Friday, March 11, 2016

Important Days

Today's a special day in my life: it's my birthday! But it's also a significant one for more than that reason.

It's the first birthday I'll be celebrating without my dad here to share it with me.
On Wednesday this week, early in the morning, my dad passed away peacefully in his sleep with my mom and I with him in his hospital room when he went, which was exactly what he had said he wanted.

My dad was in a coma from Monday afternoon until the time that he passed in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The last words I heard my dad speak to me were when I was leaving the hospital on Sunday evening and he gave me a kiss, thanked me for coming and being with him there, and then told me that he loved me. I'll remember that forever.

When I got back to the hospital on Tuesday morning, it was the first time I walked into the room and my dad's eyes didn't open and he didn't greet me. It hit me like a ton of bricks that this was something different than every other time I'd come to see him, even on his really bad days. My mom then shared with me that the doctor had just been in and said that he believed my dad would pass within the next day, possibly before then.

As much as I've known this was coming, and tried to prepare for it, nothing prepares you for the moment when you face having to say good bye to one of the people who raised you, who taught you how to be the person you are today, who made sure you were taken care of in more ways than just food and shelter.
I called MG and he immediately came over from work and my mom's best friend came by as well while my mom went home for a bit to shower since she'd been there for 2 days straight. It was nice to have people there so that I wasn't dealing with this alone.

Later in the day MG went home to take care of Cooper and to get me things to stay over night at the hospital, and my mom's best friend left, too, while one of my best friends was on her way to be with me.

It was just me and my dad for a while and I was able to hold his hand, and tell him how much I love him, how thankful I was for everything he had ever done for me and taught me, and how much he had loved me. I told him what a great dad he'd always been.
Once the nurses came in and moved him, he would groan from time to time, so I would just rub his arm, tell him that I was there, that it was going to be ok, and that I loved him. It seemed to help.
My friend got to the hospital and I was so thankful that she was there. She's known my dad since middle school and it was nice to have my friend to lean on.

When my mom got back, she told me she'd gone through my dad's lockbox where he'd kept important papers, looking for some papers that she needed, and saw that in there my dad had three letters: one from his sister from the 90s who has since passed, one from my mom on their 21st wedding anniversary, and one that I had written him when I was graduating from college.

We sat there and read the letters out loud to him (well, my mom read mine because I immediately broke down when I tried to) and it was so special. My letter said everything that I wanted to say to my dad and made me realize, even more, just how lucky I am to have had such a great dad who gave me so many things to thank him for and be grateful for, for all of these years. I'm so glad that he knew how much he means to me.

Not only that, but it obviously meant so much to him that he kept this for more than 10 years since I'd given it to him. It made it that much more special for me that it meant so much to him.

MG got back to the hospital with my things for the night, my friend Crystal left after a bit, and so did MG after staying there for a couple more hours. And then it was just me, my mom and my dad. 
When I got ready for bed, I said good night to my dad and I said a silent prayer that my aunt (his sister), his parents, and all of our family members who have passed would make sure that he wasn't scared, and show him the way. And at a little after 2 in the morning, I think they were all there to meet him and do just that.

My dad now doesn't have to worry about his heart not working. It's fixed. And my dad doesn't have to worry about feeling weak and trying to get stronger. He's strong again.
And most of all, my dad will never wonder whether or not he was loved. Because he was loved beyond measure, and will continue to be loved for the rest of my days.

So even though it's been a really hard, incredibly sad, and heartbreaking week, today on my birthday I can be thankful that I had such an amazing man in my life to show me what it is to be loved and cared for, among countless other things. I couldn't have asked for a better gift or a better dad. And I feel just a tiny bit better knowing my dad is always going to be watching over me, just like he did when he was here on Earth. That's one birthday gift that I'll treasure for a lifetime.

78 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. Your post brought me to tears as its apparent how much he meant to you. I wish I could give you a big hug. Know that your Dad is looking down on you on your birthday celebrating up in heaven xox
    Christina :: Simple and Delish

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  2. Omgoodness. So sorry for your last. This is heart breaking.. Stay strong..! He's singing happy birthday to you, I know it! Xo

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  3. I am so sorry for your loss. The memories that you have with your dad are so special, and you know he loves you so much! I hope you have a great birthday, too, Jenn!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  4. Oh my goodness Jenn I'm so sorry! I can't even imagine the pain you're in right now, but you're so totally right that your dad is looking down on you right now on your birthday.

