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1. The phone call that your father has unexpectedly passed.
2. Dropping the phone and sitting on the floor at work to cry.
3. Holding your sister’s hand on the way to the hospital.
4. Wondering where your mother is and who is with her.
5. Thinking of your baby sister who called him everyday.
6. Knowing your family will never be intact again.
7. Hugging your mother in the grief room and lying when you tell her we will be okay.
8. The awkward feeling of sharing a personal moment with a nurse who is a stranger.
9. Appreciation when the hospital security guard says he feels for my family.
10. The need to be in the last place he was before he died.
11. Sadness when I found the receipt from his daily stop for McDonald’s coffee, and the amazement that the employee couldn’t know he would not return.
12. Anger inside when greeted at the Starbucks drive-thru with ‘It’s a great day, how can I help you?’
13. More resentment when shopping for clothes for his burial and greeted with ‘Are you shopping for a special occasion?’
14. Emptiness during every FIRST thereafter: First Christmas he missed, his first birthday, first time I couldn’t call him to share good news.
15. 4 years later: The knowledge that I had an amazing dad and never believed I would one day agree that ‘time heals all wounds.’

How I hated that phrase back then, yet believe in it now.

Read an earlier letter to my father here.

photo credit: Leo Reynolds via photopin cc

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