One Year Ago

Sometimes we write about the tough times, about the pain, about the survival. This is one of those times.

One year ago the greatest man in my life left this world. He lives in my heart every day, but today I miss his physical presence badly.

As I layed in the bed trying to fall asleep, I felt uneasy. As the clock ticked on, my stomach felt queasy and my throat tightened. I felt on the verge of a panic attack and my subconscious knew why. At midnight, it became a reality that one year ago my papa died. It became a reality that he has been absent from my life for one whole year. In minutes after midnight, I was flooded with the memories of this day a year ago. I immediately ran outside for air.

I sat on my porch for a few minutes in silence, looking toward the sky. I wondered if I should drive out to the cemetery. He’s not there I told myself, but I couldn’t find him in the sky either. Where is he? That’s when the tears came and shortly after the sobbing.

I wanted to be alone but yet I didn’t. I needed to get it all out because it’s been inside for an entire year. Yes, I cried on the day he died. I sobbed loudly on my work desk when I received the phone call. But then I pulled it together for my sister and for my family as best I could. I was “fine” until we were in the room with his body before the funeral. I lost it then, looking at him. I didn’t say goodbye. I didn’t realize. It was when we arrived at the cemetery that I realized I would never see him again. Inside I was freaking out. Inside I began the stage of denial.

I only remember breaking down once in the time after the funeral. It was the worst crying you’d hear in your life. Even I could hear the level of pain in my cries.

Life did go on, but it was not the same. I found myself missing him often but replaying the happy moments in my head. You see, my papa was the kind of man you could be proud of. He provided for his family, was married to his wife for over 50 years, served in the military, retired from another job and had a kind and generous heart. He was generally a man of few words, so when he talked, you listened. Tonight I clearly remember his voice and his laughter. I can hear him saying “well look-a here” when I would walk in the door, or “ayyy me” when he was ready to call it a night, or “ah” when he was dismissing something you said. I see his facial expressions and his smile. I see him in his recliner or at the kitchen table.

I remember him bargaining with the salesman over my car. I remember him walking me down the aisle. I remember him putting a wet washcloth on my face to wake me up from work. I remember eating peanuts in our Pepsis together. I remember making a “teepee” in his hair when I little. I remember the tight grip of his hugs. I remember his tears at my graduation.

As I’m sure you’ve figured out, he was also my dad. I do have a real dad but he was absent. So my papa was always my male role model and it doesn’t get much better than that. I thank God that he stepped into the role willingly and that I have his behavior and lifestyle to reference. But when he died, I not only lost my papa, but I also lost my dad and the only steady man in my life. It’s been a tough loss. I’m thankful that I’m older and am equipped to survive life without a father, but I’d rather have him around. Sometimes you just want a fathers love, presence and protection.

I want to be able to tell him about my life now, my job and my hobbies. He’d be proud of me and I always wanted to make him proud. In a way, everything I do is to make him proud along with my mother and nanny.

I know he’s in heaven watching over me. He’s my guardian angel. I’ve felt his presence before and been so at peace. I’m not sure where he is right now. I hope he’s watching over and speaking to my nanny right now because she needs him more than I do in this moment.

I love you Papa and these tears I cry are because I miss you. And I miss you so much because you were the greatest man I’ll ever have the honor of knowing. Please stay in my heart and touch my soul for the rest of my life.

Love, Ashley

As stated in my About section, this blog has always been in part for my Papa.

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