Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. Special occasions like that are always tough—I often find myself thinking of him and missing him more than usual. I wonder how we would have celebrated. I wonder what kind of grandpa he’d be to my boys. I like to picture him chasing them around the yard and playing with their cars. He’d take them for rides in whatever Mustang he had just rehabbed. He’d point out every plane in the sky to them. And he’d love them fiercely, just like he loved my brother and I.
Losing my dad gave me a crash course in grief. It was more than 20 years ago now and I still grieve. While much has changed in those years, grief is an undercurrent. Its part of my soul now. Its how I knew I’d survive the loss of my daughter, but would have to claw my way out of dark times. Its why I chuckle when I hear anyone talk about the stages of grief like it’s a linear process to move through. Those who have lost a loved one know this is ridiculous—sure the stages of grief are valid but grief certainly isn’t a straight line. You can find yourself back in any of those stages years later. I still feel his loss. I still miss him. I still wish he was here. As I get closer and closer to the age he was when he died, I’m acutely aware of how young he actually was when he died. And that makes me angry. And it scares the crap out of me.
This year, I decided to join Pedal the Cause and fundraise for cancer research in his memory. I’m only doing an hour on the spin bike—maybe someday I’ll be able to sign up for the 100 mile bike, but now is not the time. I still feel like it will be enough of a challenge since I haven’t been on a bike in a year! If you’d like to support my efforts, cheer me on, or support research for people like my dad and my other friends that have been diagnosed with cancer this year, you can donate at https://www.mypedalthecause.org/riders_profile.jsp?MemberID=154257
In the meantime, hug your parents if you’re still lucky enough to have them. And dad, I miss you. I love you and I hope you’re watching over my baby girl until we meet again–and I hope you and Zoey enjoyed your Tang sandwich.