I've heard many well-intended comments about all the wonderful memories I have of my dad. It is truly awesome that I have so many photos and memories of adventure and travel and fun and amazing life stuff. BUT... that closeness means that my loss is HUGE. The hole in my life right now is massive.
I live a mile from my parents' house. I work with my mom and sister, and Dad volunteered at THS. Before Dad retired, I volunteered weekly with him at Medical Teams. Dad recently fixed the sink in my classroom kitchen. He sometimes came over to walk with me at lunch and would hang out patiently in my classroom until I was ready to go. When schedules aligned, we hiked together at nearby Tryon or on other trails. I frequently passed him while driving around town or bumped into him at the store or while walking in the neighborhood.
We attended church together every Sunday night. We had weekly dinners at my house - and sometimes went out for dinner - just because. He helped me with projects around the house and yard. I borrowed his truck and he helped me haul trash, yard debris, bark, landscaping rocks - whatever I needed. If I couldn't figure something out, he offered advice. When I needed a movie buddy or a trail buddy, he was there. We vacationed together several times a year - sometimes close trips and other times across the country.
Dad was a constant in my life - like almost every day. And even if I didn't see him, he would most certainly butt dial or accidentally start a video chat!
Yes - those are amazing memories. But right now, I cannot imagine my life moving forward without him. And those memories hurt.
Every single photo has a story behind it - a vivid memory that makes me smile but also makes my heart ache.
This is the time a few years ago when my driver's license expired and I asked my dad to drive me to DMV in case I got pulled over. He thought it was hilarious:
We joked that he was narcoleptic. He spent many road and train trips slumped and asleep - like this train trip to see the Mariners play in Seattle:
What about this one where we had to stop at a garage sale while on a beach trip (he loved garage sales!)
Or this one when he finally let me take him backpacking to Eagle Creek:Or this one when we did the Sunday Parkways bike ride:
I paid for college by working with Dad in the warehouse at OWNCO Marketing during summers and school breaks. We carpooled to Portland together. For my first real job, he went with me on my first out-of-town assignment because I was young and scared. He went on the media tour with me and held a light during our live shot because it was windy.
I arrived home a few months ago to a random pile of wood on my driveway because Dad had chopped it and delivered it to me - without me even asking. He attended my races, even though he didn't really understand my obsession, but he knew it was important to me. He went to political actions with me because his heart was heavy for the bad things that are happening in the world.
He would get mad when we said "I'm starving" around dinner time... because he worked at Medical Teams International and knew that people were actually starving in the world... and we were not.
I don't have children, so when I say that my weekend/summer/evening plans include doing something "with my family," that usually means Mom, Dad, Eryn, and Brad.
Ugh. See the problem. My dad wasn't a far-away person with whom I occasionally chatted and saw at holidays. My dad was always there. ALWAYS. And now he's not. And it hurts.