There will always be things we take for granted in life. It’s just human nature to focus on the seemingly more important things rather than the things we do everyday. I bet you’ve never thought about how many times you’ve held your father’s hand, or remember what it felt like to be that little kid looking up at him walking hand-in-hand down the street. I certainly didn’t. Just like I didn’t know 14 years ago today, that it would be the last Father’s Day I’d be spending with my dad. He had been battling stomach cancer for two years and just had a major surgery that we were so hopeful would give him a second chance at life. I had just graduated from UT and it meant so much for him to see me walk across that stage and accept my diploma. Something he wrote in my graduation card has always stuck with me: “Raising you has been my greatest success in life.” Fast forward to later that summer, his health had quickly deteriorated and I’d moved back home to spend what we all knew were his last days with us. Although I don’t think any of us would have ever expected what happened next.
I met the love of my life. We met by chance through two of our best friends (how this had never happened before just baffled us all), and the rest is history as they say. But neither of us were prepared for the somber days ahead of us. The night we had our first date, I finally knew what it meant to be on “cloud nine.” Like physically feel as if your feet were off the ground and your heart had taken up shop in someone else’s body, because you trusted them with it with all your being. How on earth would I have known that just hours later I’d be gripping my father’s hand in a hospital bed, surrounded my best friends and family, praying for a miracle. How could I have known that I’d be gripping his hand while he lay there in a coma, praying for him to just squeeze my hand back one last time.
The days that followed were probably the most incredibly emotion-filled days of my life. On one hand I was falling head-over-heels in love with the man of my dreams, and on the other hand I was having to let go of the man who I’d now see only in my dreams. I still weep just thinking about it, and why God planned it this way? Couldn’t I have both their hands in mine? Why did I have to choose, or rather, have the choice made for me? But to this day, I never let my mind run down that road, because in the end, it was the way my life was meant to be. Yes, what I wouldn’t give to have one last Father’s Day with my dad, but my brother said it best at our wedding when he said “As one great man was leaving her life, another great man was entering it.” I have to believe in my heart that it was no coincidence. My dad, God, or whoever/whatever you believe in – made for dang sure I would be loved by the most amazing man I know for the rest of my life, and that is something I will never take for granted.
So this Father’s Day, we’re loving hard on this man right here and cherishing these moments – because that’s what my dad would have wanted.