BB and Binks

Reflecting on Grief After 4 Years of Saying Goodbye to Dad

The very last picture I have with my dad.

4 years of Grief

On this day 4 years ago, after watching our dad get very very sick, we had to say goodbye. Here we are and another year goes by. Grief is such a tricky thing to navigate. It’s different between days, hours, or minutes.

Grief is something I follow a lot about on social media. I think watching other people grief and talk about grief has helped me not feel so alone.

What I’ve learned is everyone grieves differently…and that’s ok. Grief is not all created equally…and that’s ok. You may feel totally fine one second and a totally freaking mess the next…and that’s ok.

This Past Year

Last year I wrote this post about my dad.

As I reread my post from last year, I was surprised how raw it still feels. I guess that’s good though. Love Big, Miss Big. How has it already been four years.. I feel like it just happened.

Reflecting on the past year which has been the most unusual year. We have been in a global pandemic. My family has been VERY protective of my mom’s health. Unfortunately all the symptoms and hospital news of Coronavirus is too close to home. It really feels familiar to the way my dad died. So watching the news was extra hard. We feared that our mom would have the same fate if we took any chances. How could we survive that?

I often felt such deep sadness for families that couldn’t be next to their loved one in the final stages of their life. I know my family found great comfort getting to be with my dad those last 2 weeks. Those days were impossible but we were there and I’m totally confident my dad knew that. He made a call to have us come and we were all there that next day. My dad was surrounded around the family he made. What a true blessing.

With this past year in a global pandemic I can’t help but reflect on the craziness this stupid virus and how our lives have changes. Some of the changes have been so hard and some changes have been a true blessing.

What hasn’t changed

What hasn’t changed is that on March 4th we reflect on the day we had to say goodbye to our dad. This year we will gather on a Zoom call to cheers to my dad.

Looking back at March 4th, 2017. My husband and 3 month old baby came with me. I had been in Florida right about a week into my dad’s hospital stay. But after several days I went home to be with my other children. After a few days My mom called and said it was time and I wanted to be there I should come.

I was afraid to do it alone. I needed my husband. When my husband entered the room and broke down at the sight of my dad, this sort of broke me and I’ll never forget it. This wasn’t the man we knew. I’ve always thought his body was still alive but his soul was already in heaven. I truly felt my mom was making the right decision. It was time to let my dad go.

As a family, we sat around my dad saying prayers, telling stories, singing songs, and saying goodbye. I remember feeling very scared. The dying process wasn’t what I expected. It was hard and painful. To see your strong dad weak is hard. But to watch my family those two weeks was a beautiful experience and one I will never forget. I have great pride in my family. As a parent, we can only hope that in their final days they are surrounded by their family.

Lasting connections

The other very crazy thing is that Little Man, who was only 3 months old when my dad died has a very special relationship to Grandpa. He talks about him all the time. There is no way he remembers him or should have any connections with my dad. But he does. He really does. And for that I'm eternally grateful.

To the man who taught me that pranks were good. Who was an example of hard work. To the dad who would crash on the couch after work and one of us would be lucky enough to get to snuggle in. For all the lessons and appreciation about nature, this I pass on to my children. Thank you for being so handy and letting us watch you work on projects so that intuitively we know how to do things. To the man, who not so gently had high expectations but also allowed us to be who we were, even when he didn't like it. We miss you and we would all pay a million bucks to hear your giggle just one more time!

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