Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'll be seeing you.

In the last 6 years I have done many great things. I graduated college, got married, got two dogs, bought 3 cars, had two jobs, moved from North Carolina to Florida and then to Hawaii, and the number one thing is I had a baby. All of these things have been important milestones in my life and all have been done without having my dad here to experience them with me.
It has been 6 years since I've seen his smile, felt the warmth of his hugs. 6 years since he went to be with The Lord. It took me a long time to understand why, and I still question on my bad days why he was taken from me. Why did he have to miss out on walking me down the aisle? Or why doesn't he get to hold his first born granddaughter? When I think about these things for too long I start to get angry. Angry at God for taking him from me too soon. I have to calm myself and listen to God but honestly, it is so hard to.
Our relationship was just getting back to a place where I was happy. I have so many regrets of the 3 years I spent literally hating that man for leaving me when I was 11. But the fact is, he didn't leave me. He was always there, I just pushed him away. I hate myself still to this day for things I did and said to him. Time I could have spent loving him and making memories that I would have today. But I can't change the past. I can only remember the relationship we had before and then after his accident.
 You see, after he left, 3 years had past and he was in a very bad motorcycle accident. He almost died that night. At the time, did I care? To be completely honest I didn't. Deep down I think I did care but on the outside I was still hurting and my shell did not budge. But it was my mother that worked so hard at getting me back into a relationship with him and I am so grateful everyday she did.
In the beginning it was hard. I was 15,a teenager and I had to hangout with my dad. Not cool. He lived in an apartment on a bad side of town but my mother and I would go over there and spend time with him and have dinner almost every night. I still remember sitting on the couch watching TV through his motorcycle sitting in front of me. Yes, he had his beloved motorcycle in the living room. He loved that bike so much he would sit and stare at it! At the time I thought it was crazy but now I'd probably do the same if I had the chance.
When it came time to get my driving permit my dad was so excited because he had someone to drive him around. He couldn't drive because of his broken ankle from the accident. Memories of taking his old blue ford explorer out in the snow, to empty parking lots to teach me how to lose control of the car and then get it back are still so fresh in my mind. We would fishtail and do doughnuts and give my mom a heart attack in the backseat. It was fun! This was just the beginning of our love being rekindled.
I drove him everywhere. He was a courier for a delivery service that dropped off odds and ends. Mostly Ink for larger printing companies. He had me drive to the beach, through Raleigh traffic at 5pm, to the mountains. Any road in NC, you name it, I probably drove on it. I would go straight to his apartment from school and then we would get in the car and drive. On the weekends we would drive to Virginia just to get a Lottery ticket. Even after North Carolina got the state lotto. It was our thing. A lot of times we wouldn't talk. Just listen to the radio and sing the songs.
He bought me my first car. A beautiful 2000 white Honda civic. It was a 2 door and I thought it was the best thing ever. I still vividly remember the day we brought her home from Locust, NC yes. We drove all the way to a town outside of Charlotte for THE car. He loved me that much he had to find the perfect car for me. He always made sure the oil was changed, tires were rotated, and it was safe for the road.
He was the calm parent when I did things I knew I wasn't supposed to. When I drove in my car to a beach in North Carolina and without telling my parents, drove from there for Myrtle Beach, SC and got into an accident, HE never yelled at me. He wasn't mad but I could tell I scared him. Driving home from South Carolina that day was the first time since he had left when I was 11, that I said; "I love you" and actually meant it.
We had a lot of great memories that I cherish and make me smile on a sad day. The thing I loved most about my dad was his spontaneity. We would wake up on a Saturday morning and he would want to go to Bass Pro Shop in Charlotte. When we got there and were finished he would then drive straight to Myrtle just to see the ocean. And we would go down to Randleman just to ride to go carts. He loved Go Carts and anything that had wheels. When I was 7 or 8 he bought this old red riding lawn mower just for me to ride around the yard. He didn't even get mad when I ran straight into his White 4runner. So many of these memories make it a little less painful to live on this earth without him.

I wish I would have told him I loved him more often. His last words to me were "I love you." As he said them that day in the Emergency Room, I didn't think it would be the last time I heard them. I'm glad I got to say it back before he passed but I wish I could have had more time to tell him how I truly felt. How sorry I was for treating him the way I did. For taking advantage of him wanting to make me happy. To tell him what an amazing Dad he was because I never did. 
His death was very traumatizing for me. I still remember every detail so vividly. It didn't hit me that I could lose my dad until I turned around in the hall of the ER and saw someone giving him CPR through the curtain on the door I just walked out of.  Moments before, he had held my hand and told me he loved me. I said "I love you and everything is going to be okay." That feeling hit me like a ton of bricks. Bricks that were pressing so hard on my chest I couldn't breathe. My hands were tingling and tears were flooding down my face. I wasn't prepared to lose him. How could it have happened so quickly? Without a moments notice? There was never a sign of a blood clot. No sign of a pulmonary embolism. Not until it was too late. Why would God do that to me? To him? Was he ready? Was he accepting of death that day? These questions I still haven't found answers for. I have to understand in God's plan and I do, but it was this experience in particular that made me question God more than ever before. He could have taken him a few years before when he had his accident but he didn't and that was to give us a second chance. A second chance at the father daughter relationship we had before. But why take him so soon after? I can only pray for understanding. And knowing that he is watching over Peyton, I do understand. 

The pain will never go away. It just gets easier to bare over time. It has been 6 years today since he passed. In the beginning I would dream of him all the time.  But sadly it is getting less and less. But with every big thing that has happened since, I have a dream that he was there. I dreamt of the day he walked me down the aisle. And the day Peyton was born, I dreamt of him holding her, It was so vivid too. He had tears rolling down his face and told me how beautiful she was; just like I was when he held me for the first time. I only wish these could have came true but in a way I know he was there. I know he is always with me. I see his grin and those big cheeks in Peyton all the time it's uncanny. I know when she gets distracted and looks off into the distance, I can sense he is there. I show her his picture and she smiles. He is her guardian Angel.

I hope that he would be proud of who I am today. Proud of the things I have accomplished and places I have seen. I strive for acceptance in everything I do because I wouldn't want him to be disappointed in me. I only wish he was here to help guide me.

I made this video for me to have and see whenever I want and I'd love to share it with you all. 

Please kiss your loved ones tonight and tell them how much you love them. You never know when it will be your last chance.