When I was a single mom, my dad still watched over me – he took my car in for oil changes and made sure it was running well. When Paige locked herself in the bathroom and I couldn’t figure out what to do, he came over and showed me how to get the door open. It was stressful and scary being on my own with two little kids, but knowing he was there if I needed him helped me relax and get through the days.
When we found out my dad was sick, that the cough and fatigue was lung cancer and not a stubborn case of bronchitis, it was almost too much to process. I couldn’t imagine a world without my dad in it, and so I just refused to believe that he wouldn’t beat this disease. And less than two years later, even though we knew he was so sick, it was still a shock to me when I got to the hospital and found out he had passed away while I was stuck in traffic. I thought I was going there for a meeting with the doctors and family to plan the next stage of his care; I never, in a million years, expected to walk in and find out he was no longer with us.
It will be 13 years tomorrow, and I still miss my dad every day. I still talk to him and feel like he’s watching over all of us. Whenever something big happens, I think about the fact that he isn’t here to see it (sometimes that’s a good thing, like 9/11 or me going deaf; sometimes it’s a bad thing, like when each of my brother’s three wonderful children were born). How lucky I was, though, to have him for my dad. How lucky we all were to have him in our lives, even if the time was too short.
Paige, me, Eric, my mom and my dad – late 1999