Category Archives: miss you

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy

I can’t believe another Father’s Day is here, the second since we said goodbye to Daddy. It seems that time is passing so quickly. Last year on Father’s Day, I bought a card for Daddy. I did the same this year. It doesn’t matter that he isn’t here… It is important to me that he is honored on such an important day, one that recognizes the amazing man that he was. Just because he isn’t here, doesn’t mean I can’t thank him for everything he was – and is – to me, and for everything he did for me. It wouldn’t seem right.

This morning, we went to Bay Pines VA to place flowers by Daddy’s memorial. It is always overwhelming to see his name there. I believe he is everywhere, but seeing his name there always make it seem even more real that he is gone.

fathers day 2012 bay pines 1

fathers days 2012 bay pines 2

I’ve always thought that my dad was an incredible man. He was injured and in a wheelchair before he married my mom and before I was born. I never knew him any other way. The wheelchair never mattered, though, and it certainly never affected his ability to be a good father. He did everything he could to take care of his family. If anything, the wheelchair he sat in for 55 years made him work harder. I would often say that he did more from that wheelchair than many people did up on their feet. And that is the truth.

When you spend 12+ hours a day in the hospital with your dad over the last four weeks of his life (whether you realize it or not at the time), you do a lot of thinking. The 38 years and 8 months I had with him seemed much too short. I am fortunate that there were not things left unsaid and that we were very close up until the last time we spoke. If I was unable to say that, I would be even sadder. To be able to say goodbye to him and know that all was good between us was very important to me. He knew how much we all loved him. That I am sure of.

Happy Father’s Day, Daddy. You may not be here with us physically, but your presence is obvious in my world every day. You always were, and still are, a great influence on me and my life. I like to think I am a strong and determined person because of both you and Mommy. You will be with us today as we celebrate as a family. I miss you every single day, and even more so on these days we would have spent together as a family. You were the best father in the whole world. I love you and miss you so very much.

me daddy little

me daddy playpen

me daddy chair

                                  I’d like to think, I’ll always be Daddy’s little girl…

nick jenna wedding 2003

                              A very proud Daddy, with Mommy, Mike, and me in 2003

family photo 2007

                                             Our last family portrait taken in 2007

me daddy fave

                                 My all-time favorite photo of Daddy and I, April 2007

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18 months ago

Dear Daddy,

18 months has passed since I said goodbye to you, since I held your hand, since I kissed your cheek, and since I gave you a hug…

But not a day has passed that I haven’t missed you, thought about you, or wished that I could have just one more day with you…

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I can’t believe that it has been 18 months since we said goodbye to you. How is that possible? The first several months were a blur, I was numb. The one-year mark seemed to arrive much too quickly. And now here we are, a year and a half later.

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I still remember ever single day of the month that you spent in the hospital, as well as your last day. The sights, the sounds, the emotions, and everything in between are all still very vivid. I am lucky to still be able to hear your voice in my mind, and I feel very strongly that you are with me often.

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You were taken from us much too soon and I miss you so much. I will be at Crystal Beach tonight, as I am on the 4th of every month, to watch what is sure to be a glorious sunset.

I love you, Daddy, and I miss you every single day.

It’s the little things…

I went to The Fresh Market on Tuesday to pick up some Love Grown Foods Granola. I had not been there in a long time, specifically since before my dad passed away. He LOVED that store. He would go there and come home with bags of goodies and treats. I had been there with him many times and one year, we even did our shopping there before Thanksgiving dinner.

My dad was famous for buying sweets and snacks that he know I liked. I used to ask him PLEASE do not buy me that stuff because I can’t NOT eat it when you do. But he just loved to do it and didn’t stop. I love that he knew what I enjoyed. One thing we both liked were the Raspberry Pillow Cookies from their bakery. OH. MY. GOSH. They were so good. Soft and chewy and sweet. He would buy a box of them and we would share them, of course.

So when I stopped in for my granola and passed the display with the boxes of Raspberry Pillow Cookies, it caught me off guard and I stopped. It’s funny how the smallest, silliest thing can bring a wave of emotion over me. Really? A box of cookies? It was just so my dad and I had to stop and think about it.

It’s been almost a year and a half since we lost Daddy and while it’s still hard and I miss him every single day, the pain is not as overwhelming as it was in the days, weeks, and months afterward. After it happened, I went around numb and cried alot. I don’t think I can even explain the hurt and sadness I felt aftwerwards. And when I saw those cookies, I had a overwhelming moment of missing him. It’s the little things…

So, I bought a box of the cookies. If Daddy had been there, he would have bought them for me. They taste as amazingly wonderful as I remember. I had one for me and then one for Daddy. And when I got home, since I can’t seem to find my willpower at the moment, I put each cookie in a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer. If I want one, I’ll have to wait for it to thaw out and it will be worth it.

