Feeling Fearless: I Am My Father's Daughter

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It has taken me a week to write this and I hope my dad can forgive me for that. I was just not in a space to write about it...Him. Last week on April 10, it was the 2-yr anniversary of his death.

They say the first year is the toughest. But in my case, the second year was harder than the first. I'll be honest. The first year was a blur. I don't even remember a lot of it. And I did so much in Year 1. I was numb and just going through the motions.

I just could not accept that he was gone. And it's hard to be vulnerable to people when you feel they don't understand. I learned a lot about myself that year. I have no regrets because I think I needed those moments. And while I am not asking for a pass, I have to say, if you have never experienced grief on that level then you don't know or can comprehend how one will act in that type of situation. The anger, the numbness, the pain, the sadness. I never knew it was possible to feel numb but also feel so many emotions in conjunction with that.

At the end of the day, you have to respect someone's grief journey and remember that it is not personal or about you at all. It's hard. But I am lucky enough to have friends in my circle, who have hung in there every step of the way and are forgiving of me.

Year 2 was when I started to accept he was gone. I stopped dialing his number. I stopped thinking that he was just on another job and I would see him when he got back. And while I have not stopped having conversations with him daily, I don't let it consume me like it once did. I am able to leave the house, go on adventures and feel like my old self again. Not 100% but I am a work in progress. I am still dealing with a lot of guilt I carry and I am working on forgiving myself and letting go. Because I don't want to carry unnecessary baggage that will weigh me down in life.

When he was alive, I took him for granted. I thought that he was who he was because he had to be. This is going to sound ridiculous from a rational point of view but bear with me here. I thought growing up that he was my father, so of course, he had to be there for me all the time and be my hero and save me when needed. He had to teach me about life, take me fishing, teach me how to use power tools, take me to baseball games and teach me how to ride a bike. He had to love me no matter what.

But now with him gone, I get it. Who he was was someone that was amazing. He was someone who was an extraordinary father, mentor and friend. I realized that what I took for granted is something that some people never experience. What I thought was the norm, others regarded as me being lucky and blessed to have a father like I did.

It is a shame that I didn't get it until he was gone. But because he is gone, I can celebrate him daily. I can share my stories of him and the great man he was. I can tell the world of the greatest adventure I have ever been on. That adventure is my time with my dad. 41 years of fun, knowledge, amazing times, and love. Unconditional love. My dad was the one person in my life who saw me for who I was and who I could be. He saw my potential before I did. He never saw my weight, my anxiety issues, or any of my other flaws as negative things. He saw them as shields of honor and strength. And I carry that with me everyday.

All of our conversations would usually include me telling him of my doubt at something I was working on or pursuing and he would always say with no hesitation, "Marce, you can do it. I know you can. You can do anything you set your mind to. It's a given." My father thought I was brilliant, smart, capable, strong and beautiful. And I thank him daily for instilling these positive labels on me. I am today who he created, guided and inspired.

He was my rock and always there to "talk me off the ledge" when I was freaking out or second-guessing myself on something. I can be my own worst critic at times and am hard on myself to be the best I can be. My dad would always remind me to just be. Those two simple words are so powerful. Just be. He believed that if we were all true to ourselves, we wouldn't waste time second-guessing ourselves and having self-doubt. He used to tell me all the time to be proud of who I was, flaws and all. Because I was destined for greatness regardless. No one is perfect but if you can just be, everything will be alright.

So, Daddy, while I miss you more than words can say and long to hear your laugh and hug you, I know that you are always with me. You're in the air I breathe, every step I take on my journey, the sky I see, and every place I go. Most importantly, you are in my heart. And that is forever. I am your only daughter and so proud of that fact. Love you infinity.

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