We have had one week of amazing weather here in the Chicago area. Eighty degree temps and bountiful sunshine. It's been nice to feel a bit of summer on my runs and rides. I love me some sunshine. I love how it feels on my skin. Especially after I've been without it for so many months. It makes me feel alive. Makes me happy. Ahhhh, sunshine.
My father called me Sunshine. It always made me smile. Come on, your dad calling you Sunshine? Melted my little heart. And, sometimes, when he would hold me he would sing, "You Are My Sunshine". Love.
My dad loved the sunshine. His favorite place in the world was our gazebo or hammock in St. Maarten. He would spend afternoons lounging in the sun in the beach hammock, reading a good book. Come sunset time he would move to the gazebo with the book, this time adding a nice cocktail as he watched the sun set on another gorgeous day.
However, dad also loved bad weather. Tornadoes, hurricanes, the worse the better. If tornado sirens were going off, dad was outside watching the sky. When we were in a major hurricane in St. Maarten, he took a very minor reduction in winds during the middle of the hurricane as an opportunity to go outside and stand in it. The winds were intense and almost unbearable to stand in. But, he hunkered down in a spot that gave him a vantage point to watch the intensity of the storm from the front row. Of course, I was right behind him. The apple didn't fall far.
Ten years ago today my dad died. I cannot believe it's been ten years. I have no idea where the time went. It still seems like yesterday. I can still remember the events of those last twenty four hours with every single detail. Up until the moment my my dad took his last breath.
I was my father's daughter . After he died I honestly thought the sun would never shine again. There's something about losing a parent. If you have been unfortunate to know this feeling, you know. If you are lucky enough to not know it I hope that you don't for a very long time.
|My sister's bib for the St. Paddy's Day 5k|
I have several friends who have rocky relationships with their parents. I only tell them this. Make amends. Even if they did you wrong. Weren't the best parents. Made you struggle to be the amazing person you are today in spite of them. Whatever it is. Be the better person. Forgive. Love. Because, life is too short. My dad was not perfect. He made mistakes. He wasn't always a good dad. But, he did love me. And, in the end of his life I felt his love stronger than I ever had. Maybe it was because I was taking care of him. As he slowly died, I stood up strong. To help him. Oddly the moment in my life he was proudest of me was when I was helping him die.
I have so many male friends who have daughters. I love watching them interact with them. There's something so special about the father-daughter relationship. I'm not even sure my friends realize the impact they are having on their daughters. But, let me tell you, it's a big one. If you are a father to a daughter, don't take what you say and do with them for granted. They remember it all. It matters.
Losing my dad was hard. He was THE man in my life. Always. He comforted me when I was sad. Gave me that kind of bear hug that only a dad can give. When I got physically hurt my mom would give me the bandaid and calm me down. However, dad would tell me me to suck it up and stop crying. My dad was there to help me with life lessons. With stuff as a girl I didn't know how to do. I would ask my dad. Often he would do it for me. But, many times he would make me figure it out myself.
After he died I had to figure everything out myself. I could no longer ask him. That was hard at first. I cannot tell you how many times I reached for the phone, thinking I could call him. Only to remember I would never be able to again. I didn't figure out a lot of things right without him. I made mistakes. I still do.
I really need my dad now. For so many reasons. My running sucks. I am struggling. I'm being whiny. I need him to remind me to suck it up. Shut up and just do it. But, I also need him to give me the hug that only he could give. To tell me that it would be ok. That life would be ok. He didn't hug me often. When he did it was unexpected. But, it was in a moment I surely needed it. The unexpected hugs tend to mean the most. I miss having someone to protect me. From life. From me.
The sun does still shine. But, it's not the same.
I. Miss. My. Dad.
Fight on. Livestrong. Run on.
Suck it cancer.