I came across this article today about what changes after you lose a parent. It got me thinking… What has changed with me after losing my father 4 years ago? How did it affect my everyday life? Did it affect my everyday life? Yes, yes it did.

Time with anyone is short and fleeting in the scheme of things. One day they can be here, and the next, they could be gone. That is what happened with my father. Many of the changes that I can note off the top of my head are more mental than physical. No matter how many people you talk to about losing someone, it will never prepare you for what is in store. Families change, people move, things are different in so many ways. For me, I became the man of the house. Not only in my own household, but for my mother’s household as well. There was an extreme sense of responsibility to take care of both households. Even though there are two other adults living in the other. Taking on that responsibility was very stressful, especially when you are not prepared for it. I did it; I feel that I did pretty well, too.

After my father died in South Carolina, my mother, sister and 6 month old niece moved from Myrtle Beach to where my wife and I were living at that point in time, to Jacksonville, FL. The point of the move was to have them closer during this time of need on all fronts for all of us in the family. Today, I can proudly say that my mother is standing on her own two feet after this tragedy. She went from a lower paying job to a full time job at Mayo Clinic and I couldn’t be more proud of her accomplishments over the past few years.    My sister overcame a few unsavory relationships and has pushed herself to accomplish getting into a career path that will take care of herself and her daughter. I’d like to feel like I had a hand in their paths changing by love… albeit sometimes tough love and persuasion to better themselves by moving to a city that had more to offer other than employment in hospitality.

So… What changed with me after my father died? I can agree with everything Lisa Schmidt said in her article. I can also add a few to the list as well.

  • Phone calls late at night send my blood pressure and anxiety through the roof.

My family got the call late at night from the hospital saying that we needed to come in and prepare to say goodbye. Ever since that phone call late at night, any time I get an unexpected phone call after 10pm it sends me into a frenzy in my brain. I can’t help but think of the worst. I never used to be like that until that phone call the night we were told to come in.

  • I haven’t deleted my father’s phone number off of my phone.

After 4 years, it is still there. I don’t know if I can ever bring myself to delete it. I am sure that someone else has the phone number now, but I can’t imagine anyone other than him answering if I called. I know he won’t answer, but it would be nice if he would. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I should call him to tell him my good news. Like last year when we finally got the opportunity to move back home, or when we put in an offer on our home, or the day we closed on our house. I really wanted him to hear about all of the amazing things that have happened since he’s been gone, but there’s no way to tell him. I wish I could.

  • I know what real regret feels like

Real regret. Not that I regret drinking too much last night type of regret. The regret that when your father called you and you were not able to answer. That was the last time he would ever call again. You didn’t know that at the time, but you sincerely regret not picking up the phone just to say “I can’t talk right now, can I call you in a couple of hours?”… You’ll never get that chance back. It’s not something you can make up or make right and that is what real regret feels like to me.

  • Sometimes you just get angry for no reason

It’s not because you are mad at someone or something, it just is. This one is a hard feeling to explain. You can get upset for a smell, a thought or just a simple thing, like a screwdriver and it can make me angry. Angry that my father isn’t there anymore. It is fleeting mood. One that I experienced less than a week ago when I was working on the Jeep. I saw the screwdriver in the toolbox and I had a momentary snap. I always loved that screwdriver when I was a kid. Now it is mine. It’s now mine because my father isn’t here anymore. The feeling lasted less than a Snapchat video and then it was gone, like it never happened.

  • I am becoming my father

The things that used to interest me when I was younger up until a few years ago don’t so much pique my interests anymore. I have a huge passion for photography, which my mom used to take many photos; I probably got that from her. I used to love DJ’ing. Not like the current job I do, but two turntables and a microphone Dj’ing. I was good at it… At least I thought I was and so did numerous other colleagues. I one day just lost interest on something I spent countless hours and a lot of money on.  Now I find myself wanting to build things, tinker in the garage, work on the house, fix the car, etc. The things that he used to enjoy doing and the things that I grew up watching him do.

 

It’s hard to deal with sometimes four short years later. Things have changed so much for me. My wife and I have moved coast to coast, moved back home to Colorado, bought a house and so much more. My mom and my sister have landed on their feet. If he could see what we all have accomplished, he would be insanely proud of all of us. He is the reason we are where we are. We learned so much from him. We learned to persevere from him. We all thank him for giving us the strength to do what we need to do to be the best we can be for our family. We will never forget him and we thank him for his years of wisdom, knowledge and love.