It hit me today.
The grief struck.
I really haven't cried about you dying since you died. It's been over 6 months since you left, and it's been hard, but it has been different than it was with losing Joshua. In a way, losing Joshua almost softened the blow of losing you. Another gift that he gave me. Not that I don't care that you are gone, it's just a different kind of grief. Something a little more natural- a daughter always knows that her parents will probably die before her. It's the natural order of things.
When we first found out about your cancer, I grieved and I grieved HARD. We knew you were going to die. We left nothing unsaid, and I loved you as much as I possibly could until you left. Although your diagnosis was surprising, and the disease spread quickly, I was prepared. Our conversations in the quiet moments that we were alone were what I needed to be able to let you go when the time was right. The final act of bathing you and preparing your body for the funeral home was a final act of love- a small way for me to say thank you for the life that you gave me.
Your love for me was a secure kind of love. Something that I knew, no matter what I did or said, would never change. It was a father's love for her little girl- something that I was so fortunate to experience.
But, Dad, I miss you.
I have so much I want to tell you. I just want to pick up the phone and hear your voice. I want to hear your excitement about our new house, Caleb's first day of school, and Lukey crawling. I want to hear your concern about the car troubles that we seem to have every few months, and I want to hear your jokes about dad saving the day with the AAA membership for Christmas.
I want to see you smile at Caleb's obnoxiousness. I want to hear you tell Hannah that you are going to go to Kmart for a bigger head for her. I want to hear you joke that Tom's dog is smarter than Lukey.
As I dropped Caleb off at school this morning, I watched him walk in to school. He half skipped into school, carrying his oversized backpack. That is when the grief struck. You would have been so proud to see him. You would have laughed at how he told me, "It's ok mom, you can go away now. You don't need to walk me to my class." You would have loved to hear him reading entire books and writing complete sentences.
As I drove around our new neighborhood, the grief became too much. I know you would be so proud of us. You would have loved this neighborhood. You would have been so excited that the kids will finally have sidewalks to learn to ride their bikes. You would have been so excited that we will live in a neighborhood with what seems like a thousand kids, just on our block alone. You would be so proud of Shane for working hard at his job to provide for your daughter and grandchildren.
Dad, I miss you. I miss talking to you. I miss your wisdom, your encouragement, and your jokes.
I guess I just needed you to know all of this. It's been too long.
I love you, Dad.