9 Years Later I Still Miss My Dad

After 9 years without him you would think life would get easier but it just gets different. I am 42 years old and miss my father like I lost him yesterday. He did not really get to see my three kids grow up and my oldest is the only one that has much memories of him. When I was young I always knew how hard my dad worked, in construction and building maintenance. He was the type of father that you could go to for anything. My parents were great growing up so I have nothing to complain about on that front and they both in their own way instilled some of their beliefs into me.

The Story OF My Dad

My dad grew up in a small town in Alberta Canada called Killam and yes it even had street sign to welcome new visitors that read:

Welcome, drive carefully Killam!

Yeah when I was young I found that very funny. He worked hard at life and then when I was about 16 years old, life started to catch up with him. He began to get sick and we found out that he had emphysema a lung disease that made working impossible for him. We were also a family of 5 just like I have today, that meant living was always paycheck to paycheck something I am sure many readers can relate to. My dad was much older than most dads so when I would come home from school and want play ball or catch with him, he did it even though it probably took a lot out of him. That was him in a nutshell always doing for others in spite of himself. A hardworking family man! A good man!

When I turned 17 my dad had a double lung transplant which extended his life with us. He passed away when my youngest was just 2 years old, 9 years ago (that makes her 11 via math by the way) but it still feels like yesterday. I could go on with many stories my dad would tell me but I will save that for another time. I would like to focus more on my mental health when it comes to thinking about that time.

You see I was there when he passed, in the room, watching him take his last breath. The most difficult situation I have ever experienced. So many emotions. So many thoughts. We knew, my sisters and I, that there was very little time left the day he said goodbye to all of us. I could not leave the hospital, I just did not want to leave that day. I loved him! I still love him! The memory of his last breath actually haunts me and I do not know if I would wish that for my son or daughters. It is bittersweet that is for sure! Part of me is so glad that I was there for him and that he knew he was loved on his last day here, the other part of me feels traumatized from the ordeal.

After 9 years I am now able to place that memory where it belongs. I spent many years of my life trying to escape in various forms. Escape from life. Escape from reality. Escape from issues. Escape from feelings. Today I know that I can only truly heal by feeling my feelings instead of masking them with poor choices. My dad needed me that day! Just like the many times that I needed him, I had to step up and be there for him in spite of myself. Is it OK to still miss my dad? HELL YES! I need to feel my feelings and learn from them, that is how I can grow. This is how I can learn to be a better dad, a better husband, a better son, a better friend, a better man.

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