Until my dad actually passed away I had hope. I hoped even if it was 1% that he would come back, he would give us that miracle. Then the whole next week was focused on the funeral services and it was busy. It didn’t feel real. Viewing, funeral and surrounded by people and family. It’s all a whirlwind and then things slow down. . .
Sunday evening we went over to my parent’s home for dinner. We were all visiting, hanging out with everyone around and then I went in the house and sat at the kitchen table. My brother, Scott, came to me and said do you want to play Acquire? Deep down I thought to myself, I’m not ready for that, but then said if mom’s up for it I’m happy to play.
This is a game that we’ve played pretty much every Sunday since I was a teenager with my dad and mom. I really can’t think of times I’ve played this game without my dad. The pattern would be each week that we would tell dad that we were ready to play or he would be at the point he was ready to play and he’d get the game and dump the tiles in the box, shake them up and start putting them out on the table. It was the sign that he was ready to play. He always sat in the exact same place - head of the table.
Sunday night I sat down in my normal spot, but this time with the box, dumped the tiles into the box and looked over at my dad’s seat and found myself barely able to breath. He’s not there. I’m doing his job. He’ll NEVER play Acquire again with us. I tried hard to not burst into tears, because I wasn’t sure how my mom, brother or others sitting there were feeling. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t contain the tears and sobbing! I SOBBED!!!!! I had chest pains that I was sure was a broken heart, crumbling in pieces. DAD WOULD NEVER PLAY ACQUIRE WITH US AGAIN AND WHAT OTHER NEVERS WERE THERE!!!!!
I asked who was going to sit in my dad’s spot - no one could do it. My brother scooted his chair over and halfway sat in my dad’s spot, but it just couldn’t be done. That spot is dad’s forever!!!
We played the game and we laughed and little things happened along the way that made us all think about dad and how he played the game. It was good, a good start to healing, but also painful.
"I will NEVER get that hug and hear those words again while I’m here on earth."
As we were getting close to finishing up the game we got talking about who would email my niece, my dad loved emailing the family missionaries each Sunday who won and who lost the game. We knew that tradition needed to continue on. Another stinger.
And then I got thinking oh my gosh at the end of the night, after the game each week my dad would stand up and give me a hug and say, “I love you sweetheart.” Then he would quietly follow us out the back door and he’d wave goodbye. I will NEVER get that hug and hear those words again while I’m here on earth.
We hugged my mom and as we walked out the back door it left a huge hole in my heart. I sobbed again. The pain was super real. I just can’t understand. How can things be never??? How can he be gone?
One of the things that I’ve worked through over and over in counseling is the never, ever, always, all of the time - the extremes. I’ve realized working through things with counseling that in life pretty much there’s not the extremes and that’s where things can get really difficult if we live in that space. I’ve done so much better and really been able to manage my anxiety and depression with coming more to the middle ground. It’s been a great blessing to heal and work through this, BUT I now had it! I had counseling on Monday morning at 8 a.m. and I told my counselor I have something that is the extreme and is super painful - there’s soooo much that my dad will NEVER be able to do with me again.
My counselor talked through with me to be very careful with that. That would be a very painful way to go through the process of healing and would hold me back and he said, “You won’t be able to do these things with him here on this Earth for now, but you don’t know what’s in store later - its still not never.”
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A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity