I can't believe that this day marks the first full year since you've been gone.
365 days ago... I watched with pride as you looked into my mothers eyes and told her how much you loved her, before you slipped away. Knowing how much that meant to her, it was an experience I will never forget. In spite of having to adjust to life without you, she moves forward through her pain and lonesomeness and takes care of her daily business in convicted fashion. She may not feel it everyday, but she's still a very strong lady, and you would be proud of her. I know I am.
365 days ago... I listened to my brothers cries, as they wept with grief over the man who provided them with the love, strength, honor and discipline that molded them into men. I know you and I had a wonderful relationship, but the bond between a father and son is different and can compare to no other. Like mom, they are doing their best to move along in their lives, but your absence is sometimes unbearable. I feel for my brothers and wish I could help them through their sorrow, but just as it is with mom... we all have to endure our loss as individuals, as well as a united loving family.
365 days ago... My heart was breaking for your grandkids. I cried along with them while their young and tender hearts tried to understand the pain of life and death. What would they do now... without their loving Gpa?
365 days ago... I looked around the room and saw an amazing thing. Your home was filled... with crying people. Your brothers and sister and a handful of nieces and nephews all shared our grief as we said our goodbyes and whispered promises of seeing you again... in heaven. It was a moment that would make any daughter proud with the fact that her father touched and loved so many.
365 days ago... I cried for you... and still do.
I went riding yesterday and I devoted all my miles to you. I thought about our Father Daughter date nights, or the times you tried to teach me how to pitch a softball with "some english", the rides we shared on your Honda, and the day you gave me away to the only other man I would call my hero. I even had one of those split second "freeze frame" moments in life that only happens when God puts you in the right place at the right time. I knew as soon as it happened... you were riding with me.
365 days ago... you said goodbye.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm glad this "first" year is over. Holidays and birthdays came and went, and each one brought with it a renewed since of pain as we realized you were not here to share them with us. In spite of it all, we moved along Dad, just as you would have wanted us to.
I wish I could tell you the Chicago Bears made it to the Super Bowl, but no cigar. It's a good thing you didn't have to see the game that sealed their fate... it probably would have pissed you right off (at least in Heaven, the Bears win all their games!). You've got a couple more grandkids graduating from High School this year... and I know you'll be smiling down upon them on their special day. You've never missed one yet, so I don't suppose you'll start now. Even though they might not see you... they know you'll be there... in spirit.
One last note... your son-in-law wishes you were here to bust his chops. He figures your grinning from ear to ear as you look down upon us and see Bill Elliott starting the 2011 Daytona 500... in a CHEVY!
Well dad... I'm gonna let you go now. I just wanted to talk to you for a while and tell you that I love you. Hopefully, the next 365 days will be better as we continue to do our best to make you proud of us. I love you so much and I miss you even more than words can express.
Your memory will live on in us forever.
Your loving daughter...