I grieved you once; it took me years. You held my heart more than anyone ever had, and showed me a life I never knew I wanted.
You gave me our daughter. The most perfect girl who I’ll never deserve; she is the only one who could show me a love greater than one I had for you. And then I lost you.
You were still here, but YOU were gone. You weren’t the man I knew, not the man I loved. I refused to believe and accept this loss for a long time, but eventually I started the process of grief.
Amongst the grief, I always held onto the belief that you – the real you – would come back to us. You would be the dad I knew you were, and see the person I became for our daughter and be thankful – proud. I swallowed that thought often, but it never fully digested. It was always the lump in my throat that kept you with me.
Grieving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever done… until you died. I thought I had let you go. I thought I’d said goodbye. But, when I got the call that said you would never return, the lump in my throat turned into a cinder block in my heart, stopping me entirely – drowning me. The permanence of our daughter never knowing you – the man who gave her a love for nature, animals, rocks… a love for imaginative stories and a healthy dose of pride. The gift of perfectly curly locks and a way of peaceful sleeping that I only saw in your face before she came. All the little things that she shares with her daddy, that she’ll only know through stories. The permanance of my own selfish dreams being stolen for good; dreams of you coming back, and loving me again. Dreams of you and I laughing the way we used to, having the family and the home we talked of when you rested your hand on me to feel her kicks.
The second grieving started almost three years ago, and it feels just the same.
If I could talk to you now, I would say I’m sorry for my impatience. I would tell you how proud you made me in the months before you left the world. I would tell you how whole I felt during our last conversation, looking at the photo you sent me of the stars. Lastly, I would tell you that I’ve always loved you, and always will.