Today I woke up with a very strong urge to call my dad.
Throughout the last year there have been days where the desire to call him has been subtle, a constant sting that I’ve become almost numb too. But then there are moments like this, where I go to my call log, and begin searching for “Dad Cell” before I even realize what I’m doing.
Its still such a reflex to call when I’ve completed something, made a life decision, or simply to vent and rant about the day’s events. I still crave his outlook on life, sense of humor, and the way he could always relate to what was going on - no matter what (period cramps and all).
I find that I am not overly emotional when acknowledging this feeling today. I do feel down - knowing that speaking to my dad via my iPhone is truly not an option anymore. But I AM beginning to recognize that I need to get creative in finding ways to spend a moment with my dad and feeling close to him. If I truly believe he is with God in heaven and watching over me - which I do, I need to follow through on that thought.
Throughout the 6 weeks my dad was in hospice, I can recall numerous conversations we had with one another, mumbling through tears and emotional sobs, and some laughs, about how we were going to handle his passing. There is one that consistently comes to mind when I am struggling to feel close to my dad.
I never went a day without seeing him, no matter how busy I was. Even if it was 10 minutes before I had to leave to make it to Durham on time, I made sure to stop by the hospice home. One particular morning I was consumed with emotion - could barely walk the hall to his room without tears welling in my eyes. I went into his room and immediately hugged my dad (who was somewhat coherent and only able to produce whispers at this point). I began to cry hysterically, and I remember my dad placing one arm around me with the little strength he had, telling me not to cry and that it would all be over soon. Through the tears and incoherent sobs, I was able to mutter - “I am going to talk to you even when you’re gone”. My dad responded with “and I will try my best to answer you”.
Y'all. I. LOST. IT. I don't think either of us spoke again until I left for work that morning. I couldn’t begin to wrap my head around what that would look like and what the next year of grieving would hold for me.
For months after my dad’s passing I beat myself up for not being able to verbally communicate out loud with him. It just felt so unnatural. It was hard. It's still hard. However, that memory of our simple but powerful conversation reminds me that I need to uphold my end of the deal in order for my dad to uphold his. I constantly ask for guidance, messages, signs, etc. from God and my parents, but it must be difficult for them to come through if I am not open to receiving them.
Desiderata was my dad's absolute favorite poem, his mantra. I've had it framed in my room since I was a little girl. He lived and breathed by it's message until the day he died, and I intend to do the same. Reading this poem constantly reminds me to take a step back and enjoy all that life has and will continue to give me. And that he is always with me, no matter what.
"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here..." - Max Ehrmann (1927)
As of today I am declaring my openness to receiving - I am making intentional efforts to accept signs and messages, sharing thoughts with my dad as if he were right there with me. And to simply talk more about him out loud.
I am writing and talking as if my dad were nearby, laughing at the ridiculousness of my cat's veterinary needs or how I still haven’t showered yet today (whoops - no judgement). I can still hear my dad in his loving and encouraging tone saying “get up you lazy bum, its a gorgeous day out, go get some sun, enjoy it”.
I will dad, I will.
Thank you all again for letting me be raw and honest - I’d love to know your thoughts on being open to receiving guidance and love!