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  5. Oh Jenn...there are no words to tell you how sorry I am for your loss and how much this post means to me. With tears streaming down my face, all I can say is that you are so beautifully strong and I have no doubt you get that from your amazing dad. Your angel is with you always now and especially today! Happy birthday love!

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  6. I am tearing up reading this, I am so so sorry for your loss, but glad to hear his final days were peaceful and surrounded by family and loved ones. And I hope you have a wonderful birthday!

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  7. Oh you beautiful girl, I am crying for your loss but smiling for your sweet daddy's soul and I bet he is so proud of you birthday girl!!! Praying for your strength, comfort and little bits of joy spread here and there in remembering and also knowing he created such a beautiful and loving daughter!!

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  8. Oh Jenn, I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your father. I hope that the memories of him will give you comfort during this difficult time. I also want to wish you a Happy Birthday even though you are going through what I can imagine is very hard. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Sending hugs from Georgia.
    xo,
    Blaire

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  9. What a beautiful post. You and your family are in my prayers, and I hope you feel nothing but love on your birthday!

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  10. I'm so very sorry to hear about you dad. I'm glad his final moments were peaceful. Praying for you and your family during this time.

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  11. Wow what an amazing post and tribute to your dad. I am so so sorry friend. Crying for you and your mom. I know there are no words to help the pain right now. I hope you can find a little something special to do today and treat yourself on your birthday <3

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. I hope you can still enjoy your birthday despite your loss...even if it's just being happy because you know your dad now is completely healed, whole and at peace in heaven. Praying for your family.

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  13. This post was so beautiful. I'm so sorry for your loss Jenn. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful dad and person. My thoughts and prayers are with you all. Xo

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  14. I am so sorry for your loss, this must be a tough birthday in so many ways. But so glad you find peace that your dad is no longer in pain and that nothing was left unsaid. Thinking of you and your family!

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  15. I'm so very sorry for your loss Jenn. this post was beautiful and just a touching tribute to your love for him. He must be looking over you filled with such joy that he raised such a strong, loving woman. I've mentioned before that I lost my dad suddenly 5 years ago this coming April. I never had that chance to say goodbye but losing your dad regardless, is hard and it sucks. I know we may be total strangers, but if you ever need to chat - you've got my email.
    God Bless your sweet dad and your family. ~Tiffany

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  16. Jenn- reading this post has brought me to tears because it was a beautifully written post! Your dad sounded like an amazing person and strong, I'm glad he's at peace now and with other family. He's most definitely looking down on you and smiling. My thoughts and prayers don't seem like enough, but they are with you and your family. I hope you have a wonderful birthday remember how great he was.

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  17. Oh gosh... I am so sorry. There is just something about a father/daughter relationship that is just precious. I'm praying that for your birthday, you get some sort of sign to show you how near he is to you even now.

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  18. I'm writing through tears, wishing I could hop through the screen and give you a big hug, sweet friend. I'm so sorry for your loss and will be praying for you and your family during this time. This post was a beautiful tribute to your clearly amazing dad! May your birthday be filled with love as well as cherished memories <3 All my love and prayer support - Brenda // Chatting Over Chocolate

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  19. Oh, friend. I'm so beyond sorry for your loss. I'm just confident that he's in Heaven and now rejoicing with the Savior and his family members who were there to greet him. I can't imagine this on your birthday (Happy Birthday, by the way), but you are such a strong woman and I'm thankful that you got to be there to appropriately tell him goodbye. Praying for all of you.