I love and miss you Daddy…

Oh so heavenly…

All packaged up!

Happy Birthday Daddy

Dear Daddy, today you would be 79 years old. I can’t believe we have celebrated two of your birthdays without you.

So much has happened since we said goodbye. We’ve had some amazing family days, that I know you watched and were with us in spirit.

Mike and I adopted another Aussie last April, his name is Ozzie. He is your kind of dog – he is happiest at our side, being loved. Blue is still the wild and crazy dog you knew!

Autumn is getting so big. She is enjoying dance class and talking up a storm. She knows you are in heaven and she misses you, as we all do.

BJ and Darlene came out last summer for a week-long visit. As you can imagine, there was a lot of Scrabble playing and enjoying each other’s company.

In October, Jenna walked 60 miles over 3 days for breast cancer. You would have gotten such a kick out of it, all the people walking all those miles. Jenna did a great job, you would have been as proud of her as we all were.

Mommy and Mike and I went to California last Thanksgiving and we had a great time seeing all of Mommy’s family. We also drove through Long Beach and saw two of the old restaurant locations. I’m sure it’s nothing like you remember. But it was also a bittersweet trip. We visited Pop Pops grave. I know how much you missed him and wanted to see him again. I know you are with him now and I can only imagine the trouble you are getting into.

You would be so proud of me, I ran my first half-marathon in February! 13.1 miles! It was SOOOO cold and windy out that day. I kept thinking how you would have been all bundled up in your scarf, but even that would not have been enough to keep you warm.

Gene and Bea just left after being here since January 3. I know they miss you too.

We go to Crystal Beach on the 4th of every month for sunset. You have given us some amazing sunsets. Each one is different and just as beautiful. There are always quite a few dogs there, running and playing. It’s no wonder you enjoyed going there so much.

This weekend, we will get together as a family at Jenni’s house to celebrate both her birthday and yours. Just because you are not here, does not mean we don’t celebrate your birthday anymore. Your birthday is as special as ever.

I love you and I miss you every single day, Daddy. I don’t know that it’s any easier since we said goodbye, but remembering all the wonderful things from over the years certainly helps to keep your memory alive.

Happy Birthday Daddy. I hope you celebrate up in heaven – we will certainly be celebrating you down here.

Love you always…

A favorite photo of Daddy and I, on his birthday in 2007

Another month, another sunset

How does the time pass so quickly? How is it that every month offers a new and glorious sunset to remember Daddy by?

The 4th of every month is spent at Crystal Beach in Palm Harbor, a favorite place of Daddy’s. He loved to go and watch the sunsets, the people, and the many dogs who visited the beach. It’s a small beach in a small community, no surprise he enjoyed it so.

14 months ago, on Dec. 4, 2010, our family gathered at Crystal Beach and watched the sunset hours after he passed away. Never before had a beautiful sunset held as much meaning as that day. And every month that we go up there and see another sunset, it is another reminder that Daddy is with us in many ways. Amazingly, it has not rained one single time on the 4th of each month that we have gone up there. Daddy is making sure of that.

Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven.   ~John Lubbock

Sunset at Crystal Beach 02/04/12

Remembering Sweet Sammi

Two years ago today, we said goodbye to our Sweet Sammi. A little Terrier mix who ruled our home, loved us unconditionally, and left her paw prints forever on our hearts. She came into my life at just 6 weeks old, a little furball who looked like a gremlin. She was 17 when we had to have her put down on the sad Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009. She was such a good dog, although totally misunderstood. She was very protective and had poor vision, which meant if she didn’t know you, she would bark her head off at you and could sound pretty scary despite her 14 pounds.

A very young Sammi with my little sister.

She was my baby. When I met Mike, she had to grow to like him and of course she did. He loved her and spoiled her just as much as I did. She lived to be with us, to protect us, and to love us.

Stylish in her little diva sweater

We were lucky that she lived a very healthy life. She was only sick for a few days when very quickly, her breathing became very labored and after a couple days, we realized it was time to take her to the emergency vet. It was a dark, dreary, rainy Sunday afternoon when we said goodbye. I was lucky enough to hold her when she left us. When we left the emergency vet, the sun was out and there was a bright rainbow across the sky. I knew then we did the right thing, no matter how hard and sad it was. And since then, I think of Sammi everytime I see a rainbow and know that she is watching over us.

