Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rest

I'm really going to miss my Daddy. He fought very hard for 12 long days and nights, but he was tired, so tired. I'm happy to report that he isn't tired anymore. But sadly for all of us, this means that he is gone from this world. Very early this morning, he passed away peacefully surrounded by the people he loved and was loved by as we told our favorite "Mike Stories".

It's a hard thing...watching someone you love with all of your heart die. Especially when that person once stood 6'4" and was the strongest person in your world. Even though it's the natural progression of life for a parent to pass away before a child does, it's also natural for a child to expect that his or her parents are always going to be there because they are mama and daddy and when nothing else in the world is constant, your parents are.

Selfishly, I'm thinking about all of the things that I still need my daddy for. Who's going to ask me if I have checked the oil in my car lately?...Or call me in the middle of a TV program just because he knows that I'm really into the show and he likes teasing me?...Who's going to ask me about my "little 65 pound lap dog" that is just perfect for a one bedroom apartment?...Or show me his latest YouTube discovery?...Who's going to give me away on my wedding day?

My daddy loved little people. [Not vertically challenged people, but kids.] He was never happier than to just sit and watch kids play or pick at them in his good-natured manner. I cannot tell you the number of little girls he has thoroughly confused by asking them what their name was before they got married. He would have been an incredible grandfather. I'm just sorry that my children will never get to know their Grandpa Page.

While on the one hand I feel absolutly cheated and robbed of so many memories that I never got the opportunity to make with my daddy, on the other, I feel so fortunate to have had him for the years that I did. The Friday night "dance parties" that he, mom, and I had when I was a teeny little girl. He played DJ while Mama and I would dance up a storm. My daddy never got the chance to see the Laser Show at Stone Mountain. It's not that we never went, it's that once we got there, I would freak out over the fact that there was going to be fireworks at the end so Daddy always carried me back out to the car because I was so scared. He was my softball coach for years and he treated all of the players as if they were his own girls. Softball was what we did. It's how we bonded. I never been more thankful for those times than I am right now. As I sit here and think back through the years, it's like a flood gate of memories has been opened and now they are all spilling out at a rate so quickly that I am afraid I will forget them.

In these 30 years, I learned so much from him. He always said when I was growing up that one day I was going to realize just how smart my dear ol' dad was. You know what? He's right. He was a smart man. Even though I never came right out and told him that, I hope he knew that I thought so.

My daddy was a funny man. My humor is what it is today because of him. Mama always said that Daddy only teased me because he loves me. So often he showed his love through humor.

My daddy was a family man. He loved us. How he loved us. And this I think is the hardest part...because when you really love someone, these are the people that you take for granted. You say things that maybe you shouldn't say. Or don't say things that you should say. How I wish that I could have just one more conversation with him. I remember the very last thing I said to him on the Sunday afternoon as I was leaving to go back to Athens before he was put into the hospital on Tuesday. And it breaks my heart to know that what I told him I needed for him to do can never happen here on this earth. My heart also breaks to look at my baby brothers tell their daddy goodbye and say to him again that they love him. It's is terrible to watch my mama grieve the loss of her teammate...her soulmate...the love of her life.

My daddy was a tired man. He has been sick for a very long time and a physically weak body can only last for so long. I know it pained him beyond measure to not be able to do the things that used to do. I know that he has not really felt like himself for a number of years now. I know that he probably had so much regret because he got sick really as a result of a decision that he made when he was a teenager. [Public Service Announcement: If you smoke, please stop. Now. For the sake of your family. And your lungs.] Yes, my daddy was a very tired man in the end. He had been fighting hard for days and he was always such a hard worker in general when he was still physically able. But my daddy is not tired anymore. He is at rest on this earth, but alive and well and enjoying quite a welcome home party in his new forever home. I don't know if overalls fit the dresscode in Heaven, but I like to think that he had a brand new pair waiting for him once he got there.

18 comments:

Jenny said...

My heart is with you.

Ashley said...

Oh, Heather. I am so, so sorry for your loss. I am sitting here crying for you as I'm reading this. I'll be praying for you and your family. Hang in there. :)

Meeshin' Around said...

Hey Heather - We are praying for you and your family. What a sweet tribute you wrote to your Daddy.

Angel said...

What a sweet post about your Daddy. We love you!!!

Amanda L said...

Sweet Heather, I am so, so sorry. What a touching tribute to your Dad. I am thinking of you.

The Hudgins said...

heather, you are in my prayers.
tara

Renee said...

Praying for you and your family!

Whitlamy said...

Heather-
I obviously never knew or met your dad, but goodness that was such a sweet post that it brought tears flooding down my face. Thinking and praying for you...
Amy Whitlark

Whitlamy said...

Heather-
I obviously never met your dad, but this sweet post brought tears streaming down my face. Thinking and praying for you...
Amy Whitlark

Lindsey said...

A beautiful tribute to your daddy. I'm so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Heather--Praying for you and your family.
Staci (Ladd) Wagner

Josh and Donna said...

i never met your dad, but the picture you posted perfectly captures all of your sweet stories of him. love you lots, praying for your family.

Anonymous said...

Heather...you are an amazing writer and you have captured the essence of your father in this post. I am sure that your Daddy is looking down on you now and he is bursting with pride at the woman you are and will become. My prayers are with you and your entire family.

Kacey Harrington Wilson

Jenny said...

BTW--I think our dads could have almost been twins. Right down to the overalls. That was his dress of choice every day of his life.

natalie m. said...

heather...

that is the most touching tribute you could give him...love you and praying for you...

natalie

Lanie Beth Sinclair said...

Heather, I'm so sorry for your loss. You are on my mind and in my prayers.

Stephanie said...

Heather,
We are praying for you and your family during this difficult time. I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

The Tooles said...

What a beautiful post. I admit that I dropped a few tears as I read this. Partly because I am so sorry for your loss but mostly because you have such wonderful memories of your father. You know, those memories that bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face at the same time=) That's what keeps you going! Thinking of you...