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On my heart <3

MaryJo Nally Father's Day keeping it real missing dad

On  my heart....Father's Day is near.  This photo has only been shared with family and close friends.  I'm sharing this photo today because it's real.

You see this is the last photo of my dad, taken only a few hours before he passed.  Emotions...this photo brings them all to the surface!  So many raw emotions....it immediately takes me to the pit of my stomach pain.  Many that have lost very close loved ones have experienced this pain.  All emotion immediately drops to your stomach! 

Yes, I've lost loved ones prior to my fathers death but the pain is so different.  And I never realized the pain would be so noticeably different.

When the pit of the stomach pain subsides, a small smile appears across my face.  There's a story behind that monogrammed hat on dad's head.  That was a hat I had from the shop that was incorrectly monogrammed.  So instead of throwing a perfectly good hat in the trash, I wore it....A LOT!  And who really looks to see if your monogram gear is correct?!?!? (My sister does...that hat drove her nuts when I wore it...lol!)  My sisters and I arrived in the early morning hours at the hospital, we walked in dad's room and his eyes got really big.  He looked at me and said, "Is that a hat?" (Dad wore lots of hats)  I said, "Yeah."  He said, "Can I wear it, my head is freezing."  So of course I handed it over and snapped a photo. (thank God for cellphone cameras).  Not knowing it would be the last photo I would ever take of my dad.  I still have the hat........can't wear it......but will keep forever!

And a life lesson was learned....take photos even in bad times!  Honestly two of my most memorable photos were during hard, sad times in life.

This photo then reminds me of the so called "out of body" feeling that came across my whole self when they said, "he's gone".  The whaling sob was uncontrollable.  I couldn't breathe.  A feeling I never thought I would experience.  My lovely sisters even advised (after calming down) that I was really loud...lol!  It truly was that painful!

Grief....it's complicated!  You quickly learn not everyone grieves the same way.  Is that hard to accept......YES!  And you learn along  the way your way is okay and "normal" for you.  You're gonna be mad, sad, happy, and sometimes all of those are within minutes of each other.  You feel crazy....but you're not!  It's the thing in life we call grief!

I learned to cling to others that had lost a parent.  And unfortunately I had several close friends that had been through the loss.  I wouldn't be this far without them.  They helped "keep it real."  Honestly, you don't want to hear...he's in a better place, cherish all the memories......but others that haven't experienced don't know what to say.  I get it....I didn't either, until now!  In a very unique way God blesses us even in death.  As time passes I've had some friends,  acquaintances that sadly lost their dad after mine.  It's been a blessing to me to reach out to them and let them know their pain, their feelings are normal.  I have been able to "keep it real" for others just for others did for me.  And even though it doesn't take away their pain, it passes on the blessings!



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