When Grieving Transitions To Celebrating - Happy Birthday Dad

When my Dad died 6 years ago, I was sad and so mad and I certainly couln't even utter the words out loud "my Dad died or my Dad is dead."   I was mad at God for thinking he somehow needed my Dad more than I possibly could. It wasn't fair.  Although I was 32 years old at the time, I felt like stomping my feet and screaming at the top of my lungs because I wanted him back.  I wanted to hear his voice, to give him a hug and kiss, for him to be a Grandfather to my two boys, for him to sneak "people" food to my dog(even though I always knew what he was doing).  I want him to show up on a warm summer day riding his motorcycle and to be able to call him when I have a question about a vehicle problem.  Mostly, I just want him alive.  Still to this day, I want him alive.  I'll be honest, some days it still hurts like hell that he isn't here.  Time does not heal.  With time, a new "normal" takes shape and things are different. Not better, but different. I will never be okay with him being gone, taken from us because a nasty invader of a brain tumor decided he was a good host for it to destroy.  What makes this so much harder for me is the fact that he was only 57 years old.  Fifty-seven.  Not even old enough for a senior citizen discount or to retire from his job.  He wasn't done here yet.  He had so much to do, so much to give and so much to be to my two boys. 

As I sit here and write this tonight, I feel different.  Not okay, but different.  At some point, I can't remember the precise moment, I decided to honor and celebrate my Dad's life rather than live with sadness that he isn't here any longer.  He simply isn't.  There is just nothing that I can do about it.  So, now I choose to talk about him with love in my voice and a smile on my face.  I tell the story of how he earned a purple heart while serving his country in Vietnam with pride in my voice.  I do this because that is what I want his legacy to be.  I want my kids to hear wonderful stories about their grandfather and to look at photos and videos of him with smiles on their faces.  Today, we will celebrate!  Today he would be 64 years old (getting that senior citizen discount and retired from his job-well maybe not that one since he was a work-a-holic).  Today we will pull out photo albums and look through pictures of my Dad, the man my boys called "Grampy" and we will bake a cake and maybe even sing Happy Birthday for to him.  I know we will smile.  I also know that I may cry as well.  Most importantly, I know that no matter what emotions we are feeling throughout the day, they are all our normal and that's okay.


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