"Life always offers you a second chance, it's called tomorrow...the past cannot be changed, forgotten, edited, or can only be accepted."

Friday, August 9, 2013


“Trying to figure out what to say today was a major struggle for me. Many times I rewrote what I wanted to say, and it all seemed fake. I wanted to say something that would honor my father and leave a positive message. I’m a writer by nature, but every story I thought of didn’t seem to fit. I found myself embellishing things, and on occasion, changing the story to make it sound better.
                You all know that my father and I had a very strained and complicated relationship. It was hard for me to explain it through any of the stories without saying horrible things about him. And despite it all…there was one lesson my father taught me that really stood out as I thought about all this. He taught me very clearly over the years, that I was never to lie. So in honor of him…I will not sit here today and lie to all of you.
                There are some things my father taught me and showed me that can never be replicated. He loved the outdoors, and 95% of my childhood memories are outside. Whether it was swinging on the swing he made me out of a tree branch, or sucking the honey out of honeysuckle flowers…there are some things that will never leave my memory…and that I hope to pass on to my own children. He gave me an appreciation for simple beauty, the kind of beauty you can only see as the sun sets over the lake, or as a river cascades over a cliff in the woods.
                He showed me how music can shape your life, and change your mood no matter the situation you find yourself in. To this day, any James Taylor song or the sound of an acoustic guitar can calm me down in an instant. It helps me think, it helps me remember, and it helps me heal. I still remember falling asleep to the sounds of bands practicing in our basement, or him playing his guitar in the kitchen. He would write songs for me like “Ant Highway” or “Down By the Bayou” that I wish I still remembered the words to.
                He also taught me some important lessons though, whether he meant to or not. Some of which were incredibly hard to learn. My father taught me that no matter how hard you try, you can not change other people. He taught me that you can’t always count on those close to you, and sometimes you have to be your own strength. He showed me first hand, that I can make it through anything with enough faith in myself…even if it seems like an impossible heartbreaking situation. But most of all, he taught me that it’s alright to make mistakes…and that no one…even parents…are perfect.
                Overall, my father gave me a lot. Experiences, appreciation for certain aspects of life, and a lifetime of memories. But by far the most important…my father gave me 3 of the most amazing gifts I could have ever received. He gave me my siblings, who alone have inspired me to be a better person and a role model. Because of my father…I became a big sister, an experience which has easily been the most impactful on my life…and has been the biggest miracle I’ve ever witnessed.
                I will be the first to admit that my father and I had some major differences in opinion. I rarely agreed with things he did, and he wasn’t always a good dad. But one thing that can be said about my father…was that he tried. He wasn’t ideal…but he truly loved being a dad. For many years, I was his passion. To this day, I’m still in contact with many of his friends…and the one thing they always say…is how much my father loved being my dad.
                I truly believe he passed that appreciation and love for parenthood on to me. I look forward to having my own children, and teaching them all of the things he taught me. It won’t be easy and there will be struggles…but I look forward to the day I can show them everything that he showed me. The hidden springs tucked away in the woods, the swimming holes under huge waterfalls…and the private beaches along the lakeside. Just a few days ago, my boyfriend and I took his daughter to a spot my father showed me when I was her age. Watching the joy in her face as she swam in the water and caught frogs reminded me of the days there with my father years ago. He would slowly lift up rocks and show me how to catch crayfish without them snapping at my fingers. It’s those memories that I try to remember and want to pass on.
                When my dad passed away it caught us all remarkably off guard. It happened too soon and brought on emotions that I didn’t even know I had. I wrote him a letter a few days after he passed and left him with a few promises:
                Dear Dad,
                                These are the hardest words I’ve ever had to write. I pray that you heard the words I said to you over the phone on Tuesday. I hope you are in peace now, and I hope you can look down and be proud of the people your children are becoming. I hope you know that despite all we’ve been through, I love you. And when I say that, I mean it to the deepest ends possible. I pray that in your head I will always be the bouncy, blue eyes, blonde haired, little girl with crazy curls.
                                I promise to see you in every sunset. I promise to show my kids and your kids the waterfalls, creeks, and horse barns we used to go to. I promise to use the good, and the bad I learned from you, to be a better parent to the children I hope to someday have. I promise to think of you every time I hear a guitar, and promise to never stop finding comfort in music. But most of all, I promise to never stop loving you. Even when I’m mad and hurt, I will never forget how much I loved you. “

That girl is gone now

Well…it’s finally time to get back to this. I’ve been out of it for a few months…traveling with my love, and just trying to get things to slow down. Now that I’m home every day, still looking for work…it seems like the prime time to get back into a writing groove. I’m not sure where to start…the adventures of Nick and I can be read on I haven’t posted them yet…but will be sure to soon. But as anyone who reads this blog knows…this is the blog for my dad, and it’s all about him.
                We finally had my dad’s funeral last month. It’s been almost a year since he passed, but it took some time to get the family together in the same place. It was an experience that I knew would be hard…but still wasn’t quite prepared for. It’s still bothering me a little bit…and I find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about him. I have these really vivid dreams where I feel like I’m talking to him, and then something startles me awake. It takes a few minutes sometimes to realize that he’s not really there, and to come back to reality.
                But it’s over now I suppose. Recovery from everything that happened with him certainly isn’t…and probably never will be. But there’s no more questioning everything with him, no more suspense in waiting to say goodbye, and no more having to worry about keeping a family together. My father wasn’t the only family member I lost at that funeral…and that’s really unfortunate.
                I have spent years being told that I’m less of a person because I cut my father out of my life. I have been lied to, manipulated, and hurt by people that are supposed to be “loving family”. Unfortunately I had to learn the hard way…just how deceitful they were. But I have learned…and now that my father is gone, I really have no reason to force some fake relationship because it’s “family”.
                Family isn’t blood…and I fully believe that now. Yes, there are blood relationships, but that doesn’t make someone family. You don’t lie to family, you don’t trick family, and you don’t purposely hurt family. You love them unconditionally. And I have to say, there are a lot of people in this world that I consider closer to me than my actual “family”. As for my mom’s side…that’s how a family should be. They support each other, they love no matter what, and they forgive. They accept everyone, and only want the best for everyone involved in any situation. They tell the truth…even if it isn’t something you want to hear. They pick each other up when something goes wrong, and they do it with full support of one another. Sadly, none of those are things I can say about my dad’s side. Other than a select few people that seem to have escaped that toxic environment…I don’t trust any of them.
                So the funeral was a big day for me. It was the final goodbye to my father, the final closure that I needed. But it was also a goodbye to that side of me. The side of me that was damaged beyond repair…and that had to watch her back around those that were supposed to love her. That girl is gone now…and so are the people that tried so hard to keep her around.