Friday, December 13, 2013

I have a feeling it's never going to really feel like Christmas again...

I HATE being sad every day, I hate that it's one of the happiest and most joyful times of the year and all I can do is be sad. I haven't had my heart feel light since before September, it just sits heavy in my chest. Sometimes I get so upset on the inside, but I've learned how to not show an ounce of it on the outside, that I completely stop breathing without noticing. Last year at Christmas time, Daddy was losing a lot of his strength when it came to walking and sitting up in his wheelchair for long periods of time, so he laid in bed a lot. But we still put up our tree and decorations and made the living room where his hospital bed was, feel like Christmas. On Christmas morning, he already had his favorite "BahHumBug" shirt on, and we just gave him his presents to unwrap in bed. He was smiling and cracking sarcastic jokes, and even sat up to hug me, though I know he did it through excruciating pain. I think he knew that it was going to be his last Christmas with us, because he usually would get Momma a funny desk calendar, a couple good books, and some jewelry for Christmas, but this year he wanted to get her something more. In November, he asked me to help him do some research on the Kindles, something Momma had been wanting for a very, very long time. My Daddy was a frugal as they get, he NEVER spent this much $ on any of us for presents, but he did last year for Momma. When she opened that Kindle Fire she was so happy, Daddy started to tear up, but I was the only one who saw it so I didn't bring it up, he never liked to be the center of attention. I think that was the hardest part for him about having cancer, he hated being the center of our attention, and he hated being a "burden" to us even more. I put that word in quotations because it was the word he chose to describe it, and every time he would apologize to me for being a burden, I would quickly correct him and tell him he was never a burden, that I loved him and me taking care of him, of all of us taking care of him, was just us showing that love. I don't think I could ever be as strong as he was, to fight through pain just to get up from bed with his walker and get to the bathroom (the entire 22 months, he only ever used a bedpan twice), to lay in bed day after day, with nothing to do but watch Netflix and talk to me when I could be there (I tried to be there by his side every day for at least a couple of hours) get himself in and out of the car to the doctors in Baltimore City once or twice a month, and at the end... to fight through full neck and then body spasms, to let us help him fall to the ground when he could not possibly walk anymore, to let firefighters carry him into bed... to go through nursing homes 4 separate times in the worst and most disgusting conditions, just to get stronger and come home to us... he could have given up and given in at any point in time and I wouldn't of been mad at him, but he never did, never. Even the last hours that he was conscious, I sat at his side for 4 hours while Momma and my brother were asleep in the hospital room, he couldn't form any words but he tried to so hard, SO hard, we think he had suffered a stroke or even two in his sleep so it was really hard for him to make his body do what it wanted to, but I had both of my hand wrapped around his, and every couple of minutes I would feel him squeeze. I let him know that I could feel it and that I was so incredibly proud of him for trying to talk to me and that I was sooooooooooo sorry that I couldn't understand what he was trying to tell me. I just kept talking to him and I told him that I would take care of Momma and Brian, he nodded, I told him I would make sure they would be okay, he nodded, I told him that he was the best Daddy a girl could ever ask for and that I loved him so much, he mouthed "love you" and kept nodding his head. This went on for four hours, he had been asleep for almost 2 days and randomly woke up at 11pm after Momma and Brian had fallen asleep. I was up and wasn't going to let him be awake alone. His favorite show, NCIS, was still on a marathon in the background and I just kept talking to him and letting him try to talk to me... I even pretended like I knew what he was saying sometimes just to make him feel better. Finally I was just so tired, I told him that it was okay if he couldn't fight any longer, if he wanted to die, it would be okay, we would all be okay. I told him that when he got to Heaven that he needed to say hi to Grandma and Big Al for me, that he needed to find Pa and Nana and his cousin Ronnie and tell them all about all the hard work he had done trying to beat this cancer. That he better track down Thurman Munson, Lou Gehrig, Mantle, and the Babe so that he could pick their brains about the game he loved and maybe have a game of catch.  I told him that dying didn't mean that the cancer had won, it meant that he had won, that he was going out on his terms and fuck kidney cancer for ever trying to make it any different. That I just loved him so much, that I always would... I told him I was sorry, but that I couldn't stay awake any longer, he nodded. I kissed his head all over, his cheeks, his hand in mine, and I laid my head down on his lap to fall asleep. I woke up a few hours later, and his hand was still gripping mine tight, but he was asleep. He never woke up again, and 2 days later he passed away. I am so grateful to have had that night with my Daddy, for us to have been able to say goodbye, I am just so incredibly grateful for that...

