When Do I Get My Mom Back?…

Can I ask a really real question for a moment?…

Life… Can you pause yourself for a moment and answer a question for me?…

When does my dads death stop killing my moms joy, happiness and life?…

When does she start living again?… When will she figure out what’s next and how to move forward?…

Because, I’m gonna be real honest, I miss my mom… Sometimes I miss her more than I miss my dad… And I talk to her a lot… But she’s so different… She’s so sad…

The death of my father and my aunt have kind of placed her in a sad place in life… And I just want to know, when will she be happy again?… When will life be a place of joy and excitement for her?…

Because this has gone on long enough…

And I get it, grief is different for everyone… Everyone heals at a different rate… But I just miss my mom… I miss her excitement for life… I miss her discernment over life… I miss her joy for simple things like plants… 

So I just need to know… When do I get my mom back?… 

Year One…

IMG_3136_1024 (1)It’s been a year since I lost my incredibly antagonizing and loving father… It’s been a year since I’ve had to question so much about life… A year has passed… My thoughts, hopes and beliefs have all been questioned in such a different way than they ever were before….

Death has become a teacher… An aid in showing me how real life is… A guide into the future that points to mortality…. It’s real… I won’t live forever… Life on this earth… In this world is short and extremely fast…

And people continue to say “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you don’t break down all the time”…. Honestly… Without my upbringing and the fact that I communicate with God on the regular… Well I would be a giant puddle of mush…

And it is hard sometimes… It’s hard to face the reality of the fact that I am fatherless… That I have to rely on God to be my father… I never thought I would have to do that… Because I had such an incredible father…

But now I do… And it’s good…

But their are moments… Moments when I just want my dad back…

And I guess… Well instead of dragging myself around today in the reality… Well I can just express my thankfulness….

Because I am so thankful to have had a dad that loved me, my mom and my sister so much… That provided for our every need… We were never without… I had so much love and care…

And now dad well I’m grateful for your death… That you’ve helped me become more understanding than I’ve ever been… Because with your death… Well I was able to take so many of the things I’ve learned… So many of the things that I didn’t quite get… Well I’ve begun to understand them in the past year of life…

One year ago today… Dad life became the realest it’s ever been… Yes, it did feel like a walking nightmare at first… I did feel shaken deep within… I did feel confused about how all of this would pan out… But your death has allowed me to be more hopeful than ever…

The shock has worn off… And life has moved forward… Every moment has been new and so pregnant with possibilities… And I’m just so very grateful…

You always told me that you just wanted the best for me… You looked at me and could see so much possibility… And I always thought “oh he’s just being a father. He’s supposed to say those things to me”…

And sure I couldn’t be you and entirely see your perspective… But in the last year… Well my perspective has shown me how rich and abundant my life is… How fortunate I’ve been to never experience tragedy… And how amazing it’s been to have lived the life you and mom helped give me…

And so I guess from your perspective… Well I guess that’s why you saw so much possibility… Because I didn’t have the struggles and pain you did…

Like most parents… Well you wanted better for us… And gave us that in return….

And dad… Though I miss you so much…. Well I’m grateful… And I will continue to live life striving for all the goodness God has for me… Using the wealth and inheritance that’s been stored up for me and my family…

And I don’t ever think I thanked you for this… But thank you for believing in Mom-Mom… Thank you for believing in her and encouraging her… And knowing she would be healed one day… Thank you for having hope that she could help change her part of the world… Because dad we’ve been so blessed because of it… You took care of your family’s  present and future in such a beautiful way in those moments… And I’m so grateful for my present now…

And thank you for choosing my mom… She’s incredibly strong… She’s ok… She’s making it and getting through all of this moment by moment… I appreciate her example more than I realize right now…

And dad… I just want you to know… Well I’m still always going to be your little girl that wanted to change my part of the world… And that is changing my little world moment by moment… And it happens when I just live…

Depressed In This Moment…

Apparently I haven’t completely grieved… This pain that follows death is still so real and so alive… It hasn’t let yet… And I don’t know how to make it go…

But I find myself crying in the most random moments… Like when I’m in the middle of a treadmill workout… Or when I’m just sitting in silence….

