I wear his necklace and sometimes I spray his cologne on my pillow. Sometimes I walk into his closet and hug enough of his XXL long sleeve, collared shirts so that it feels big enough to be him. I try to remember exactly what the hugs felt like... and I keep wishing I had hugged him longer.

I sit outside and look at his backyard at the various fruit trees, shrubs and flowers he planted that surround the entire perimeter of the property and I talk to him. Or I sit on the rocking chair in his bedroom and talk to him there. Sometimes I say "hi dad" out loud just so I can pretend to hear him say "Hi Honey" back. And I'll sit there and let the tears fall, sometimes slowly and sometimes all at once. And I just wait until it's over.

It comes in waves like that. I try not to stop it and I try not to prolong it.... but just deal with the sadness exactly as it is. It usually lasts for 10 minutes or so and then I get up and keep chugging along.


I've also been thinking about that movie Ghost a lot. I think of the scene where Demi is sitting in the room crying, and Patrick Swayze is standing there watching her but she doesn't know it. And he tries to communicate with her but she's too caught up in her sadness to notice.... and eventually as her awareness of his presence increases, she's able to see the signs more and more....

So I'm practicing that... being open and receptive and not stuck inside the sadness. (Now I just need to find a Whoopi Goldberg and I'll be set ;))

So anyways, I guess I'm writing this to say "I'm okay" and that I'm learning a lot... about myself, about my dad, about death, about my own beliefs, and my own sadness. And I'd encourage everyone to try your best to make your relationships with your family as solid as you can.

Don't hold grudges. Apologize. Hug longer. Put away your phones. Have dinner all together. Ask new questions - pretend you don't know them as well as you think because you probably don't. Make the phone call. Take that trip. Send them a gift. Send a text. Write a letter. And frame the pics.... because I think the hardest thing about the death of a loved one is NOT the death itself, it is the feeling of regret, missed opportunities and wishing you had said things that you never found the courage to say. And it doesn't need to be that way.