Three hundred and sixty four days.
One year ago tomorrow, my dad succumbed to pneumonia, a by-product of ALS, at 9:20 am on June 6th.
For anyone that has lost someone they love, the first year is full of milestones. It is raw and sad, awkward and off-balance. When there are high-points, they can seem selfish. And the low points can bring out regret, or anger, or confusion. Everyone deals with it differently, and I can see why some people get stuck in grief.
And yet even with all that…
I am OK.
Don’t get me wrong. I miss my dad like hell. I want to call him each morning on the way to work to say good morning and allow the chorus of little boys in the car to say, “Hey Papa!” I want to share and celebrate my successes with him and ask for his input on important decisions. I know that he’d be proud of the work I was doing, and of the business I was growing, and of the way my children were turning out. I wish he could meet Dash and take him for long walks when he was able to visit. I want to send him silly greeting cards and have him tell me jokes. I wish he could do the tickle monster with my boys. I wish he could mail me articles about St. Thomas Aquinas’s latest sports victories, even though I never played sports while I was there.
I wish he was with my mom, and they were able to continue the adventure they were on for more than 40 years. That is probably what I wish most of all.
But then I realize how lucky I was to have had a dad who lived 76 amazing years, who left such a positive impression on me and my sisters and my kids and everyone he met. While I know that he would have made the most of every extra minute on this planet, I am so happy that he was here as long as he was and so grateful that the illness that took his life did not take his dignity or systematically wreck his body for two or three or more years, an end of life torture that many with ALS often endure.
No, he did not want to go, but I suppose that if he had to go this way, this way was the best way he could.
My dad was awesome. And I miss him.
And tomorrow, as I take my boys to school for the last day before summer break, I will mentally dial the phone to say, “Hey Dad! It’s the fellas and me! We miss you and we hope you have a great day! We love you!”