Friday, September 23, 2016

That September Day...

Alan Jackson has a song called “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning.”  He asks this in the first line of the song and he goes on to say… “That September day.”  Well, there is a day in September, which was not September 11th, where my world did stop turning.  It’s today, September 23.

You have been gone for 3 years today.  3 years.  It feels like it just happened yesterday.  I remember every single heart beat that day.  I had literally posted one of my Questions of the Day and asked the World Wide Web, what they would do if they had one extra hour in the day.  We had no idea you passed quietly in your sleep.  We had no idea that life as we knew it would change forever that most beautiful day in September, and my God, it was beautiful.  I cannot remember a more beautiful day.

How are you Dad?  Sometimes, there is an ache in my heart and it is not like the normal aches, it is like the kind of ache you get when you know someone, somewhere, is missing you, real bad.  And your heart aches back because you cannot fix it or get to them.  I FEEL you missing me.  I FEEL you missing all of us.  And although I know you are at peace where you are, I also know you are sad you had to go.  Actually, I have no idea if you are at peace where you are, I just hope to goodness you are.

So much has changed in the last 3 years Dad.  You would be so proud of your grandchildren, who are no longer children, but grown young adults.  Ethan FINALLY graduated college, I wish you could have seen it…it was such an emotional time for Sister.  Bella is on her last year of college, can you believe that?  The one who hated school?  She has to work so hard to get where she is going, I hope someday life gives her a break.  Dalton is a beast and I mean a beast.  He is probably going to be in strongman competition someday soon and he is so handsome, he is a senior this year Dad, graduating High School!  Kolbie, oh my goodness, you would not recognize how beautiful she is, and a different hair color almost every other week!  She still loves school as much as she always has, not, but she is going to the homecoming dance this year and I am positive you would have raked that young man that is taking her, over the coals before they went.  Brother is doing well, I am so proud of him, you already know why.  I see so much of you in him anymore, it is kind of scary.  Sister works like 4 jobs and I hardly ever see her anymore, but we stay in touch. 

The most important news I have for you is about me.  I don’t even remember the last time I was able to talk about something positive about myself with you, it always felt like I was just going to be faced with many adversities my whole life and I guess I was getting used to just living that way.

Anyway, I am getting married; her name is Kristina.  On a Beach in the Florida Keys.  And most importantly to my best friend.  I never fathomed this day to would come.  Someone I feel like I have already known for a lifetime.    You would love her.  She is originally from Up North, near Green Bay, BOO, but she is smart, she is funny, she is beautiful, she loves me unconditionally, she was a total surprise and by surprise I mean I had been trying for years to get her to pay attention to me, and for whatever reason she finally did.  We work together, I know I know, but it works for us.  She is my car pooler and we have a lot of fun.  She makes me laugh.  A lot. 

She has 3 teenage boys Dad.  THREE!  TEENAGE BOYS.  They eat a lot of food.  And we always never have enough in the house.  They are active and involved in a lot of things so sometimes its major chaos and if you remember me, I don’t do chaos well.  I am not very good at this parenting thing.  Not good at all.  And I am always reminded about the time I was told 3 years ago that I would not be able to have kids and you grabbed my foot and said “they aren’t all they are cracked up to be.”  They are a lot of work.  They are a full time job.  I don’t parent them, as they have parents, I just try to support her and be supportive and it is hard when they push her buttons, to keep my mouth shut and let what happens, happen.  Contrary to popular opinion, she is a damn good mother and its one of the reasons I fell in love with her.

I am saddened to my core that you are not alive to see one of the biggest events in my life.  I can hear you say “Florida, what’s in Florida?”  Well, we both love beaches and hope to someday end up living close to one.  I know you would have made the trip, as you had become quite the world traveler before you passed.  I also know you would have driven me nuts once we got there. 

I am sad you will never know these boys.  I have a feeling you and Brock would have hit it off quite well.  He’s a ladies man and has these huge dimples which usually win people over, but he is quite ornery.  You would have loved all the boys and I would have said good luck getting much out of Drew, he’s the quiet one.  But don’t let that fool you; there is so very much going on in his mind.  You would have loved coming to the basketball games and watching Quinn play, he is amazing and very fun to watch.

There are moments, I cannot breathe without tears rolling down my eyes…and sometimes I just look at Kristina and say, he should be here and she knows what I am talking about.  You see, her father passed suddenly too, it was something we had in common and she gets it, she really gets it.

My health has not been the best, but you know I have fought this since I was 7.  We take one day at a time and Kristina has been a blessing…for the first time in my life, I don’t have to go through things alone.  After you died I took on the motto of getting busy living instead of getting busy dying, but this has made this hard to do sometimes.

Most importantly, I wanted you to know that I am no longer alone.  43 years…was a long lonely time.  She fills and continues to fill, all of the empty spaces.  She lets me be me, and honors and respects who I am.

I finally published my book and I finally made it to see Adele.  Never mind who she is, it was a great concert.  This year alone, I have been to Mexico, California, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Collecting memories not things.  We get a lot of grief about our travels, but if I die tomorrow, I sure as hell am not going to care about people who think I travel too much.

