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Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the US. It was also the 1 month anniversary of my step-dads passing. I found it hard to figure out what I was thankful for. All I wanted to do was curse God for doing this to my family and in a sense wonder why are we all here if this how it all ends. Pain and suffering and having your family watch you slip into the unknown. Everywhere I turn I see owls. Owls are the bird that reminds my family of my step-dad. I log into Facebook and there are pictures of owls. I go see a movie and there is an owl in the opening shot. I open a magazine at the grocery store and there is an owl staring up at me.

A few days ago I asked my mom if she ever felt him and she said no. I don’t feel him either. But with the owls I know he is around. Its just a constant reminder to me that he is here and he is with me always. Without him I wouldn’t be me. He was my step-dad but he was my dad. He shaped me and formed me into the woman I am today. I’ve cried more the past 2 days than I have in the past month. At the wake and the funeral I didn’t cry. I was stoic, I was the caregiver and I tried to make every person feel welcome. I didn’t know until after that there were so many people there for the funeral they ran out of seats and people had to stand.

I wasn’t asked to be born in this world. It was a mutual decision’s between my mother and my father. I am grateful. I have my father’s nose and my mother’s personality. I have the soft side of my dad and the fighting spirit of my mother. My body shape is that of my father’s side but the hair from my mother’s side.

But I am my step-dad’s daughter. As a child I had dreams about us, sitting back by the tall trees and eating peanut butter sandwiches. As a teenager we had arguments about life and love and yes, the pursuit of happiness. As a 20 something we had arguments about budgets and trips to Europe and credit ratings. At 29 all I want is to go back to being a child and having him put me on his shoulders on Halloween because I was too tired to walk.

I never envisioned losing my step-dad. I never thought about it. I realized it would be something I would deal with later on in life at maybe age of 50 or 60 when he was old and tired and ready to go. Not now, when I am 29. I still need him to walk me down the aisle and dance with me at my wedding. I was never a girl who envisioned the perfect wedding with the perfect person. But the one part of the wedding that I did think about was my mom and step-dad walking me down the aisle. I think that is the hardest part. Ron won’t be the person to walk me down the aisle. He won’t be the person to give me away. He won’t be the person who dances with me at my wedding to a ridiculously cheesy song. It won’t be him.

I’m finding it hard to remember Ron when he was healthy. Rosy cheeks. Grey hair but not thinning. A belly. All I remember is either him when he was very young with black hair and a healthy body. Or I only think of him the weeks leading up to his passing. I want to remember my Ron. I think eventually I will get there. It’s only been a month.

Going back to not having anything to be thankful for. While yesterday was hard I am thankful for many things. My own health. My family that is still here and surviving this ordeal. My girlfriend who may not say a lot while I am having my freak outs but is always there if I need her. My girlfriends family who have been amazing. My friends. My friends. My friends.

I’m thankful I had Ron, even if it was cut short. When I so badly needed a dad he was there. To quote a friend “What an amazing man to bring a family together and heal what others would consider broken, he saw beautiful and the only thing that was missing in his life was you and your family.”

Ron and I, Christmas 1989

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