On June 3rd, 2015, my life forever changed. The most important man in my life left his earthly body and took a huge part of me with him. I no longer view the world the same. I am no longer the happy-go-lucky optimistic and often naive girl who only wanted to see the good in people. My rose-colored glasses are gone as I have had to face the harsh realities that my guiding light, my role model, my father was never coming back.
I know now that my relationship with my parents is not “normal.” Even though I have lived on the other side of the country for almost 20 years (with a few roaming years in other states), I remained close to my parents, talking to both of them several times a day, every day. I still expect my Dad to answer the phone when I call.
The last eight, almost nine months, have been beyond difficult and I have lost a lot of friends along the way. It is funny how I was raised to be a loyal person, always there for the people I care about when they need me. But when I hit a difficult road, the majority disappear. “Oh, I am going to take you out to lunch every day.” Haven’t seen or talked to that so-called friend since June. “Why are you still so sad?” That was said to me weeks after my father’s passing. I even found out that someone who claimed to be my best friend since college was asked to be by my side when my family called to give me the news and she told my sister that she just couldn’t do that. She couldn’t be there for me during a moment that she knew would be the worst moment of my life.
So my life has changed. I cherish the friends who have been there for me–they are my extended family. They understand that every day is a struggle. I just want to go to work and go home. I want to talk to my Mom all the time. I talk about my Dad all the time. I cry all the time. I want to be alone more. I am confused about my life goals. I am lost. I hate being asked, “How are you?” No one wants the real answer to that question. I will lie and say that I am fine when I really am not fine. I am far from fine. I am simply surviving. I am going through the motions. Everything is an effort as I try to figure out my life without my father.
I know many don’t understand my attachment to my father. I am his mini-me. He taught me how to install a garbage disposal when I was 3. He loved movies and cameras. He would project 8mm movies and cartoons on a large screen for us when we were kids. And every time he bought a new camera, I would get his old camera. I became a Star Wars fan because of my Dad. I went to film school because of my Dad. I became a photographer because of my Dad. I worked with veterans and General Motors because of my Dad. When I was in college he wrote me letters about how I was living out his dreams. Now that he is gone, I feel lost. I don’t know who I am without him.