Now, I’m not walking around with my chin to the ground. And I’m not depressed, bawling my eyes out, or pessimistic about life… but I am heartbroken. Heartbroken for my mom and sister and even my grandparents. I feel like a piece of my grandfather died two weeks ago. I mean… Can you imagine losing your child? I can’t. Or losing your child so tragically when he was a gift from God. My father should’ve been dead before he was born.
And everything around me feels like a distraction from reality. Then again, I feel like that’s a harsh reality for most of us. TV, social media and so much more keep us distracted from the rawness of life. And sometimes… or a lot of times… life sucks. Personally, I’ve had a really good life. My parents spent 30 years together, nothing tragic has ever happened and my father made sure I got everything I wanted. Which makes me feel so ungrateful and so loved all at one time. So many times he would say, “y’all just don’t understand what it’s like to be me. You don’t appreciate me or what I do.” And at the time, I was so naive, selfish and disrespectful. I would always just brush him off because from the inside, my dad was my dad and his work was his work. I watched him become a custom home builder. I watched him gain enough confidence in himself to build million dollar homes… Still, I couldn’t truly see the beauty of it all… until now. It’s taken his death for me to see the beauty of his life. I can’t even enter our subdivision without instantly thinking of him because he designed and built the guard house… a long with 30+ homes inside.
Each home is custom and quality made. My dad cared that much for people and their wants for the place they rest their heads at night. And I never saw it. I just saw my dad… a goofy, annoying but incredibly loving man who wanted the best for his little “pooches.” He really did look at me with unconditional love. Bridge told me she and dad had a conversation once and he said, “man, Amanda’s not even the same person anymore. I don’t even really remember what she was like when she weighed 230 pounds, without confidence.” He saw me the way I am today, and the beautiful thing is that’s the way God sees us. As we are today… in this moment. He doesn’t compare us to the past or pressure us with our futures. And that’s so beautiful to me. It’s beautiful because I had a father who loved me just the way I was. Yes, he did drive me insane and try to control my life… but he loved me and accepted me and always wanted the very best for me. The best part is he still does… and that will never change.
So, where do we go from here? I hold my sister as she cries and all she can say is “this feels like a dream. I just want him to hold me and hug me.” And my mom says, “if he could just hold me one more time. If I could just go back to the hospital room moments, kick everyone out and let him hold me.” But that can’t happen…. ever. All of those moments are gone. Lost in the past. Stored in our memories. I’m grateful for voicemails, videos and text messages… but I hate to think of the day I might loose all of those.
Life is so precious. Really it is. And I honestly don’t think I’ve grasped how precious it is because I’m still kind of in shock… like Bridge said, “it feels like a dream.” A terrible nightmare. And I look around at the home my parents created together… all of the things they’ve collected over the years. It’s true, you can’t take it with you… but man it sucks for the ones left behind with all of it. Because this was a home with a husband and wife and now it’s a home with a woman who’s lost her husband. It’s not complete anymore. And I hate it. I truly hate thinking these things because it’s reality and reality sucks. But we’ll pick our pieces up and move forward because that’s what my father would want… it’s what he would expect us to do. Mom said, “your dad never told me what to do with the business or how to finish things. He just left it here.” And I told her he didn’t have to worry at all. He knew when Bridge and I got to Shreveport everything would be ok because we would pull together as a team, a family and work together. He knew, like I know, that I would make sure our family would move forward and finish what was started. And… I feel good about that.