But now, every time I think of doing anything Christmas related, I think of that conversation and I can picture his face in the front of my mind trying to talk to me... mouthing "love you" and my body immediately tries to breakdown and cry.... I won't let that happen, I'm my father's daughter and we know how to keep ourselves together, we know how to go on fighting, we know how to stand strong. It's just that this is my first Christmas with my husband... it should be happy, but right now if I were truly and completely happy, it would mean that I wasn't thinking of Daddy rationally... I should be thinking of him this time of year even more than any other, I should be mourning him and I should have this heavy heart... and if that means that it will never truly feel like Christmas again, than that/s okay. It really is.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Wedding Weekend

This past week, I married the man of my dreams.

Wednesday was our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner... it was also my parents' 26th wedding anniversary and that day made it 2 months since Daddy left us. It was very hard, but my family made it as fun as we possibly could. Thursday was Thanksgiving, I got to spend it with half Daddy's family and half Momma's family and it was fantastic! My family and friends know exactly how to keep our spirits up and never stop laughing, I know that Daddy was looking down on us and deep belly laughing right along with us.

But Friday, I'm surprised I cracked a smile at all. My wedding day, it's supposed to be the happiest day of my life, but all I could do was tear up and choke on my own words. I woke up and had breakfast with my family, then went with my cousinsister and Momma to get our hair and makeup done. When I got back to the Inn, I put my gameface on and said a prayer to Daddy, my guardian Angel. I prayed for him to be with me all day, and for him to hold my hand, to give me the strength to go on, to enjoy my day.

As I went to get dressed, my almost hubby had left me a present. He got my a charm bracelet with two charms on it... one with two wedding rings on it, and one that read "Daddy's Little Girl." I almost started balling, but I had to keep my makeup on!!! I teared up a bit, and showed all my bridesmaids and my Momma the bracelet. I got into my dress, with lots of help(!!!), and we went down to get into the limo.As the bagpiper kept playing, all my girls went into the church, my Momma fixed my veil and kissed my face all over, and I hid in the bathroom (yeah... about that...too many things to say about that for the internet to handle), Then, my Uncle and I got ready to walk down the aisle... "you ready to do this kiddo?" ... He took my right arm, and I could feel a squeeze on my left hand, but no one was there... it was Daddy. I knew that the organist was playing, but all I could hear was my Daddy singing, "There she is... Miss Americaaaaaa." I just bit my lip to stop myself from crying, and my uncle had to slow me down as we walked down the aisle, I knew that if I made eye contact with anyone that I was going to start sobbing. My uncle lifted my veil, kissed me, and handed me to my almost husband. Throughout the whole ceremony, I kept looking at my bridesmaids and my Momma, trying to keep myself from just completely breaking down. But, my brother did it... he got up in front of the whole congregation to recite the Prayer of the Faithful... and as he got to the end... "For all of our family members and friends that are celebrating with us in Heaven today,.... especially Dan Mulcahy, grandfather of the bride, and Gregory Lehnert, father of the bride, who have passed away this year, let us pray." He broke down, his face turned bright red and he barely got the words out through the tears... but he did it, for me.... he looked over at me and I was done... tears running down my cheeks... but good tears... happy tears. My Daddy was shining over me the entire time...Then, our Deacon finished the ceremony, we did it... reality still hasn't hit me yet... I'm the luckiest woman in the world, to have my family that lift me up everyday, my friends that support me in all that I do, and my husband, my rock and prince charming<3

And oh so lucky to be my Daddy's daughter, to have had him to raise me and make me laugh the hardest I've ever laughed, to teach me what life and true love is all about, to instill the importance of being honest no matter what, and of course, to wear pinstripes on my heart.

I miss you more and more each day, until we meet again Daddy....