Letting Go 

I slowly placed the lid over the top of the candle on the nightstand. As I sat back on the bed with tears streaming down my face, I watched as the flame flickered out. It felt oddly symbolic. Just five days before my 31st birthday, I was once again reminded of the weight of being an adult. Having to make decisions that hurt so bad in the moment, but the mature you knowing deep down it was right; right for future you, right for your children. So I took a deep breath and I let go. Physically, I let the tears go. Mentally and emotionally I freed myself of what was, what could’ve been, and I remembered this: there is never a better time to start anew than the present. So I closed my eyes and awaited the sunrise. The first sunrise of the rest of my life.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow” ~ Caroline Moss

Note to My Dad

Last night I picked up your guitar for the first time in years. The acoustic one you used to play us. I dug it out of the back closet, dusted it off, and strummed the strings slowly. Maybe I thought if I did I could hear your singing voice more vividly in my head. I’m scared. Three years and I feel like I’m losing grasp of some of my memories of you. Yesterday I actually sat through the entire song I had picked out for your funeral without crying. Why does that make me feel a tinge of guilt? Time heals….healing is good right?

You’d be so proud of me; that I know with certainty. My boys, your Grandson’s, are growing up to be such sweet, respectable individuals. They would make you smile and laugh every day. I have a great career I know you’d love to hear about. You and Mom raised a strong, independent woman. And the man that has blessed my life, boy would you love him. He’s musically gifted like you and works well with his hands.

Life is good now, even though I wish I could show you.

When you were in the hospital bed, I held your hand and I sang to you. I think you heard me, because I saw a tear roll down your cheek. The song we sang growing up:


I remember daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer
And reachin’ out to hold me, when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the callous’ and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind


I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man
But I’ll always remember the love in daddy’s hands


Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands


I remember daddy’s hands workin’ ’til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands


Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands



I have plenty more to tell you. Until next time, Dad.




There are moments in life when something affects us so deeply, we almost forget how to breathe. The lump in our throat is too massive to swallow and the sinking in our heart drowns our ability to think past that very moment. That is how I felt on that Saturday afternoon, standing in a stale room of a ghostly hospital that reminded me more of a prison. There was no color there, nor warmth or hope of any kind. Walking through those hallways, I could almost see the tears and hear the cries of people who had suffered loss there in times past. The smell still haunts me to this day. In that room, I was surrounded by family and close friends. We all awaited the doctors prognosis, news we’d all been dreading to hear for the past 4 1/2 grueling weeks. We were told there was no hope for my father’s recovery. He would have to be moved to a long-term care facility, where he would not be able to speak or eat. Rather, he’d be held captive in his own body, being kept alive by a machine. Little did I know a month before that day that I would be in this moment, preparing my mind and heart to say goodbye far too soon.

It was 11:30 on a Monday night. I was sleeping at the time I got the call. The last peaceful sleep I would have for a while. The sound of the phone woke me, but not in time to answer. As I sat half asleep listening to the voicemail, I felt nervous and confused. My cousin, who lived across the street from my father at the time, was telling me there had been an accident at my fathers house, but everything was OK. I got dressed as quickly as possible and drove straight to the hospital, calling both of my sisters on the way. The wait in the ER felt like forever, and never have I been so happy to see my sister and hug her. At this point, we knew very little about my father’s condition, only that there had been a fire at the house and because of his pre-existing lung problems, he was taken to the hospital.

When I was finally allowed to see my father, the gravity of the situation hit me like a brick. The man I could call anytime I was sad or scared and find comfort in; the man whose arms I used to hang on as a little girl, thinking of how strong he was….was laying there surrounded by a web of tubes. Motionless and virtually helpless, he was at the mercy of his body. A body that we learned in the coming weeks was too tired to fight.


The next five weeks can only be described as an emotional roller coaster. My sisters and I were faced with many tough decisions from day one. We asked a lot of questions and tried hard to make sure my father was as comfortable as someone could be who couldn’t eat, drink, move, or communicate. I researched every moment that I could, so I could ask the right questions and understand the process that was about to unfold. Unfortunately, no amount of questions or crossing of fingers could change the reality of the situation. Without getting too technical or detailed, weaning someone with compromised lungs from a ventilator is no easy feat. Every time his breathing assistance was decreased  to try and retrain his lungs to function on their own, his body would panic. His heart rate and blood pressure would skyrocket. In an effort to avoid a massive heart attack, his breathing assistance would again have to be increased. The process would then start over the next day. It seemed every time there was a spark of hope, it was extinguished by a flood of disappointment.

A pivotal moment in this journey was when our family decided that we needed to somehow explain the situation to my father and give him the choice (indicated by the nod or shake of his head) to continue fighting or not. Mind you, he had for the most part been in a medically induced coma for two weeks. When the medicine would wear off and he became somewhat aware of his state and surroundings, his anxiety would become debilitating. One day, he was very slowly weaned off of the medicine. My sisters and I made the decision to have a nurse try to understand his wishes. We believed that had one of us presented the information to him, the situation would be unbearably emotional for him and us both. Surely he would see the pleading in our eyes, wanting him to fight, and this would sway him from giving an honest answer.

The family sat for sometime in the waiting room, holding our breath. Trying to prepare ourselves emotionally for whatever the answer was. In that moment that the nurse entered the room and told us my father had chosen to continue fighting, the first joyful tears fell. The battle had not been won, nor was it any less daunting than it was prior to his decision. But someone wanting to live, despite the odds being stacked against them, is a beautiful thing.

However, after two surgeries and a transfer to another facility, the situation was bleak. There was no improvement. Watching someone you love die is an image you never forget. It is even more difficult when you know that in that person’s mind they want to live, but they are being betrayed by their own body.

Too early in our lives do we realize the inevitability of death. The “ideal” situation, if you can call it that, would be for us or our loved ones to pass peacefully in sleep at an old age. Rarely does life hand us those cards. Upon receiving the news from the doctor, my sisters and I had to make the toughest decision anyone could ever make on someone’s behalf. We knew in our hearts, without a doubt, it was what my father would have desired, given the quality of life he was being offered from that point on. My father would be removed from life-support the following Tuesday morning.

I have always felt that most of life’s occurrences are due to circumstance, even coincidence at times, rather than predestination or outside forces. But on a Monday night, around the same time I received that first haunting call five weeks to the day, my phone rang once again. My father passed away on his own that night. His heart stopped 12 hours before we were to remove him from life-support. I would like to think that subconsciously my father let go in order to spare us the wonder and the pain associated with his passing in that way. For this, I am truly grateful. The relief almost surpassed the devastation at that moment.

“Grief only exists where love lived first” ~ Franchesca Cox.

The grief was overwhelming because the love between us was undeniable. I will never forget how it felt to hold my father’s hand for the final time. To lay my head on his chest that had lost all of its warmth, knowing at the very least, he was at peace. It was up to me now, to pick up the pieces and find my own peace.

“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in” ~ Haruki Murakami



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