11 years ago, my dad passed away. I can’t believe it’s been that long, because it feels like yesterday. It was the worst day of my life, and something that haunts me everyday. The memories I have with him help with the sadness and emptiness, and even allow me to laugh as I remember what an amazing man he was.
I was a freshman in college, and I was living in the dorms. It was my first time being away from home and without a car; but I was just soaking up the experience. I was hanging out with my roommate when I got a call from my mom.
She seemed distraught, but all she would tell me was that her and my step-dad were coming to pick me up to go home for the weekend. I could hear the tears through her voice. My initial thought was maybe it was something with one of my grandparents. I tried to pack for the weekend, not knowing what I needed or why I was coming home.
Within the hour my parents arrived. I went downstairs to meet them in the parking area so I could let them in. The second my mom opened the door and I saw her and my step-dad’s faces, I knew something horrible had happened. My mom looked at me through tear-filled eyes and just said “Honey, your daddy is dead.”
At that moment my entire body went into shock, my heart stopped, and my soul shattered. I fell down to the grass screaming. My parents quickly came over to hold and comfort me. I screamed so loud people popped their heads out of their dorm windows to ask if I was ok. I was not ok, and I didn’t know if I ever could be again.
Although 11 years have now passed, it’s still so fresh. It’s something I still struggle with, and I still cry about. I have always been daddy’s girl, and I cherish every moment I had with him. So, since he has been gone for 11 years, I’m sharing 11 of my favorite memories with him.
- Going up to Winter Park/Mary Jane to go skiing/snowboarding. We got passes every year and it was always our place.
- Hanging out in the basement watching Animal Planet or a Blockbuster movie, and eating Blast O Butter popcorn and drinking Pepsi.
- Going to Water World and practically setting the record for the furthest skip on the Screaming Mimi. We had a pass every year and would eat sausage and black olive pizza at lunch by the wave pool.
- He never missed a soccer game. I can still picture him running up and down the sidelines in his Carhartt coveralls with McDonald’s cheeseburgers in his pockets.
- Being at the cabin and hunting and fishing with him. Until he fed my sister and I our “pet” wild rabbit for dinner.
- Making s’mores around the campfire. My cousins and I caught crawdads one time and cooked them in a s’more we fed to my dad. He didn’t even notice until he saw us cracking up and demanded to know what we did.
- Learning to drive in his pickup truck. We were on our way to the cabin and there were elk on the side of the road. He told me to drive slowly while he sat on the bed of the truck to try to take pictures. Never having driven before, I accidentally punched the gas and he almost went toppling out of the truck bed.
- Braiding and styling his hair. He always had a sort of mullet because I wouldn’t let him cut it. I would braid the bottom and put it into ponytails.
- Learning how to make things with him. He was an excellent craftsman and I loved getting to build furniture and other things with him.
- His smile, his laugh and the Texas Tornado Shuffle dance moves. His humor and genuine personality was infectious, and he definitely had a thousand watt smile.
I have so many other fantastic memories with my dad, and just thinking about them make me smile, laugh and cry.
To my Dad
I love you and miss you more than you know. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you, and I know you’re watching over me. Thank you for everything you did for me, and for being my best friend and my protector. Thank you for listening when I talk to you now, and for being my guardian angel. I will always be your little girl, your angel pie. I love you.