What is your favorite season? Does is spark a particular memory?
I love fall. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t my favorite season. Changing leaves, starting a new school year, celebrating my birthday — my favorite holiday 🙂 — and football. Yep, fall was my favorite season — until the year it wasn’t.
It was 1998, I had just turned 21 and my dad died.
It wasn’t a shock or a surprise. We had plenty of time to say our goodbyes, to give one last hug, or to watch one more football game (or cooking show) together. The thing is — it is never enough.
Technically, I was an adult. Truthfully, I was just a child.
I had so much of my life ahead of me. I am forever grateful for the years we had and the memories I now hold; but, there was (is) so much he missed — my college graduation, my engagement, my wedding, the birth of each of my three kids — just to name a few.
I was young, but my brother was only 16. I really can’t imagine.
Little Man is six, the same age my brother was when we knew we wouldn’t have long enough. My father was brave, he was strong, and he was stubborn. But my mother was stronger. They didn’t let us worry. They didn’t let us live in fear. They weren’t weepy. We went on with our lives — we made great memories, we laughed and we cried, but we lived.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from my dad (well, my parents) is that no matter what you don’t stop fighting and you don’t stop living. You deal with the doctors or the treatments and then you come home and you live.
My dad lived. He didn’t act like he was in a fight for his life. If you had known him then, you probably wouldn’t have guessed he was sick. He didn’t let his illness define him or control him. He lived until his last breath and even that was years after doctors told him he wouldn’t.
I miss him, but I know he lives on through me and now through my children. I’m just as stubborn. I’m a little bossy. I like order and discipline in my life. Little Man has my father’s strength and determination. Cricket is brave and just as stubborn. Peanut has his eyes — pale blue like the sky. My kids may not know him the way that I wish they could have, but they carry him inside.
Fall is still my favorite season. It is the time of year when I think of my father the most and all I learned from him. I miss you daddy.
Thanks for listening, Natalie.
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