This wave of emotion just hits me so hard… I don’t even have to think about dad… And BAM… The tears start flowing… And they flow more and more…

And my thoughts don’t even go to him when I’m crying… I just feel overwhelmed with emotion… And I’ve decided I’m going through the emotion… The stage of grief that encompasses depression…. Because I feel so depressed… And low…

And I’m tired all the time… Which isn’t all that fun…

I hate feeling depressed… And I’m aware that it’s just a stage of grief… The place I’m at right now….

But more than anything I think my subconscious mind knows the truth… That life back home in Shreveport isn’t ticking a long like normal… Dads not busy building homes… And moms not cooking dinner and entertaining people…

Instead dads dead…. Dads gone… A memory… And mom… Well mom is trying to put her life back together… She’s trying to move on and heal… She’s trying to get her footing and decide what’s next…

And that’s what has me down… The facts… The truth… The matter that death totally took my life and my family and shook it around…

And I’m not ok with that at all… I hate it all… It’s not fair and it can’t be real… But it is….

And here I am… Moving a long in life… But I find a problem… And that’s the fact that I keep pushing this all down to pay attention to the moment… And then I’m even more weighed down than before…

And I guess I just genuinely feel sad… Sad and depressed about what I’ve lost and won’t ever have returned to me…

Too Young

It’s sad to think about mom being alone… It’s sad to hear her talk about selling our home… It’s sad to hear her say she’s going to downsize and get rid of things….

It’s sad because… Well… Because this shouldn’t be happening…. This shouldn’t be happening at all….

Dad was too young… Mom is too young… My parents were supposed to grow old together… They were supposed to have grandchildren to together… My kids were supposed to call them grandparents…

And I hate the thought of mom getting rid of things… Dads things… Their things…

And I know they’re just things… But couples are supposed to grow old together… Especially when you’ve been married for 30 years…

It hurts me to know mom and dad built a life together… A family together… A home together… And now… Well now it’s been disrupted…

Now mom won’t live out the rest of her life with dad… And dad won’t get to see his grandkids…

Mom said she was looking forward to growing old with dad… And I just hate that life for them… For all of us has been disrupted so abruptly..

I hate that my parents won’t be able to grow old together…

It just feels so unfair…

And I don’t like to hear my mom cry… Because it’s just so wrong… It hurts me… But it’s reality… My reality… Her reality… Our reality right now… And we just have to live in it…

And I know one day it will get better… That our hearts will continue to heal as we live… But in this moment it sucks… And I hate it…

Aftershocks…

DSCF2341Death and all that surrounds what it is has this way of creeping up on you at the most unexpected times… Like when I’m in Hobby Lobby shopping for pictures frames… I walk into the store and the sound that hits my ears is all too familiar… A song by Steven Curtis Chapman called Cinderella has me in tear in less than seconds… And then I’m quickly trying to pull myself together so I can get out of there….

And then there’s the moment when I’m at the movies… And the lead character is discussing her thoughts before killing herself… What goes through your mind…. What thoughts you might carry with you into the afterlife…

And that’s the moment that life becomes all too real for me… Because I am flooded with memories and emotion… The hospital room… Dad in the bed… Dad trying to breathe… Everyone encouraging him to breathe… Everyone encouraging him to stay here with us for another breathe… Another moment… And realizing the awful truth… That death was about to become a reality….

But I never really thought in that moment what he may have been thinking… And I know he was dosed up on a lot of morphine… That is was very out of it that last few hours of his life… But I still believe deep within me his subconscious mind was there… Thinking things… Maybe trying to communicate something…. Something good and truthful… Something to leave us here with….

Did he feel loved in that moment?… To have us all standing there?… Mom, Bridge, Mom-Mom and Pappy…. We were all there… The people that have been in his life the most… And that I would assume have meant the most… Though dad was a man of few words I believe he showed who mattered through actions….

