Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"10 Miles Behind Me, 10,000 More To Go"

Eight years ago today my dad died. He was not my biological father but I loved him just the same. He raised me from the time I was about 2 years old.

I think of him all the time but most of the time I can ignore the sadness. I used to have dreams that he wasn’t really dead, that he would come back into our lives but that he couldn’t remember much of anything. I never understood where he had been but I was glad to have him back and be able to hug him. Then I’d wake up and realize I would never see him again. I don’t have those dreams anymore.

I will never forget the call I received from my 15 year old sister that day saying that the ambulance was there and they were taking him to the hospital. I told her not to worry, that it would be ok. I felt so bad for her and wanted to make her feel better. Little did I know he was already dead. I feel guilty for ever telling her that it would be ok.

I had just seen him the day before. He wasn’t feeling well but everyone thought it was just a cold or the flu. I saw him for a minute that day when he came down to the kitchen in his robe. I told him hi and that I hoped he felt better soon. I hope I told him I loved him but I don’t remember.

My mom was out grocery shopping and my sister was at home with my dad. When my mom got home and found him, he was dead. My poor sister had no idea anything out of the ordinary was happening upstairs. He had no major health problems – it was completely unexpected.

He was 49 years old.

I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I never got to say goodbye. What I wouldn’t give to be able to give him one last hug. He loved kids and would have made an absolutely wonderful grandfather.

He used to sing to my sisters and I when we were little. One of the songs I remember the most is “Sweet James” by James Tay.lor. I sang that song at his memorial service. Whenever I think of him it pops into my head. Singing it or humming it is my way of remembering him without having to talk about him. Sometimes the words sound a little garbled.

As much as I miss him and feel sad that he’s not here, most of my sadness is for my mom and my sisters. It’s just not fair that they had to lose their father, that she had to lose the love of her life. I wish I could bring him back for them – even if I could still never see him again.

Today my sister and I took the day off from our jobs to hang out together and remember him. We didn’t talk about him much but we baked bread and congo bars (he was a baker and always the cook in our family) and celebrated his memory.

I love you dad.


  1. I'm sorry for your loss, what a great way to remember him.

  2. Remembering him with you.

  3. Thinking of you. What a sweet way to celebrate his life. (((hugs)))

  4. That is one of my favorite songs. Last year, I was taking a class on the philosophy of education, and for a modes of knowing segment, we were supposed to bring examples of music that moved us, and one of my classmates brought this song, and I sat there in class sobbing, because during the drive out to this part of the country when we moved out here, that James Taylor album is one that we listened to over and over. And that song just reminds me of moving away from my home, from the place I love, to this place here (which will just never be home for me, no matter how hard I try. I choose to be here because I love my husband, but this place is not where my roots run deepest, you know?). Anyhow, I am so very sorry for your loss, but I just wanted to relay that I share that very powerful emotional connection to that song with you. It's a totally different kind of loss, I know, but it is very much a loss all the same.

    This is such a wonderful remembrance of your dad. Very, very sweet, very loving and lovely.

  5. My husband has the same feelings for his step-father, whom he lost in November. Losing someone you love is never easy. And although time helps ease the pain, it will never fully go away. My thoughts are with you and your family today.

  6. This is a lovely tribute to your dad.

    Abiding with you and your family while you remember him and your love for him.

  7. I sorry about your dad. I know what it is like to lose the person who is like your father. I had a crappy real father, so my grandfather filled that spot. He died right after I met my husband, he never got to meet him. I think of my grandpa every time I hear The Greatest Man I Never Knew, by Reba McEntire. I found out about alot of his life after he died. He was a quiet kind of man. But he loved us, and I loved him.


  8. I can't believe that was 8 years ago. Wow. I'm so sorry that it is still hurting so much for you, but I think that's a good sign that he was a great father. We miss the one's we love the most, and that's really how it should be.

    Love ya always!!