September is so hard for me.  On so many levels for so many reasons, but today, on the day we found out our father was gone, I try to take a moment and tell myself that I need to live life to the fullest.  To embrace all the good days and bad days because at least I still have the days.  I know we don’t tell the people we love that we love them enough.  I know we get caught up in the nonsense of life…
I am glad you are not here to see what the world is becoming, everyone hates everyone.  It is so sad.  Donald Trump could be our next President for the love of God, which you would absolutely love.  And you would love telling Crooked Hillary jokes…all day long; to whoever would listen to them.  God you would love it.  I don’t want either one of them running our country but I can assure you that if Donald wins, the world will never be the same.

I do not know where you are, or what you are doing today, I just hope you don’t have to relive what happened like we do.  I hope you are happy, laughing, fishing, and telling stupid jokes, whatever it is that makes that ache a little less today.  And wherever you are, I hope you know that I am finally, for the first time in my life, deeply loved.  And it feels amazing.

I love and miss you so very much.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fear

II bet most people would be surprised to know that I feel fear. I feel like if I say that, a lot of people would say, not you. You aren't afraid of anything. Wrong. I'm afraid of a lot of things. 

You know the phrase frozen in fear? The one time I remember being in such a state I was driving to northern Minnesota with my friend Dana and her very little daughter who was sleeping soundly in the back seat. In my peripheral vision I saw a giant blob came at the side of the car and in a fraction of a second the glass had shattered everywhere. I didn't slam on the brakes, I didn't swerve. I didn't even scream. In fact I just let off the gas till we coasted to a stop. I remember Dana speaking. Words that I couldn't hear. I parked the car looked at her daughter who was completely covered in glass and still asleep. I got out of the car and stood in the pitch black road staring at the ground. I could still hear Dana speaking but I couldn't speak back. I was literally frozen in fear. I didn't want her daughter to wake up and grab the glass. I was responsible for these two lives and I almost lost them. Almost lost myself. I was petrified. 

I wouldn't experience that fear again until years later on a lake, also in Minnesota, when I literally almost snapped my back in half. When I was completely frozen in fear my with face under the water not able to feel my legs. 

I fear a lot of things. I fear my mother will not be proud of me. I fear I won't do my job to the best of my ability. I fear Brodie will have a massive seizure and it will be the last one he will ever have.  I used to fear I would never love another human being or that I would never allow one to love me. But recently I have a new fear. And it's not one I am accustomed to. I fear I won't wake up. 

Apparently this is a common feeling or phenomenon that a person who has lost a loved one experiences. It doesn't feel common. It feels terrible. It feels ominous. It feels sad. 

My father was for all intents and purposes plucked out of the sky. He went to sleep. And never woke up.  

I live big. I love big. Everything I do I do it with my whole heart or I don't bother doing it. There is no point. Everything I do is out loud. Larger than life. Go big or go home. It has to be. Living is no exception. But recently my mortality has been nagging at me and it has created an enormous amount of fear. Not debilitating. It's just there. Like a cloak. It doesn't come in waves it's just there. Present. Tap tap tapping on me to listen. 

I don't profess to be the best person. I just try to be the best me I can be. There will never be another me. And I will not have children to leave this legacy of me through. I hate that I will never have a person say to me that he or she gets that trait from their mother. There are a lot of things I will never be. That one pains me the most. 

Do any of us know when our last day is? No. We don't. Or when. Or how. Or why. But we sure spend a lot of time not living. So when you see me out and about and your first thoughts are wow she's intense. Or wow she's so sensitive. Know this. I'm scared to death. Scared of not living while I am living because to be honest I can close my eyes tonight and that could be it. So while I am living it's going to be big. And it's going to be out loud. Or for me, it's just really not living at all. 

My wish for anyone reading this is to please live. Now. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our Father...

Hey Buddy! 

Lol. I've never called you that. 

Hi Dad!

It's been two years in a few short hours. Feels like 2 minutes. I've been overwhelmed? Overcome? With grief these past few weeks. I say weeks because it's seriously been that long. Weeks since I've felt anything besides pain. I don't know why. I don't know how. I just know it's all I feel. 

I tried to explain it to Mom tonight but I can't. And yet I know she understands. I hope she does. I pray she does. 

I pray for a lot of things Dad. I mostly pray that you are listening. Because I cannot imagine a world any longer in which you are not. 

Year two brings all sorts of regrets. Things I should have said. Things I wished I had said. Things I DID say. I am not sure where these regrets came from but there they were.

 I'm incredibly imperfect. Mom told me she tried to tell you so and you refused to listen. Or you wouldn't help her sort it out. I am blessed that she took it on herself and embraced me. I know you did too. We had a chat. Over an ice run for four-wheelers. Lol. Never forget it. 

I miss you. Something fierce. 

I don't know if I will ever find me again. I don't know if I ever knew who she was to begin with. I just know that my heart has an empty space where you used to be. And I also know I will never be the VP of Dick Blick. But thank you for telling that young man that night that I was. Because I will never forget it. 

My God I miss you. 

Our Father. Who Art in Heaven. Please tell my Dad I miss him.