I have been debating if I want to write anything about my dad’s passing or not, but I finally decided to do it. I think it will make me feel better to share some things. The past two weeks have been really really hard and overwhelming.
My dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on the 24th. We still aren’t certain if it was a heart attack, stroke or something else, but most likely a heart attack. It was very quick and he was just gone. He had been fine all day and made dinner for my mom and grandma that night. He didn’t complain about any problems and even though he has had some health problems, he saw the doctor regularly and didn’t have any sign of heart problems or anything like that. My mom was getting ready for bed and sometime that evening he took out the garbage cans. Our wonderful neighbor across the street noticed a garbage can tipped over in the driveway and realized my dad had fallen and was gone. It appeared to be very quick and painless which is a blessing for us. But the shock of it all has been really overwhelming. It was just so sudden and surprising, although I have learned that it doesn’t matter how they go or if you know it’s coming, it is still a heartbreaking and awful thing to go through.
Growing up, my dad was awesome. He always took us on hikes, to the mountains and we had season tickets to the U of U football games. We have so many awesome memories of going to those games. He is the reason my sister and I love sports and love being outdoors. He was a great dad and I always knew how much he loved us.
I will be forever grateful for the amazing example that my wonderful mother has set for me. She always loved my dad and always took care of him and stood by him. She is a perfect example of loyalty and true love and if she hadn’t shown me that, I wouldn’t be able to say that the past 5 years with my family have been especially wonderful. I have been able to grow closer to my dad and gain a great relationship with him and we have had a lot of happy memories together as a family.
I always thought it was a lot easier to lose a parent once you are “grown up” and have your own life and family. It didn’t seem quite as tragic to me for some strange reason, but of course I realize that is definitely not the case. My heart will forever be heavy knowing that I won’t get to see my dad enjoy his first grandchild on this earth. The heartache of planning a funeral, picking out a casket, and all the other things that must happen during a time like this is unexplainable.
There are a lot of things that I have learned in the past 2 weeks. This experience has made me want to be kinder to people. I want to try harder to have patience and be loving and kind towards others even if they don't seem to be kind back to me. You never know what kind of pain or heartache others are going through. I also want to make more of an effort to reach out to people I know who may be going through a difficult situation. Most of the time, I will just think about them and say a few prayers for them (which do help), but that is all. I have been amazed and extremely touched by the outpouring of people who have come to visit, sent cards, flowers, texts, facebook messages, etc. There are no words to make it better, but feeling that love and support from others has really lifted us up and has moved me. So many people came to the viewing and funeral and it made me want to make more of an effort to support others during difficult times.
The most important thing I have learned through all of this is that spending time with the people you love is priceless. I am kind of a huge homebody and love being home by myself. Driving all the way down to West Jordan seemed like a big deal to me and I didn’t do it a lot. I realize now that not being able to do things at my house or getting home later because we go to visit family and friends is not a big deal. I don’t want to look back and wish I had more time with people I love.
There have been a lot of small blessings that we have been able to reflect on. 6 months ago we were able to be together as an entire family in the temple for Steph and Andrew’s wedding. Technically my baby was there too but I didn’t know I was pregnant yet! That was wonderful and something we will be able to remember forever.
We were also able to go to dinner as a family to celebrate mine and Dan’s birthdays on Monday only 2 days before my dad passed. It was so much fun and we opened presents, ate dessert and just chatted. We all stayed for a long time and it was really great. That was the last time I saw or talked to my dad and I’m so grateful that I had a real goodbye. He gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek and I will cherish that memory forever.
My dad’s favorite meal is spaghetti and he made a spaghetti dinner on Wednesday night for himself, my mom and grandma. That is a small thing but something that made us all really happy. For the past year, he has been taking care of my grandma and for the past 6 months, he has taken care of my mom through her cancer treatments. We found out 2 days after he passed that her scans came back really positive and she is done with treatment and will just do follow up appointments.
Most all, I am extremely grateful for my knowledge of the Gospel and the Plan of Salvation. Although there are times when I feel angry or lost or confused and just want to know why, I don’t doubt that my Heavenly Father is there and that He loves me and my family. I don’t just hope that my dad is in heaven and hope that I will see him again. I know I will and there is no doubt in my mind. I am so thankful for the knowledge and it brings me a lot of comfort.