Losing a Father

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Losing a Father

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These past few weeks have been the hardest weeks of my life. On February 21, 2019, my step dad died. In the past two years I’ve lost a lot of people. In March of 2017 my grandma Daily died, in May of 2018 my grandma Trusty died, in October of 2018 my grandma Beard died, and now my step dad is gone too. I’ve had to grieve the loss of all my grandparents in these two years. Knowing that I’d never get a birthday card from any of my grandmas again or that they won’t be at my wedding or that my children will never get to know them is so hard. But grieving the loss of a parent is a different kind of horrible.

My mom married my step dad when I was just three years old. I don’t know life without him. Although he is legally my step father, he is just as real a father as my dad. At the viewing, all sorts of people came up to me and told me how sorry they were for my loss. It felt all too familiar since we just did this for my grandma four months back. A lot of it is just meeting people you don’t know, receiving a hug and an “I’m sorry for your loss.” It got old and exhausting to the point where I would just drown the words out. The viewing was the first time I heard my mom be referred to as a widow; that was weird and it felt wrong. Something my step dad’s sister said to me really got to me.

“I know you were close and I’m so sorry that this happened to you, especially at such a young age. Mike was a great person and took you and your sisters in as his own, but you were his little girl.” She didn’t say the typical things; she said what I needed to hear and I appreciate that so much.

The funeral was weird. It felt as if we shouldn’t be saying these things about my step dad, not yet anyway. People referring to him and saying “was” instead of “is” doesn’t feel right; it’s even angering sometimes. He was just here, fine, well, and happy. It doesn’t feel real. It all happened so quickly and out of nowhere. I never thought I’d be one of those people who loses a parent so early in his/her life, but here I am. People ask me if I’m okay a lot but it feels like a question I can’t answer. One minute I’ll be fine and the next I’ll break down, have a panic attack, or just space out and want to shut everything out. The answer to “Are you okay?” is constantly changing by the day and by the hour. The grief comes in waves.

My step dad was the kind of person that knew everyone and that everyone loved. He was funny, ornery, loving, caring, and giving. He would start talking about something and would go on about that thing forever. Once someone got him talking, he almost wouldn’t stop. Everyone was a friend to him. When he was young, he was a true hippie. Being a teenager in the 70’s, he did all the things hippies did. Most of all he was an artist, musician, a father, a husband, and a loving, compassionate person.

He was the kind of parent that said yes more often. When I wanted something, I would go to him instead of my mom because I knew I would probably get it. There had been many times where he picked me up after school and took me to get food or coffee just because. Now I’m never going to have those little father-daughter dates with him again. He’s never going to help me with my art again. I’ll never get to talk to him about a new song I learned on my ukulele. He’ll never take me to and from school again. I’ll never have anymore moments with him and that’s such a hard concept to grasp.

My step dad started making my coffee in the morning for me to save time a few weeks before he died. One time just a couple weeks ago I came downstairs to make my coffee for the day and he had already done it for me. I didn’t ask him to do it or really expect him to. He just made the coffee to make my morning easier. That was the kind of person he was. His family was his life and everything he did was done for us and with love.

The day he died was just a normal day. Along with my coffee I brought some green juice to school. I left the juice in the car. After school he picked me up, we went home and ate pizza. Soon after I went to my dad’s house and around six thirty he got a call that my step dad had possibly had a heart attack. We rushed to the hospital and found out that he had died. After the long hours at the hospital, we went home and I found my green juice in the fridge. He put it back for me so it wouldn’t go to waste. It was such a small thing but it made me cry. That was the last thing he did for me.

The truth is you never expect your parents to just up and vanish. You think they’ll be there almost forever. The day my step dad died was just a normal day up until the moment of what we thought was a heart attack. He was fine and healthy as far as we knew. We just found out that what took him was the same thing that took my grandma unexpectedly just four months ago. A blood clot went to his lungs; it was unpreventable and untreatable. Appreciate your parents. Tell your parents you love them. Always apologize after a fight and don’t stay mad at them for too long. They really can just be gone in the blink of an eye. I know this because I experienced it firsthand. The last time I spoke to my step dad I was saying bye as I went out the door. I never thought in a million years that would be my last interaction with him. Although he left so early in my life, Michael James Trusty will always be my father.

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