One year ago today, my Daddy went home. He battled various illnesses for years and it was his time to be at peace and out of pain. It was difficult. He was just 60, and I was just 32. My brother was 27. That is too young to lose a parent. I know there are people who lose parents much earlier, and I feel for them. I had envisioned a life where my parents would live long lives and watch our children enter high school, go to college, get married and have children of their own.
This past year has been a lot easier than I thought. I suppose it is because I had been grieving the loss of my father for about 10 years. His first sign of failed health was an emergency heart valve replacement. That was shortly before Brandon and I got married. I remember the surgeon coming out into the waiting room and telling us that he would be surprised if my Dad made it through the night. His aortic chamber had torn during surgery, due to an enlarged heart, and they had to repair it with graphing. I was just 23 and my brother 18. I'm so thankful we had my Dad for almost 10 more years, but his health never fully returned after that. For years he battled with things like Parkinson's Disease and COPD. So for about 10 years, I cringed at every late night phone call from my mother. I jumped on planes and drove home when I thought it was his time. I can't count how many times I packed that black dress. My brother and my mother saw me as negative, I'm sure. I thought it was just being real. It was going to happen, whether I wanted it to or not.
During those 10 years, I got to talk to my Daddy on the phone a lot. He'd always end our conversation with, "Daddy loves you princess." He always, ALWAYS told me how much he was proud of me. He loved Miles so much and couldn't wait to get to meet Marley. Brandon was his son, from the beginning. Brandon would call him Mr. B. And my dad would love to chat about anything Aggie's, baseball or jazz with Brandon. Some of my favorite memories are of my dad and Brandon playing sax and trombone together. We always talked about the trio they would be when Miles would join with his trumpet.
The last time I saw my dad was about a month before he passed away. He was on a ventilator and various other machines. He couldn't talk, but tried so hard. He was there. His eyes trying so hard to communicate. I knew all he wanted to say was "Daddy loves you princess." I held his hand and asked him if he felt confident that he would be joining our Lord in heaven one day. He looked into my eyes and nodded yes, very calmly, like he knew it was coming. This wasn't something I doubted, but I felt like I needed to know.
Today, I am remembering my Dad. The great father he was to me. Oh Daddy, I miss you so much!