“DEAR DAD, IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN GONE FOR TWELVE YEARS. YOU WERE ONLY F…”

DEAR DAD, IT IS HARD TO BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN GONE FOR TWELVE YEARS. YOU WERE ONLY FORTY-SEVEN WHEN YOU DIED ON THAT SOFTBALL FIELD. THAT WAS THE HARDEST DAY OF MY LIFE. WHEN I GOT THE CALL FROM MY FRIEND WHO WAS ON YOUR TEAM THAT YOU HAD A HEART ATTACK, I YELLED AT HIM FOR PLAYING A SICK JOKE ON ME. WHEN HE TOLD ME HE WASN'T JOKING MY OWN HEART STOPPED. I LD COULDN'T BREATHE. DRIVING THE TWO HOURS TO GET TO THE HOSPITAL WAS BRUTAL. ESPECIALLY WHEN I WAS ONLY THIRTY MINUTES AWAY AND I RECEIVED THE OTHER PHONE CALL FROM MOM STATING YOU WERE GONE. MY WORLD CRUMBLED THAT DAY. I NEVER RECOVERED, ONLY LEARNED TO LIVE WITH YOU W CRUMBU THE PAIN. SEEING YOU LAY THERE ON THAT TABLE AND HAVING TO SAY GOODBYE WAS SURREAL. I COULDN'T PROCESS IT. ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS HOW YOU WERE NEVER GOING TO SEE YOUR FUTURE GRANDCHILDREN. YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SEE MY YOUNGER SIBLINGS GRADUATE OR GET MARRIED. TO TRY AND PROCESS THAT YOU WERE JUST GONE MADE ME NUMB AND IN SHOCK. I WORKED FEVEROUSLY FOR THE NEXT WEEK GATHERING ALL THE PHOTOS I COULD OF YOU WITH ALL THE FAMILY TO PUT INTO A PHOTO SLIDESHOW WITH MUSIC TO PLAY AT THE CHURCH FOR YOUR FUNERAL. I COULDN'T SPEAK TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT, I DIDN'T WANT TO BE BOTHERED WITH THE “SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS”, "YOUR DAD WAS A GREAT MAN”, “HE WAS SO YOUNG”. ALL THIS I ALREADY KNEW, ALL I WANTED WAS YOU BACK IN OUR LIVES. AFTER THE FUNERAL I WAS SO LOST WITH EVERYTHING BECAUSE THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO KEEP ME BUSY AND NOT THINK ABOUT YOU NEVER RETURNING TO US KIDS. I FELL INTO A DEEP DEPRESSION AND SHUT A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT OF MY LIFE. IT TOOK MANY YEARS TO ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU WERE GONE. MY HEART STILL HURTS EVERY DAY FOR YOU. I WISH I COULD CALL AND TALK TO YOU ABOUT MY LIFE AND ALL THE GOOD THAT IT HAS NOW. STRUGGLES STILL HAPPEN, AND I STILL HAVE DAYS WHERE ALL I DO IS CRY FOR YOU, BUT FOR THE MOST PART I CAN AT LEAST TALK ABOUT YOU AND SOME OF YOUR CRAZY STORIES TO OTHERS WITHOUT COMPLETELY BREAKING DOWN. IT IS ALL A WORK IN PROGRESS. YOU ARE MY DAD, MY ROCK. I LOOKED UP TO YOU IN SO MANY WAYS. YOU WERE THERE FOR ME AND MY SIBLINGS FOR ALL OUR ACTIVITIES. THAT IS ONE OF THE QUALITIES I LOVED MOST ABOUT YOU, WE COULD ALWAYS COUNT ON YOU TO BE THERE ROUTING FOR US AND GIVING US THAT SLY SMILE YOU ALWAYS GIVE. I LOVE YOU DAD, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HEART. LOVE, YOUR DAUGHTER

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