It's been 365 days since my father passed away. 365 days, 52 weeks, and 12 months. It's been hundreds of tears, thousands of memories, and a million "I wishes". It's been a year of heartache that has, at times, broken me to pieces and a year of heart-soaring-laugh-with-abundance-love-deeply times that bandaged me back together again.
When my father first passed, I remember when it was an hour after his death, then two, a day, then three. I remember when a week suddenly became the first month. And then, something happened that caught me completely off-guard; I quit counting. Suddenly, the calendar didn't matter and the only thing that did was the fact that my dad didn't belong to this earth anymore. He was gone. And I wasn't.
What I didn't expect was that this past week, I would start counting the days again. Reliving the days, the emotions, the terrible sadness and helplessness proved to be an unwelcome visitor.
It began with the days leading up to my dad's passing...My brother's wedding. A trip to the hospital. How sick he looked, but how amazing he was in spite of the weakness his body imposed upon him. Finding out the news. Flying home to Phoenix. The gut-wrenching, how-do-I-know-when-to-leave-and-what-to-do mind game. Knowing that his heart was broken as he lay there, barely strong enough to speak. The phone calls. His last words of comfort and love to me; spoken from thousands of miles away. Friends driving through the night to find me and my broken heart in a lonely airport to take me home for my last goodbye. Holding his hand. Whispering in his ear. Being there the moment he died. Telling him I loved him dozens of times as he went home to heaven.
My friend told me this morning that I would manage to get through today because the love I have for my dad is greater than any sadness I might feel. She was right. She was also right that, just like her, I wouldn't trade a single lump-in-your-throat moment I was there with him.
So, with a very heavy heart, I wish my dad a happy first anniversary in heaven. For everything there is a season--a time to laugh, a time to cry. I've managed to do a little bit of both today--very much like the day he went home.