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  20. #1-we share the same birthday! Same name, same birthday! :) Happy birthday!
    #2-I am so sorry for your loss. You are 100% right that your dad will never question how much he was loved. The amount of love you showed him in even the past couple of days is more love than many feel in a lifetime. Such a wonderful and precious gift you gave to him. Hang in there & virtual hugs <3

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  21. Happy Birthday love! I hope you have an incredible day filled with love and laughter remembering how much your dad impacted your life. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my mom when I was 13 years old and losing a parent is so incredibly difficult. You are so strong and hope you know that you have all your loved ones at home and in your blogging world if you ever need any of us to just talk to! Thinking about you girl!

    xox,
    Jess

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  22. Crying big, fat tears while reading this today. Such a beautiful post, Jenn. I know this birthday will be a lot different than birthdays in the past, but I am so glad that your dad was able to pass in the way that he wanted most and in such a peaceful way - that is a true gift. I'm so very glad that you were able to say goodbye and let him know how very much he was loved. His legacy will always live on through you, and one day, through your children. And he will always be watching over you, until one day when you will be able to see him again!

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  23. Beautiful post...it had me in tears. Prayers for you and your family in the coming days. Sending hugs. May you be reminded today of all the happy memories! Happy birthday, friend! xx

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  24. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's never easy to lose a parent and this post is a beautiful tribute.

    Happy Birthday!

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  25. I am so sorry for your loss and I know this has to be such a heartbreaking time for you and your family. Praying for comfort for all of you, and hang tight and cherish the beautiful memories you shared together. Sending you hugs! <3

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  26. First-a very happy birthday dispite the circumstances.

    Second-I am beyond sorry about your father. It's been 4 years since my mom died and every word of the beautifully crafted tribute resonated with me. It's truly a testament of your bond with your father. I hope that you can find comfort and peace in today's celebration even if it low key. I'm here to chat if you want; just an email away as always. I can't promise that the next days, months or years are going to be easy-somethings will stop you in your tracks-but knowing your father is in your heart will hopefully help ease the pain. Xoxo

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  27. happy birthday to you sweet girl! this post is so so heart-filled and the love just pours out. you had a wonderful dad and the memories you shared will be treasured for a lifetime and then some. the title is the best - important days - indeed thats what they are. sending you alllll the love <3

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  28. Oh Jenn! What a beautiful post that brought me to tears! I am so sorry for your loss! But I do agree with you, he is fixed and strong, and I do believe you will see him again! Your parents both sound incredible, especially since they raised such a beautiful, strong, brave and kind daughter! I'm sure you make them proud!! I am praying for you, your mom and the rest of your family!! Sending all my love!
    Happy birthday!!

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  29. Oh my goodness I'm so sorry!! I'm so glad you and your mom were by his side and he passed peacefully. I cannot imagine what y'all are going through right now, especially on your birthday. Even though it's hard, I hope you do have a great day and celebrate the gift of life and love :) Y'all are still in my prayers!

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  30. love you so much sweet friend. i am so incredibly sorry to hear about your father's passing but i'm glad that you were able to spend as much time with him during his last few days and i'm sure he was beyond thankful to have you there. take strength in knowing he's in a better place and watching down on you at all times and cherish every memory you have with him. he will forever be in your heart. i hope you are able to find a way to celebrate your birthday and do something special for yourself. you deserve it pretty lady!

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  31. Happy Birthday Jenn. This post......I have tears rolling down my face. The letters. That is the sweetest thing I've ever heard of. He is watching over you like I'm sure he has done every day of your life. You have an amazing family and support system. Love you girl.

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  32. Beautiful post! I'm very sorry for your loss. He will forever be in your heart, watching from above. I cannot imagine how difficult things must be for you right now especially with it being your birthday. However, you were blessed to have your father in your life, many people do not even have that. May you find comfort in your beloved memories of your father.

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  33. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your dad, your post brought me to tears this morning as it was so thoughtful and heartfelt. Prayers for you and your family as you grieve but rejoice knowing that he is happy and healthy and watching over all of you.

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  34. Jenn, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad. What a beautiful post written in tribute to him, it brought me to tears reading through it. You can feel the love you have for him and I know he must have felt that too! Praying for comfort for you and your family!

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  35. I read this blog because of your comment on my Stephanie's blog about my dad. You share his birthday. I love that we will
    See them on the other side happy and healthy and that they really are still with us! Beautiful that he crossed peacefully in his sleep with you and your mom there. I'm sure you can feel his hugs and his love especially today. Happy birthday! Love. Steph's. Momma

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  36. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm in tears over here and so glad you were able to be there with him. He is healed and that is the best thing to remember. Sending lots of prayers for your family. It will probably always be a hard week but he is at peace.Jess at Just Jess

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  37. Sending you lots of *hugs* and prayers sweet friend! I hope you can enjoy your birthday today, but I understand how emotional this one will be. My grandfather passed away the day before my birthday a few years ago which made it so hard to celebrate. Hoping you can find some peace and happiness on this special day of yours <3

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  38. I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending lots of love your way.

