One year later…

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This is the last picture taken of my dad and I last July. It was to send to my aunt via Instagram.

I didn’t know this would be the last picture. There aren’t that many pictures of my dad and I after age 11, so I do cherish my favorites and this one.

A little after midnight, a year ago today, I got the phone call that he had passed. Just eight hours earlier I walked into his room, he was sleeping and slept the whole time I was there. Maybe he knew I was there, maybe he didn’t. But I knew that day would most likely be the last day that I saw him.

There was a time in my early 20s when I wondered if I’d care if my dad passed away. Turns out, I learned about forgiveness and ended up calling my dad every week for 7 years and took care of him as much as I could the last 3.5 months he was alive.

After his death I went into the mourning process, but allowed it to take me into an insanely deep depression. It got really bad and I can’t ever return back to that state again.

However, that experience made me realize just how much I opened up my heart. I didn’t guard it responsibly, but it was open because I wanted it to be. I prayed and prayed and prayed for it to happen. I realized the coldness I had towards my dad didn’t just stay with my dad. At times, I found that leaking into other areas and I needed to let go and forgive. I didn’t want something taking up room where it didn’t need to. Now it’s a year later and I realize I’m stronger because I wanted a change to take place and the change happened.

I recently had a conversation and one person said they would always hear about how lucky they were that their mother is still alive. They replied by saying they always acknowledged the dysfunction and chaos their mother created. Now that their mother is gone, they wish they would have been more mature about it and didn’t embrace how their mother was so dramatic all the time. They said they wish they would have used different statements or would approach their relationship differently.

Another friend of mine reminded me of how I was able to have a relationship with my dad, briefly, before he died. I didn’t have to completely let him go and push him out of my life. I had to learn to love despite the addiction my dad had.

In the last year I got to recognize, even more so, the importance of letting go, the importance of healing, and taking care of myself.

Dad, I know aren’t suffering anymore. I’ll be okay. I’ll be sure to pass on the things you taught me to my children. Like, how you instituted child labor putting up drywall throughout the house and taught me how to use ‘man’s’ tools.

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