hopped in the shower and while I was in the shower the power went out. No big deal-I wasn’t staying there anyways! Except that I couldn’t get my car out of the garage to leave. Had I been in a normal frame of mind I would have known what to do, but I was in panic mode and I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to say to my kiddos when we got to my moms. How was I going to tell them that Papa was gone?
Eventually I gathered my thoughts and was able to figure out the red cord process for the garage door and get to my moms to help with the funeral home and the arrangements. That night, the part of the day that stood out to me the very most was how my own stubbornness had made my day so much harder! Dad had died, but my Heavenly Father had tried to make the day, one of the hardest days of my whole life, just a little bit easier and smoother and I ignored Him. I am forever grateful that I listened to the prompting the evening before to go and sit with him. Even in his death, my Dad was still teaching me lessons.
This year marks 11 years without my Dad. 11 years of missed holidays, six of my snuggly babies that he hasn’t held, and countless other events that he would have loved and yet somehow I know that he HAS been there. As the years pass, the pain doesn’t go away. I wouldn’t even say it lessens, but after 11 years without him I have become so grateful for the 25 years that I had WITH him. He made me who I am! He taught me more in 25 years than some people learn from their dads in a lifetime. He was funny, sarcastic, ornery, the first to laugh and the first to cry, he was kind and stern at the same, he didn’t mince words but that made his compliments worth that much more. He was a police officer, a protector of the people, but mostly he was a protector of me.
Today I choose to be grateful for 25 years with the worlds most amazing Dad. Today I am going to laugh and tell funny stories about him and look at old photo albums with my kids. Today we are going to take cookies to our local police department in his honor. Today I am going to try harder to be a better person, a better mom, and a better wife because I know he is watching and I want to make him proud.