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  39. I'm so very sorry for your loss. My thoughts & prayers are with you and your family. I hope you have a Happy Birthday even though I can't imagine how much pain and heartbreak you're going through. I hope you and your family find peace and comfort knowing that your dad is no longer in any pain. My deepest sympathy to you all.

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  40. Holding you in my prayers, girl. Yes, your dad is now strong again and healthy and healed. A big hug to you as I hope that you can find comfort in knowing he is in a better place, but of course missing him none the less. I hope you have a lovely birthday and find some peace that another angel is looking down on you today. xx

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  41. This just made me cry. I am so sorry to hear about your father! My condolences! Happy Birthday to you and I know he is watching over you today from a better place! xo

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  42. I am so very sorry for your loss! I'll be thinking about you and your family over the coming days and weeks.

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  43. Jenn, I am so very sorry for your loss this week. You are very lucky to have shared so many memories with him, and it is so obvious how much he absolutely loves you. I know that it will be such a hard birthday today, but I do hope you enjoy it and have a nice weekend.

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  44. Huge hugs, many happy birthday wishes, and lots of peace to your heart as it heals from this enormous loss. I am so glad he's peaceful and strong again. Love to you and your family, and a wonderful birthday weekend - he sounds like he'd want you to have one!

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  45. I couldn't hold back the tears while reading this. My heart goes out to you and your family. May your happy memories comfort you at this time and bring you peace. Happy birthday!

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  46. Tears in my eyes. My heart hurts for you but I'm also happy that you had such an amazing father and mentor. I'm sure this was not the birthday you hoped for but I hope you can find time to enjoy it knowing that your dad no longer has to suffer. Hugs and biggest HAPPY birthday wishes to you sweet lady!! xoxo

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  47. I am so sorry for your loss - I was in tears reading this, you can tell how much you love each other. I hope you are able to have a good birthday, you are in my thoughts - send you hugs! xx

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  48. Just found your blog. What a beautiful testament to your Dad. I know you find this birthday to be a bittersweet one and I am sure your Dad is looking down on you and wants you to be happy.

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  49. I am so sorry, sweet girl. I am sobbing right there with you! I pray you find peace and comfort among your heartache the next few days, weeks and months.

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  50. I am so so so sorry for your loss. I am glad you are finding peace in knowing he is whole and healthy again. I will keep your family in my prayers for comfort during this time.

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  51. Oh Jenn, I am so so sorry friend. I wish so much I could give you a hug right now. This post is just beautiful and I am in tears. Your Dad was incredibly lucky to have you, and you incredibly lucky to have him. I know he will be looking down on you from now on, and I'm sure he is so proud of you. I'm sending you my love and prayers.. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, even in the middle of a very sad week. xoxoxo

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  52. I am so sorry for your loss!!! You look so beautiful in your wedding photos and he looks so happy in them sharing that day with you! At least you got to spend a good amount of time with him during his final days. I am sending good thoughts your way to you and your family, and I wanted to wish you a happy birthday!!!

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  53. I'm in tears for you, Jenn. I can't imagine what you must be going through, but I hope that you find peace and comfort soon. I hope that you are somehow able to take some time to celebrate yourself today on your special day. I'm sure that your dad would have wanted that for you. Prayers for you and your family.

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  54. Jenn, I cried so hard reading this post. I can't even imagine what you are going through. You are a very strong woman to write this. And you inspired me to write my parents each a letter that I can share with them at a later time. What you wrote about your dad is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. And enjoy your birthday. Your dad is with you in your heart and watching over you.

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  55. Oh, Jenn. I am so sorry. This post is such an amazing tribute to his life and the love he shared when he was here. Your in my thoughts and know that I am praying for you and your family!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  56. I teared just reading this. I wish I could give you a hug, I'm so sorry pretty lady. But he isxo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily smiling down on you and wishing you the happiest of birthdays!

