Days Like Today

I woke up today with a heaviness over me. I actually felt some physical pain in my chest and arm, which obviously made me feel anxious. The weird thing was that I didn’t start to worry because I had a deeper feeling that it wasn’t so much physical as it was some type of emotional and/or spiritual pain (Don’t ask me how I knew that). As the morning went on I could eventually tell that my “spick-it” (if you will) needed to be twisted open. I realized that there was a purging of emotions that needed to take place. A cathartic experience was required in order for me to feel better. I didn’t know why until I looked at today’s date, February 25th. 18 years ago my mom came into my room and told me the painful news that my dad had died suddenly of a heart attack while he was at work. I was 15 years old and completely unprepared for news like that (not that anyone could be). I mean, I was just starting to grow facial hair and my dad was supposed  to teach me how to shave. Baseball tryouts were just around the corner and my dad was supposed to help get me in shape and ready for the season. I was literally just entering the awkward phase of my adolescence and my dad was supposed to help guide me through it with his usual wit and grace. How do I even respond to news like this? This isn’t supposed to happen. In fact, it can’t happen because…”I’m too young”.

“I’m too young” was my first thought when I was diagnosed with Brain Cancer.  I have to say that I do appreciate it when people say to me, “you’re too young” and I appreciated it also when people would say it to me after my dad died. It’s not so much the words I’ve appreciated, it’s more the sentiment. It demonstrates the understanding of the uniqueness of the cards I’ve been dealt (Click here to see another blog post about just that). The sentiment also acknowledges the challenges that these events have put in front of me. What the sentiment doesn’t do nor can ever do is take away the fact that my dad died (and that I was diagnosed with Brain Cancer) and there will always be days like today because of that fact.

I’ve lived way more of my life without my dad than with my dad, but everyday when I look in the mirror I see my dad. Every time I look at my hands I see my dad’s hands. Every time I watch a comedy (especially The Pink Panther films) I can hear my dad’s laugh in my head. He still lives on in ways like that. It’s days like today, however, that I miss my dad and wonder how differently my life would be if he were still around. It’s days like today when I remember that Amy never got to meet him and that makes me sad.  It’s days like today when I wish I could’ve known my dad in an adult context. It’s days like today when I wish that I could call him up and tell him that I love him.

It’s also days like today that I’m grateful for my dad and the time I had with him and the fact that he was committed to being a loving and invested father to my two older brothers and me. It’s also days like today where I’m grateful for the support I had growing up that got me through those tough times when I needed my dad the most. It’s days like today where I’m reminded that’s its good to grieve and to not stuff my emotions down. Most importantly though, it’s days like today in which I allow myself to grieve (open the “spick-it”), that I’m reminded (via Amy, my family, my friends, and you) that HOPE dominates fear, that GRACE ruins despair, and that LOVE conquers all and that’s why I’m always so grateful for days like today.

dadandbros

It will be a day like tomorrow February 26 that I will celebrate my dad’s life. He would’ve been turning 73. Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Thank you for letting me purge,

Alex

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