My life has been on hold for the past week or so. I feel it is time to share why. This is not easy. I'm not much of a sharer, not about the personal stuff. But, this is my outlet- my place to be me and now there is a new part to me- incredible loss.
My father went for a run on Thursday May 22nd. He was a strong, healthy, 63 year old man who ran charity races often. He felt overheated and got a ride home from a neighbor. He showered and dressed and told my mom his arm and jaw hurt. He laid down in the bed and closed his eyes for the last time. My father suffered a massive heart attack, a big event, what doctors term the widow-maker. It struck hard and fast, with no warning. Thus, my life has changed. Now there is the before and the after.
The before is the good stuff. The memories, stories and feelings that a doting father bestowed upon his only child. He was a tough football coach and I was his baby girl. Over the past week I have heard so many wonderful things about the man he was. Stories that surprised me and my mom. We knew he was one of the good guys, but we had no idea just how far his reach spread. This is what comforts me now. The stories his former players tell, how he drove them to and from school everyday for two years. How he reached out to them, without judgement, when they needed it most. He was many peoples' best friend and confidant. He was the one they went to when life got them down. Over three hundred people came to the service celebrating his life. There weren't enough seats. It was heartbreakingly beautiful. I felt lucky. Lucky to be his daughter. Lucky to be so special to the man that was special to so many. I will carry that with me into the after.
Through the tears (there are so many) and the pain (there is so much) I focus on his life. He did so much in his too short time. I want to be like that. I want to say the things that need to be said to the people that need to hear them when no one else will. I want to be the kind of person that people remember with a laugh and a smile. I want to be the daughter (and mother) he saw me to be. He loved me and was so proud of me. He told me often how much he loved my photography and my blog- so I will continue to post here. It's cathartic. This is my happy place. This is where all the good memories are kept. I need this now, more than ever.
In the practical sense, my mom and I are doing alright. This is all unimaginably difficult. Sometimes it seems very out-of-body. It's like there is all this really sad, unfair stuff happening to someone else and it makes me sad. Then I remember that it's all real and its happening to me. Byron has been my rock and Alice has kept us laughing. So that's good. We are able to laugh, and eat and do laundry. Life goes on. My daddy raised me to be strong, so I am trying. Thank you for reading and caring.