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  57. I got so emotional reading this post - what a beautiful tribute to your dad! I'm so sorry for your loss and I know words don't heal the pain but I will continue to pray that y'all find comfort in this. Have a wonderful birthday - your dad would want you to enjoy it!

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  58. Oh sweet friend, I am so so sorry! We lost my dad when I was much younger so I know that there are very few words that can comfort you right now so sending you so many prayers, hugs, thoughts and love to you your mom and MG - today and in the days and weeks to come. Such a sweet post and an honor to him - it’s so special that you and your mom were able to be there with him in that peaceful setting for all of you.

    I hope you do some special things for yourself today - a very happy birthday to you!

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  59. Oh Jenn, I know there is nothing I can say that will make you feel better, but I'm just so sorry. Sending you and your family so much love and so many prayers. Please know that I'm here for you if you need anything at all. Hoping your birthday is going well, I know your dad would want that for you today! Xoxo

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  60. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. Your post was so sweet and thoughtful that I found myself crying through all of your happy moments together. What sweet father/daughter memories you two share.

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  61. Jenn I am so sorry for your loss. May you cherish wonderful memories with your dad even in this time of heartache and find comfort in your family and friends and knowing your dad is at peace. I really enjoy reading your blog and wish you all the best on your birthday today too.

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  62. Oh Jenn, I cannot imagine your loss...but I'll be praying for you and your entire family. You wrote this so beautifully, it brought tears to my eyes. Happy birthday pretty girl! I know your Dad is so proud of who you are! :)

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  63. I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my mother 8 years ago and it's been really hard, to put it mildly. But the point is, I understand the pain and grief that you're feeling. And celebrating any holiday or special day the first time without your dad is going to be ridiculously hard. What got me through was picturing how my mom would have been on those days. It didn't fix the hurt but it made me smile, and that's a start.

    If you ever want to talk, please feel free. My inbox is always open.

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  64. I am so sorry to hear of your loss Jenn. You write so beautifully and I'm glad you got to spend his last moments as he wanted them. Look after yourself and I hope the memories you have give you some comfort.

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  65. Jenn I am so so sorry for your loss. This is a beautifully written post and a moving tribute to your father. Sending love and light to you and your family in this trying time

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  66. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine how losing your dad must feel. Your post was absolutely beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. I am so so sorry!

    And happy birthday--I'm sure it must feel bittersweet with your dad's passing but I hope you are still able to celebrate your day.

    Even though I've never met you, I really want to give you a big hug! :/ :(

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  67. Thinking of you! I love your positivity through all of the tears. Stay strong. He's in a better place now.

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  68. I am so sorry for your loss, but I hope that as you celebrate this new year of your life, you feel so surrounded my his legacy and the memories you have together.

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  69. I am so incredibly sorry to hear of your loss. Your strength is inspiring, and your father most certainly will be watching over you always, as I'm sure he was on your birthday. Thinking of you! Xo

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  70. I'm so sorry you're going through this. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family, Jenn.

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  71. I have tears rolling down my face as I read this post. You have gained the most beautiful angel that will watch over you and your family forever. Sending hugs and prayers to you during this difficult time! Xo, Stephanie

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  72. oh hun. I am so, so sorry. my thoughts are with you and your family, if there is anything i can do, please let me know. hugs girl xxxx

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  73. This post is so beautiful and touching. I'm so sorry for your loss, but I love that you know he's looking over you. Love you, friend! xo, Champagne&Suburbs

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  74. Finally catching up on some blog reading and sobbing here. I am so sorry for your loss Jenn. He sounds like a wonderful man. I remember my mom's passing too and it will be three years this month. There will always be a missing piece in our hearts for our parents. No matter how old we are. I see you are surrounded my people who love you and it does make the days bearable. Blessings!

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  75. I don't know how I missed this post, but I just read it now and have tears rolling down my cheeks. This is so beautiful, Jenn. I know your dad is proud of you and is thankful that you were there with him for his last precious days and hours. You're still in my prayers <3

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  76. I am so sorry for your loss Jenn! It is so sweet that you made sure that he knew that he was loved greatly. He was lucky to have a daughter as amazing as you are! I hope you are doing okay! My thoughts are with you and your family!

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