Oh, you guys.
I have so much to say to you.
And at the same time, I just don’t have any words.
You might have to forgive me if in the next week or two everything comes out as a jumbled mess... that seems to be how my brain is working right now. It’s how my brain has functioned since that moment my sister called.
I already knew something was wrong. I had called my mom’s cell phone in the middle of their chaos. I was just thinking about them and calling to check in. Dad was already gone, the paramedics had just finished working on him, my aunt answered the phone crying and said they’d call me back. I hung up knowing something was wrong, but could never have imagined what they had just been through.
My mind thought of a million scenarios of why she was crying in that 20 minutes I waited for a phone call. I thought of accidents, my mom, my aunts and uncles who were all gathered at the lake boating. I prayed for them. I prayed through every scenario.
I thought of everyone in every scenario, but I never once thought about my dad. It never once occurred to me that something could be wrong with him. That he was the one who needed my prayers.
Because my dad is so healthy. So strong. He is the one who would know what to do, how to help, how to fix it. Because it never occurred to me, I think the shock of it hit even harder when my sister called and said those two words:
I’m going to be honest with you guys, because I don’t know any other way to do this than to be honest with you, I have felt like I’ve been split into two people ever since. I’ve been split into the person who can think rationally and articulate her emotions, and into the person whose physical body took over and reacted without thought.
I sat on the phone and could hear myself screaming. Just screaming. And somewhere in my mind while I heard my own screams I had the thought, “Is this what happens when your dad dies? What am I supposed to do when my dad dies?”
In the last week I have been able to have conversations on the phone with my family, write an obituary, organize photos. But in the last week I’ve had to learn how to close my eyes again, relearn how to sleep, figure out how to distinguish dream states from reality. I’ve had to accept dry heaving as an every day occurrence and be patient with myself as my body catches up to my mind in learning to accept this.
I’m learning to be patient with myself, because not being able to pull myself together has been so frustrating.
I learned this last week how to let people take care of me. I’m not good at that. I’ve never been any good at that. But my friend Nicole drove here from Kansas City the day after he died and took over my world. My friend Alece flew here from Georgia to love me for the week. My best friends here in town surrounded me, laid with me, reminded me to do my breathing treatments and take my meds and try to sleep.
I didn’t know what I needed or who I needed until they walked through the door... and provided what I didn’t know to ask for.
I’m a strong girl. But I now know that when I am weak I have enough strength surrounding me to hold me up.
YOU ALL HELD ME UP.
I didn’t look online for many days; I just couldn’t. But when I did... I felt stronger. I felt every single one of you. And I have been humbled beyond words.
Thank you for loving me. For loving my family. For honoring my dad.
I have so much more to say... so much more to tell you. But for now, I just want to say thank you.
Thank you for loving me so well. I am stronger because of each and every one of you. There aren’t words big enough to say how phenomenally grateful I am that you all found me here in the last two years and became family to me.
I have been given more blessings than I can hold... the greatest of which is the love of my dad for the last 37 years. In the midst of all of this, in the center of every emotion, I can’t help but find myself grateful to have lived in the great and loving shadow he and my mom provided.
I am blessed.