I miss you so very much every day. It’s been a year, and I still miss your reassuring voice and your comforting smell. I miss your words of encouragement and your sarcastic sense of humor. I miss your chuckle and your easy smile. I miss your knowing glances. I miss your fatherly guidance, wisdom, acceptance, and unconditional love that few have the opportunity to experience as deeply as I did. So much of you has shaped so much of me. In many ways, it’s like you’re still here with me everyday. Your pictures and treasured keepsakes surround me. Your wisdom floods my thoughts when I question what to do. I often think about how much you would have appreciated something new that’s happened. You come up in conversation often and the kids still talk about you almost daily. In fact, they are still telling me about the stories you shared with them! You left such an impression and they adore their Granddad who was always simply there.
I can’t believe an entire year has passed since you took your last breath here on this earth. This anniversary has been looming over my thoughts for months. It’s been a year of heartache and grief that I had never known before. A year of trying to figure out how to do life without you. A year of growth and stretching. The hardest year of my life. You were taken up to Jesus so suddenly last Christmas Eve, and I feel cheated about not having the opportunity to say goodbye. For awhile, I didn’t know how to live each day without you. Time seemed to stand still and I didn’t understand how the world could keep going on. But over time, I cried less and laughed more.
Finding joy became easier. Eventually, it became effortless. I found a new normal.
In some ways, today is just like every other day. My four little ones still need to eat breakfast, get dressed, and brush their teeth. Zach is still just as amazing as he was a year ago, giving me time to myself so I can write to you. There are still Christmas preparations to be taken care of and church services to attend. Life goes on. But all of it happens without you. It doesn’t feel right and it certainly isn’t fair. But you know what, Dad? I feel ok. There was a time when I couldn’t think of life moving on without you. I didn’t know how to do it.
But through my faith, I have a hope and unspeakable peace in my heavenly Father. And because of Him, somehow a year has passed and my brokenness has mended.
I still feel sad when I think about doing certain things without you, like celebrating Christmas tomorrow. I sit and cry when I can’t ask you a question about baking your rolls. (Would you melt the butter if you were mixing the dough in a KitchenAid?) I have other questions too, and you’re the only one who knows the answers. I want to tell you about everything that’s happened over the last year too. You better be ready for a long visit in heaven, because I want to crawl up into your lap and share everything. I still can’t intentionally listen to Amazing Grace because I can hear your voice in the lyrics. I silently long for your unspoken approval of the decision to move our family to the country. I know it’s just a place, but you would’ve loved it. Broad Creek runs through the property, which makes me think of your stories about Boy Scouts. The kids can ride four-wheelers and go fishing. They can do all the outdoor stuff you loved and I wish you could see them enjoy it! I wish you could be a part of so many things. But until we meet again, my memories will be enough.
You gave me more than I could ever ask for and taught me what unconditional love looks like.
It’s been one year since you went home to be with Jesus. Dying sucks. But God is good all the time. Especially in the brokenness of life. He equips us to handle the stuff we can’t possibly do on our own. And He gave me the gift of you. Our earthly bodies wither away, but we have the beautiful hope of renewed life together again in heaven. With Him. What a blessed promise that is.
Love you, Daddy. Merry Christmas in heaven. Love, Nicole