darkness · death · vulnerability



I’m still numb… and it’s odd because I’ve been drinking, so you’d think I’d be a little more emotional or thoughtful about this situation… But I still feel so out of sorts. Not confused, but like I’m in a dream and it will end any moment now. That would really be nice. For all of this to be fake… a big joke. If only. But it’s not. Dad’s really gone and when I hear others talk about their dad’s I want to tell them how fortunate they are… regardless of the relationship they may have… their father is still here, and they should be grateful for that.

More importantly, they should look for opportunities to grow closer to their fathers… because I haven’t always been close to my dad. It’s really only been about five years that we’ve been uber close… yes uber. And I owe that closeness to the want and desire I had to share myself with my family and friends. Over of a corse of a few months, I decided to become vulnerable with my parents and myself. I decided to share parts of my story with them I had never shared with anyone before…. and yes, it was challenging at times because who really wants to share intimate parts of themselves with their parents? But… I did, and it created this bond between me and my parents… especially my dad. A bond that allowed forgiveness and understanding.. a bond that allowed more unconditional love on both ends… And at the end of the day, I was happy I choose to do this.

My choices, though difficult, have shaped my life… And now I can look back at my relationship with my father and say, “we were close.” And I know in my heart I’m not telling a lie at all. I can confidently state that we could talk about so many different subjects, and even if he argued with me or I argued with him, in the end…. it brought us closer because we learned how to forgive one another.

After spending time at BAMA, which is 6 hours from home, I came to a place where my belief system was mine…. I learned how to think through things… really internalize them and determine for myself what I do and do not believe. For me this was one of the most challenging things I’d ever faced because it went against the way I’d been raised and what I’d been taught…. But I choose to think things through for myself… and honestly, my dad didn’t agree with some of my beliefs. He thought I was crazy… that I had lost my mind. But after explaining to him that, “this is my belief system and it’s in my name like my bank account,” he started to understand and respect. And our relationship got better. We both came to a point where we equally appreciated one another.

People have said, my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to be sad or regretful… and really I’m not. I don’t feel like I’m at fault. I just have a lot of thoughts and feelings… and if I don’t express them… (I love to think everything through full-circle)… well, I wouldn’t be the daughter Chris Winder was confident in. Because when I used to write on a daily basis, he was always questioning me and my motives… but he was still proud of me and encouraging me to move forward because he loved to watch the woman I was becoming. And honestly, I think this is how God views us. I believe he loves when we dig deep within ourselves because it gives us an opportunity to question him. And I believe he likes to be questioned.

Honestly, the more questions I ask, the more answers I get. It’s like the universe doesn’t get questioned enough, so it’s so willing to respond… or maybe that’s the way God created things. I really don’t know. But I do know, at the end of the day… I had a father that was closer to God than I ever imagined. I always thought my dad needed to be like other fathers I saw and knew because they were in church, serving people… but my dad did this without really mentioning the name of God. His kindness and attitude were apparent in his everyday life… and I hope I can be like this one day. I hope I can be Amanda Winder… as true to myself as Chris Winder was to himself.

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