I don’t even know how to describe this past year. It felt like it was the longest and also the shortest year. It was one of the worst and also one of the best years of my life. For the first six months, I felt a deep uncertainty, pain, and hopelessness in my heart; not knowing how long my dad would be here. And for the last six months, emptiness and sadness were added to the list, and every emotion in between, after he was taken to heaven. There isn’t a word that can even describe how I have been feeling and how I feel now. Since he’s been gone, I would wake up every morning missing him and holding back the tears. Some days, I just wanted to lie in bed and stay there all day. But I know that he would not want me to waste the precious time I have crying about something that cannot be changed. After a while, I started to see him smiling at me and I could hear him say ‘I’m so proud of you!’ He had never once told me my hopes and dreams were silly or impossible before. He had never doubted me or told me I couldn’t do whatever I wanted. I think back to the day I made the crazy, life-changing decision to take a year-long break, three weeks after he was gone. I felt that he was telling me, ‘Do it! Don’t be scared! I support you!’ And I did it! And I wasn’t scared! And he supported me – 100%, just as he had promised! And it was the best decision I’ve ever made! I felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I don’t regret a single moment since that day.
Even though I do stay in bed a little longer than before, I get up eventually and do the things that make me happy. I write. I read. I draw. I think. I pray. I travel. I take pictures. I wonder. I try new things. I laugh. I care about myself. And I don’t care about what people think. I still don’t really know what my future will be like but I like where I am now, in the present. I still have so much I want to do and see and experience. I am not going to make any more excuses for myself. The things I’ve experienced so far have been incredible and I can’t wait to have more adventures and try new things. You’ve brought me to life, Daddy! I know you’d be so proud of me right now!