17 years. that's how long it's been since my dad passed away. 17 years ago today. January 15th. this day is forever tainted, dreaded, and makes January more miserable than it already is. but, it used to be a lot more miserable than it has become. the first, i would say 15 years, every time this day would roll around my heart would break all over again, i couldn't function normally, i was constantly reminded that he was gone, that i didn't get the chance to know him very well, and that he was missing out on my life. and i was missing out on what could've been if he was still here.
now, ever since my mom opened her grief center (2 years ago today), The Bradley Center (named after my dad), it isn't so rough. it's not as gloomy as it once was. today i woke up and it wasn't my first thought. i was actually up and going when i remembered that today was the day. i didn't cry. i didn't go into a depressed slump. i thought about the good times my dad had here, i thought about his laugh. i thought about how he used to tuck us in every night and give us 'noogies' (he would rub our heads until we were laughing hysterically then it was lights out). i thought about all the happy times.
then we went to dinner with my brother and sister-in-law to one of my dad's favorite restaurants. TGIFridays. we love that place. we used to love going there all the time when we were kids. it was nice to be with the family that was here (we missed you Cami and Brandon and sweet Kaden) to celebrate Dad's life and celebrate his memory.
i am grateful for my experiences. i wouldn't choose them, but i am grateful for them. they are what's shaped me into the person i am today. i miss my dad. i will always miss him. if i think about it too long i do get emotional and sad. because it's not fair. it's not fair he missed out on us growing up, all of us graduating, getting married, us having kids, him being a grandpa. it's not fair. and it's okay for me to feel that way. but i am not bitter. because i can't change it. i know he is here in spirit, and i am learning to recognize when he is here with me. my mom says she can always feel him. for that i am most grateful. she needs him more than any of us do. i am glad she can feel him here on her journey back to him.
i love you daddy. i miss you terribly. i know that i will see you again. it seems so far away, but i know it's not, not in the big picture. and i don't know how, but somehow, all this time you have been away from us will be made up for. see you soon.