Snuggling with Mike

Dogs are with us for such a short time and they accompany us through different times of our lives. I was 20 years old when I got Sammi and she went with me when I moved in with Mike and made a home for the three of us. She was my comfort through our infertility heartbreaks and was always ready to curl up with me and love me. Sammi, along with Mike and I, made up our little family. She will forever be a part of us. We love and miss you Sammi.

Christmas 2008, our last with Sammi
January 2009 – one of my favorite photos of our Sweet Sammi

Reflection

I wrote this on Monday, not sure if I wanted to post it… But I decided that is what my blog is for. So, here goes…. My heart and soul are here for all to see in this one.
I did something on Sunday I had not done in many months. I drove by the hospital. I’m not sure what possessed me to do so as normally I avoid driving past it. When I finished my walk Sunday morning over the causeway, I headed home. This time, I turned onto the street that would take me past the hospital. Not only did I take the street that would take me past the hospital, but I turned ONTO the street the hospital is on. What was I thinking?
I pulled into the parking lot and sat for a few minutes. The parking lot that I pulled in and out of two, three times a day for 30 days when my dad was there. It seemed the same, but different.
As far as the building itself goes, it’s a nice building that faces the gulf, with Clearwater Beach and Sand Key in the distance. It’s a pretty view. But the building itself holds so many feelings and emotions. Walking in there when he first went to the emergency room due to his stomach pain, hoping and praying that whatever it was, was not serious and he would go home soon. Leaving the same day knowing he was being admitted and likely would have to have surgery. The day of the surgery when there was concern that afterwards, he would have to go into ICU due to his age and condition. The elation of his surgery going well and knowing he did not have to go to ICU, but rather a regular room for his recovery. Within 36 hours, the tone began to change and walking into that building took on a stronger, heavier meaning each time, as he was in the critical care unit for days until he finally started to recover. On Friday, Nov. 19, my mom and I took him home. I drove past the parking lot where him and I sat, his first time out in the sun in two weeks. He still was not 100% better but to see him up out of that hospital bed and in his wheelchair and outside was wonderful. He just needed to go home and finish his recovery.
The trip back to the hospital the next night would again change everything. Running into the emergency room, knowing he was being rushed there by ambulance, after possibly having a stroke. How could this be? He went home just the day before, all of his doctors agreed he needed to be home. For the next two weeks, I would come and go every single day, spending 12+ hours in this building. As much time as I could, I was in his room in ICU, the rest of the time I was in the waiting room. Our family took the waiting room over and the hospital never said a word.
This is the hospital that our doctors send us to for routine tests as needed. I’ve had surgery at this hospital myself. My hubby has been to that emergency room twice himself. All the times we had been there, we left well. The day my dad passed away, I walked out of there seeing it as a totally different building, one that I likely would have a hard time ever going into again.
It’s a very strange feeling to leave someone at a hospital. To say goodbye to a loved one, to my Daddy, and walk out of the building knowing he is still in there. Of course I know now that he left there with us and is with us everywhere we go. But I still remember that day very well, it is all very vivid in my mind and likely will be for a very long time. Just being in the parking lot again, I felt a wide range of emotions. Mostly sadness, pain, hopelessness – all thoughts of missing him and knowing I will never see him again. But I also felt a tiny bit of relief. I certainly was not relieved that he had passed away. No… My relief was in looking back on those 4 weeks in the hospital, mostly the last 2 weeks when he was in ICU, and that he did not have to go through that anymore.  All the tests, procedures, dialysis, and so on that he endured, most likely without even knowing it.  Being on the ventilator, having a feeding tube…. All the things that had we ever had a conversation about it, I know he would now have wanted. The big question then was to do a tracheotomy or not. I struggled with that a lot in those days, as we all did, knowing in my heart that he would not want that, but struggling with the thought of having him for one more day. I am glad, now, that we did not do it. It would have been one more thing for him to go through needlessly.
What happened in that room that day we said goodbye was the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life, but it was also an amazing day. My dad was surrounded by people who loved him and we all had the courage to hold his hand and say goodbye and watch him leave. He always knew he had us with him and I hope and pray that he knew we were right there with him that day, at that moment.
Will I drive by the hospital again? Probably so. At some point it’s likely I’ll have to go inside should the medical need arise. I’ll face that when the time comes. It’s still very surreal and I still have moments where I can’t believe that he’s not here. Tomorrow, the 4th, will be 8 months. 8 MONTHS. I know where I’ll be… Watching the sunset at Crystal Beach in his memory. We love and miss you every day, Daddy….

