When you are in pain, part of you wants to shut yourself off from the world in your own discord, but there is another part of you that wants to take that pain and hand it to others – the gift of misery.  In doing that, you hope that someone will see and understand what you feel; that may never happen, but it’s a chance we all want to take.

I lost my dad on July 1st of this year. The loss of a parent is devastating, full of sadness, guilt, reparations, and so on.  But it is so much more…and this is my story.

My mother and father were married when I was six years old.  My biological father was 5-years gone (out for milk? gone for bread? Nope. Just a loser leaving his wife and kids, it seems).  So, my step-dad (and, moving forward, this will be the only occurrence in which you will see this word, because it is woefully incorrect) became my Dad.  And we were instant soul-mates.  My mother and my sister were always so close and so tight; when my mom and dad married, it felt like I had someone of my own.

Growing up, it was ever apparent that we had common interests and personalities.  Out of seven kids, I was the baby and the proclaimed “weirdo” of the bunch.  I took (take) so much heat for being “different” and “sensitive,” but my dad was always there, wanting to know about my life and wanting to know about the things that made me happy.  My teenage years weren’t angsty – they were filled with friends, activities, and a parent who was there for every stupid teen-aged emotion I went through.

My adult years were tougher. I was in an unhappy marriage for many years and my first child was diagnosed with autism.  I can’t begin to tell you what a blessing having my dad as my companion through all of this was.  I didn’t have a husband that wanted to go to doctor appointments with me and my son (he could’ve given three shits less), but I had a Dad who wanted to be there.  He wanted to learn with me.  He wanted to help.  He gave me time, love, understanding and peace.

And he was ALWAYS there.

And, now?  I’m 35.  At an age where I should be helping him in return for everything he gave to me, he’s gone.  And I mean GONE.  I can’t take comfort that he is “looking down on me” or “always with me” because I don’t FEEL it and I sure as fuck don’t SEE it.  I feel angry.  I feel alone.  I have to accept the fact that the best friend that I (and my two children) ever had is never to be seen or heard from on this Earth again.

I have to look at my mom.  My mother, who after so many years, is alone.  I should be there for her, and GOD KNOWS I do try, but all that really does is make the absence of such sunshine that much more pronounced.

Two weeks after we buried my dad, I remarried.  Two weeks after that, I was off to Europe for the trip of a lifetime.  I have a beautiful family and a lovely home – but the emptiness I feel sometimes overshadows everything.  How do you get through it?  How does every memory that gets jogged at random times during the day not absolutely break your heart?

I miss my dad so much more than I can ever adequately describe.