So there are still questions… And I couldn’t contain my tears last night… Honestly, I almost got up and left the theatre just because I wanted to burst into hysteria… It was so strange… So different… I haven’t wanted to cry like that in a few months….

And I guess maybe that’s just part of grief… Part of the story of death and how it goes for those of us left behind with memories… Because I constantly go through my days without many thoughts, if any of dad… And it’s ok that they aren’t there… But when I moment like last night happened… Well it’s just so much…

And I am reminded again how real death is… That it’s not something that comes and then leaves… But that the aftershock lives on throughout life… That it will echo in my life for the rest of my life…. That when someone is gone your life changes… And that change is apparent… And though it might not look apparent from the outside, it is very apparent on the inside…

So I guess it’s true what people say… That it does get and has gotten better with time… That the pain… The direct pain I felt has eased… But there are definitely still aftershocks… And you don’t really know when they will hit you….

But I do know dad was loved so much… And he will always be a part of my life… So I’m grateful for the aftershocks…

Smile for Me Baby

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Since I’ve been missing dad so much, we finally decided to set up an old TV/VCR and watch home videos. Three hours later, I was grateful. I was grateful and I was sad… sad and crying. Just hearing my dad and seeing him made me miss him so much more.

But I’m so happy that we have so many videos… that I’ll never have to forget his voice. It’s frozen in time on those tapes. He’s not just in my memory. He was behind the lens of the camera’s eye for a while, so now I can cherish him forever and share him with my children.

It’s strange the things we choose to appreciate after loosing someone. The entire time we watched the films I listened for dad’s voice very intently and I was watched everything he was doing. From teaching me how to play the keyboard they got me for my birthday, to hearing him say my name… those moments were there. And they were priceless.

I think the moment that brought the most tears to my eyes was hearing him say, “Amanda, sweetie smile for me.”

Dad used to say that to me ALL the time. “Hey, smile for me. No.. that’s not a good smile. Smile for me for real.” And I’d finally give him the smile he wanted. Even in the hospital he said, “Hey pooch, smile for me!”

Being on the opposite end of the smile, I never knew or understood what “smile” he wanted…. well not until watching those videos.

There’s a scene in one video, my first day of 2nd grade. He’s videoing us as mom is waking us up. First he scans Bridge and she’s like passed out asleep, not ready for kindergarden at all (typical). Then he scans the camera to me on top bunk… and when he catches my face I have the sweets, brown-eyed smile on my face.

In a strange way it melted my own heart because for the first time, I saw why he always asked me to smile for him. That face I saw, well it melted his heart every time.

When he saw me with that grin a father could only love on his face, he laughed a deep-hearted laugh. The laugh almost sounded like, “I was looking to find you sleepy eyed like you sister, but you’re all chipper and ready to seize 2nd grade.” Like the excitement was luring out of me and all I could do was give that grin that he loved.

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When I saw this and realized it was the smile, the smile I never understood but always filed under “smile for me baby”….. well, I burst into tears. I was feeling so much love in that moment from my dad. Even writing this is causing me to tear up again because I wish more than anything I could hear him say that again.

A lot of the time I took that phrase and wanted to hurt him because he would say it to me when I was pouting or angry. When he saw the look of worry on my face he would say it to me too. He just wanted my worries to wash away, and he wanted to she that grin. A grin only I could give him.

And even when I smiled I guess what most would consider a “camera ready, fake smile” at him, he would say, “No Amanda. Give me a real smile. Come on you can do it.” And then he would make me smile until there was a smile in my eyes.

It’s strange the things I miss about dad. The things that made him… well him. They were unique to dad. And as his little girl, that smile made his heart so full every time. I could just tell by the response in the video.

I wish more than anything I could have him here to say that to me again, but I don’t. I don’t and it sucks… but it does give me one more reason to be grateful for him and his fatherly heart. It gives me a reason to cherish the fact that he loved me so much. And it most definitely makes me want to give a “real smile” more often.