Running through the tears…

I had a good walk/run today despite the unbelievable humidity. But in typical fashion, the run part of my efforts turned into me into a blubbering, teary-eyed mess. I am not sure why, but it’s more common than not for me to cry when I run. I am not a pretty runner or even a good runner, but it’s certainly not physical pain prompting my tears.

Between the endorphins that are kicking and just the release I feel in being outside and taking time for myself, I start really thinking about my dad, and on come the tears.

I miss my dad and wish so much that I could talk to him and see him and hug him. I think of him many times, every day, but I am so busy that those thoughts and memories, sadly, tend to get pushed aside in the craziness of my day. But when I am running and I have the miracle of an off-switch for the work stress and more that floods my mind daily, the thoughts of my dad fill my heart and mind.

I am okay with the tears and the thoughts I have of him durning my run. But it sure makes it tricky to see some times. By the time I am done, I am totally d-o-n-e. Worn out and exhausted. I have always said that walking is my therapy and good for my mental health, and for the depression tendencies I naturally have. I believe that even more after I’ve had a good cry, running through the park. I need that time that I take for myself, tears, thoughts of my dad, and all.

Seven months today…

Today is 7 months since my dad passed away, specifically at 1:53pm. I cannot believe more than half a year has passed since the saddest day of my life. I miss him terribly, not a day goes by without thinking about him.

I am so thankful to have had the relationship I had with him. I know there are many who are not so lucky. I saw my dad at lest 5 days a week, if not more. We were always close. He was stubborn and often drove me batty but I loved him so very much. I had 38 years and 10 months with him, all of which went by much too quickly.

I think very often of the 4 weeks he spent in the hospital. I have never been on such an emotional rollercoaster as I was then. I spent every minute I could at the hospital. Somehow I kept the business going with as little time from me as possible and I am thankful that my hubby understood that I needed to be there every minute possible. Even in those last 2 weeks when he was not with us most of the time, I still had to be there to sit by his bedside, hold his hand, rub his shoulder, waiting and wondering what would happen.

Of his 4 weeks in the hospital, he was home for one day and there was one day I did not make it up to see him. It was the day before he went home for one day, his first stay. He was feeling much better that day and they predicted he would go home the next day. I used that day to get caught up on work and even worked late. I spoke to my mom a couple times throughout the day to check on him. I remember very well one of the later phone calls when he told her to tell me that he missed me and he loved me. The one day I could not make it up there and I felt SO guilty… But I know he understood why I could not be.

As hard as those final days were, I am thankful to have had them. He was surrounded by family, even as far as California and New Jersey. I have never shed so many tears in my life as I did those last days. And while I know that we made the right decision, it is still the hardest decision ever made. It is not fun to play God and decide when it is the right time for someone to die. And while we, unfortunately, never had the important conversations that we should have that may have made it all a little easier (although easier is not the right word), I think we all knew in our hearts that he never would have wanted to be in that hospital bed with all those tubes and machines keeping him alive. When he pulled his feeding tube out on what would be his last night, he was making it very clear what he wanted.

I miss you every single day, Daddy. I put on a brave face and go through the each day as I should and as I need to. But you are in my my thoughts and in my heart every single minute. Like I said to you in your last moments…. You were the best father ever and I will miss you forever.

I love you, Daddy.

I miss you Daddy…

Today is 6 months since losing my dad. The ups and downs I have had in those 6 months have been like a roller coaster. It is still so surreal to me that he is gone. He was such a huge part of our lives, the center of our family, to not have him here anymore leaves a hole in my heart. I miss him so much.

He always did everything he could to support his family, never taking no for an answer, and always determined to do the best he could despite his limitations. He did more from his wheelchair than most people will ever do walking. To say he was an inspiration is an understatement.

People tell me I will never get over losing him, that I will just get used to him not being here. I don’t know about that… How do you get used to not seeing someone you saw just about every single day?

His hospital stay is still very fresh in my mind. A total of 4 weeks in the hospital, his last two weeks being the hardest as he would come and go and there were so many unanswered questions and decisions that had to be made for him. It was hard making them but we all know we made the right decisions. Despite that, his last few hours were the hardest thing I have ever gone through and watching him leave us will always be a bittersweet memory. Saying goodbye seemed impossible to do but I feel blessed to have been there with him and my family. Daddy always relied on all of us to be there with him and for him – and that’s exactly where we were right up till the end.

Missing you today and every day Daddy…. I love you.