So I have really been MIA lately and I hate that. I think about sitting down behind my computer at least once a day and writing to you but as you see I have failed. A lot. This summer has been a whirlwind with a lot of changes. The biggest change being that my father suddenly passed away on July 6. He wasn’t a very healthy man but I never expected to get that call when I did. I am thankful I got to see him in June and take him to lunch for his birthday and Father’s Day. I got to hug him and kiss him and tell him I loved him one last time in person. I never could of imagined that would be the last time. My sisters and I have been overwhelmed with everyones kind words of love and support. My dad knew a lot of people and will be missed by many. But I want everyone to know what makes my father’s death so hard for me (and my sisters-but I can’t speak for them.) Unless you have lost a father you have no idea what that feels like and there is no way you can even begin to describe it. It still doesn’t seem real and it may never. It may get easier and time will heal but I don’t know if it will ever seem real. I don’t remember a ton of stuff from my childhood and I am not really sure why. My parents divorced when I was 7 and dad was in and out of our lives after that. I remember spending time at my grandma Mary’s apartment with her and dad and riding bikes around. I remember family vacations to Gatlinburg and road trips to pick up Pam for the summer or holidays. He was in jail for about 2 years when I was 9 or so and there were a lot broken promises. I remember the fights, the arguments, and the time he ripped the Bible in half and threw it on our front porch with all of us watching. He was a simple man. A broken man. I remember when he got baptized at Florence Baptist Temple many many years ago and how he used to help out in Junior Church. Mom never talked negatively about dad to us. She was protective but never said anything out of the way about him. She wanted us to have a relationship with him and it broke her heart when he didn’t show up. A lot of the people I grew up with didn’t even know my dad bc he was never around. As we grew up to be adults the relationships changed. We began to form our own opinions and thoughts on everything. Dad showed up some when were adults. He came to graduations and we spent some holidays together. But mostly it was a battle. Dad was a broken, miserable man. He loved us the best way he knew how and I will never hold that against him. But, he had this mentality that we owed him something. He NEVER showed up when we needed or wanted him too but he always expected us to show up for him. When he passed away I took a walk the following day and just reminisced on my relationship with him. I never wanted something to happen and then regret where my relationship was with him. We had some great times. We laughed together, cried together, and we shared some really precious moments together that I will always hold close to my heart. And when I took that walk, I can honestly say that I walked away at peace. I knew in my heart that I loved my dad, that I treated him well, that I did my best in our relationship. And for that I am thankful. I’m also mad at him. I am mad that he didn’t fight. I am mad that he let his addictions control his life. I am mad that he let his talent go to waste and I am mad that he didn’t take more advantage of spending time with his girls. I am mad. I am mad that he let his life go to waste. After grandma died in 2006 dad went downhill fast. He loved her so much and he just wanted to be back with her. I am thankful he is no longer in pain and that he is back with her. One of dad’s friends left a comment on Facebook that something like this “…your dad worked all day and then did side jobs on top of that for his girls. He did those jobs for his girls…” When I read that I was taken aback. My dad didn’t do side jobs for my sisters and I. He did those side jobs for himself and his next fix, next trip, next deal. And the sad thing is that guy probably had no idea. As thankful as I am for all the kind words and support that was left by his friends, I am also saddened. Because we knew 2 different people. While I am glad that his friends and co workers are left with great memories of my father, unfortunately we are left with hurt. We are left with mean text messages, broken promises, and hurtful memories. That is what makes this so hard. I prayed for my dad often and I never lost hope for him. Never. I hoped that one day he would turn his life around and he would show up. All I wanted was of him to show up on my wedding day. And he didn’t. All I wanted was for him to see how good he had it when I got the “suicide” text he sent me on Easter 2011. Am I asking for too much? All I wanted was for him to show up and care and love me. But, he was broken. This is why his death is so hard for me. I wanted him to have peace and joy and share life with us. And he couldn’t. But as I lay my father to rest with this blog I am thankful to know that he is finally at peace. He isn’t broken anymore. He isn’t hurting anymore. He doesn’t have to fight any addictions anymore. He finally gets it. He finally has joy. He is smiling and means it. I love my dad with all my heart. I know he is in a better place pain free. Loving life. And he is with grandma. I know that everyday is a gift from God and I’ll be damned if I let it go to waste. If nothing else he taught me to not let life go to waste. To live it to the fullest and enjoy every minute. To love without regret. To give endlessly. To never give up. I love you, daddio.