This will be the last post I make here that isn’t back on track. For now, my Grand Illusion has come to an abrupt halt and become my reality. The next post will be pictures and credits and reviews, life of course goes on…but first….
Today, after a gun solute, I will be presented with a folded flag and the urn holding my fathers ashes. All eyes will be focused on me, the only daughter and ‘heir’ while they each have their own memories of the man I had not been able to see in a couple of years. This is what happens when you live thousands of miles away from family. This is what happens when you neglect to see your Dr after having consistent chest pains. This is what happens when you lay down, thinking tomorrow is another day to live…and then don’t wake up.
The memories others have of my father differ very much from my own. However, we were expecting him next spring, and planning the trip so he could see his grandchildren again. Here, where he lived, are so many people that were touched by his life. Randomly a man came up to me a couple of days ago and said ‘YOU!’ (imagine my shock?) ‘You are Al’s daughter. You look like him, he was your father, right?’ (dumbfounded nod) ‘Your father saved my life. He got me to go to AA and my life has been forever changed because of him. He loved you and talked about you all the time!’ Everyone has a story about him, and a story he told them about me.
I didn’t know he spoke of me.
The last couple of weeks away from my family, my children, my husband, I have been on this roller coaster of mourning. In my weakest and most unlovable moments, my friends online have been my life line. Amazing. Without them, I don’t know how I would of gotten through this. Their faces on webcam, their voices in my ears, their text messages, emails, every virtual hug, it has reminded me why I am here. I am never, ever, alone. At home, away from home, I have so many people around me that I absolutely adore, I am never at a loss for someone to talk to and I thank *all of you* for everything you have done for me.
Somehow, in the midst of all of this, I have found myself in the warm loving company of new friends as well. I have worked hard to cut any poisonous things out of my life, and in return, as reward(?) I have received more amazing people that have been understanding, caring, compassionate…simply put? In this time of loss, and I have lost, I have also gained. I have given, and received, and finally, I feel as if I am on the right track to healing, growing, and becoming who I was so many years ago, someone he can be proud of again.
In essence, my fathers final gifts to me were his strength. His determination. His resolution to do amazing things. His passion to help people, even when no one else seems to think they are worthy of that love or help. Nothing is going to hold me back, nothing and no one will ever hold me down, cage me, or take anything away from me again. He gave me the ability to talk to *anyone* and find myself with a friend. To look forward and find my way, and even when I am not ok, I can look anyone in the face, put on a smile and say…I’m fine…because in the end, I always am. He always was.
With my friends around me, in life and in thought, my father there in spirit…I will get through today. I am fine. Tomorrow, I go home.