Storing Grief For Another Day

I remember this picture being taken. He wanted both of us to pose the same way. We rarely took pictures, but I am so glad we took this one.

My grief’s waves have slowed down a bit lately. The boat I am on feels safe and secure, but I know there’s a storm brewing that will make the waves grow stronger. But I don’t want to think about that. I just want to ride the boat, basque in the sun with a smile on my face as the slow waves push me along my path.

It feels like it was forever ago that my dad was alive. I feel like my memories are fading. In a morbid way of thinking, sometimes I read my past blog posts so that I can remember those feelings I had. So that I can FEEL something about my dad again. I feel ashamed to even admit that. It just seems like its all fading away. It feels like a bad dream.

I took down my dad’s remembrance shelf where I had pictures of him, his very worn bible, his favorite cup, and American flags. I took them down over a year ago to do something else with the shelf. I put everything into a bin and just haven’t felt the need to put it back up. I feel like I am a horrible daughter to not want all his things back up where my kids and I can see them! I don’t hate him, I am not angry, I guess I just don’t have the energy to be hit with another grief wave that might come if I put them back.

I want to keep his memory alive. But how do I do that if I am not willing to listen to his music, put his pictures on display, or think about memories we’ve shared? I am in one of those grief stages that feels…. weird. One that I can’t really describe. One that I haven’t really experienced before. Is it contentment? Moving on and trying to enjoy my life? Just being numb to the grief? I don’t know.

I do know that things will change and I will be at that stage where I can confront the music, pictures, and memories again. I am ok with that. I have to continue to love myself and be grateful for where I am in this journey.

Lately though, I have really needed him. We had this one of a kind relationship. He was not a man of many words and didn’t really know how to say the right things when trying to comfort me when I was a teen, but he was PRESENT. He listened to me. He loved me. He was proud of me. I just want to go back to the memories. When we worked together. He would visit me in the office any chance he would get. I was very proud of him too. Everyone at work knew him and loved him.

His presence is what I truly miss. Maybe if I share memories, it will help me come out of this numb grief state I am in. Almost like my grief is on pause at the moment.

He picked me up at a friends house late at night, no questions asked.

I was harassed in middle school. He recorded what the people were saying (who were harassing me) and he took me down to the police station to file a police report. As much as I just wanted to hide and forget about it, his presence and his actions to shield and help his daughter taught me so much about loyalty and love. He was so angry and upset when he knew about what was happening. (I haven’t really shared this with anyone before, so I feel VERY vulnerable!)

He was present at every soccer game and every soccer practice. He sometimes would come straight to practice from work, with his uniform still on and driving his work truck. I had to sit in the back of the van on the ride home, hiding because he would get in trouble if I was in the company van with him!

He brought me to church with him. Just me and him. I remember being young and in Sunday school but was crying because I didn’t want to be alone. So my dad brought me with him into the adult worship hour and I sat next to him excited to be close to him. He bought me the beginners Bible and I would sit next to him on Sundays and we would read a few pages. He bought church children magazine subscriptions for me to read along with videos from Focus on the Family. I really loved those magazines and videos. Years later, I invited him to a church I was attending in high school and we would go together.

He took me to a fish store across town that he heard about from work. Together we picked out a fish tank, colorful rocks, and fix to go in it. He would clean it out with me too, which was not an easy task.

Anytime we were out running errands, which was usually every Saturday, we would stop at 7-11 to get slurpees or soda. He taught me the trick of sticking your finger in the soda so it doesn’t foam up. I know, not real Covid compliant.

He picked me up from the movie theaters that my friend and I were at. Usually my mom would take and pick up me and my friends. But in this specific day, he picked me up and told me my grandpa died. My dad was the one that would be the first to tell me about anything sad. He had a real soft side that no one really saw, through his gruff, quiet exterior. He was the one who called me in the middle of the night when I was in college in a different city to tell me my grandma died. He was the one that told me about one of our dogs that passed away while I was visiting my sister. Because of this, I would come to him first when things went sour in my life. Bad breakups, pregnancy complications, death, or any of those hard things to talk about. Not my mom, it was my dad who I told.

He helped me with all of my science projects throughout my time in school.

He came to the hospital as fast as he could after work to see me when I broke my arm as a kid. I remember him walking up to me with fear and compassion in his eyes, while still wearing his work uniform.

I think it was him that sparked my interest in engineering and pursuing my education in that area. We worked on cars, worked outside, reloaded bullets, ultimately figured out problems and fixed them together. I wanted to be an engineer since middle school. I eventually went to school for both mechanical and civil engineering, and worked my way into making a CAD career in the engineering field. We were able to ‘talk shop’ when it came to our jobs (with one of my jobs being at the same company as his at one point).

At his retirement party, he cried and gave me the biggest hug (my dad was NOT a hugger at all). He was sad that he wasn’t able to be PRESENT for me anymore because my mom and him were moving to a different state. He asked my uncle to take over for him and look after me. Mind you I was 20 years old and could take care of myself (thanks to my dad’s teachings) but I knew he was going to miss our times together.

I feel like I was my dad’s little shadow. The boy he always wanted haha. Because of his presence and example he gave me, he got a daughter that was strong enough to tell the boys off (and maybe add a few karate kicks in there that we learned from a class we took together), taught me how to fend for myself, taught me how to work hard (I had been working since I was 15 until I had kids), taught me to love nature, taught me love our country and military, taught me how to have compassion for others, taught me of about our Savior, and so much more.

His presence is what I miss the most. I want so badly to call him and help me put a sprinkler system together. He knew exactly how to plan and prepare a lawn and a garden. I wish I could have him here to help me.

Most daughters have better relationships with their moms. Mine was with my dad. Now I LOVE my mom so much and she’s a great mom, so willing to help me with anything! The unspoken bond my dad and I shared was like none other. Not perfect but unique to us.

But there’s something about a daddy daughter relationship that I miss so much.



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