Stories of Loss: Celebrating five years

(Katherine, 25, Mexico City, blog founder)

I don’t feel sad. I feel love and overwhelmingly grateful for what I had and what I still have.

I can’t believe that it has been five years since a police officer brought me the worst news – that my father was gone and that I didn’t get to say goodbye – I didn’t get to say anything. My heart was ripped out, my life stopped. Time stopped.

I can’t believe it has been five years. Looking back on the first moments and first few years, I can’t believe I made it to today. A long process of love and care has brought me to where I am today. I opened a journal this morning from a few years ago to a line that said “I feel embodied by grief, it defines who I am.” It hurts now to read about all of the pain I went through in trying to remember my father, let go of the grief, move on, and redefine myself. I remember the pain that memories brought me for years that I can now think about with feelings of peace and happiness.

I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye, but it was not necessary. Our relationship consisted of love and respect that neither of us wavered from. I feel the essence of my father every day – in strength and love. I strive to be more like him.

Periodically through each day something reminds me of him. Whether it is the smell of a type of food he made, the mention of skiing, a pickup truck, flowers, or many other things. I now smile, say hi, talk about him, and continue to live my life in a way that I know he would be proud. I am not stuck anymore.

When I think about the expanse of the past five years and the various celebrations of his life I have hosted and attended, I am grateful for old friends who have weathered the storm with me, new friends who listen and are patient as I untangle the past five years, and other friends who have lost family members who have come into my life. I know I would have survived the past five years without my friends, but I am glad I didn’t have to. My friends have been the most important part of my healing process, by allowing me to be me in whatever state that was.

So is the five year anniversary of when he died sad? Is it a celebration? For me, today, it is a recognition of life – of my life – and of all that his life gave me. So, today I will call my loved ones and tell them I love them, walk alone in beautiful Mexico City parks, and meet friends for Mexican food and beer – a perfect day to celebrate my dad that he would have loved. I will celebrate what was lost, but also the strength in what remains.

I am not sad, I have wonderful memories of my father and gained more than I could ever put into words from him – but he is missed. I miss him every day and I want to just say thank you to him – for everything.

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6 thoughts on “Stories of Loss: Celebrating five years

  1. Much love to Katherine on this day. I am so happy to be your friend, to have known your dad, and to be able to celebrate the memory of his life with you and other friends. Thanks for all you’ve done to share with us.
    Love,
    Eric

    1. David Conway was a leader… In his quiet, humble way… He led by example, he led by initiative, he certainly led by inspiration… As everyone who knew him can attest… It is kind of remarkable, to be honest… Everyone who knew David, loved David (and admired him).
      I say this not because, sadly, he is no longer with us but because it is true… Nelson Mandela once wrote “it is not what you take, but what you leave”… David & Beth have given all of us two extraordinary daughters! Who ARE their father’s spirit!… They lead when required, they help when needed, they care for others ALL the time!… David is not here but
      thankfully he is… In Katherine and in Trina… They both are loved – and admired – and this world is a better place for the example David set and for the family he and Beth raised… I miss David, we miss David, but we are blessed to have Trina & Katherine in our lives to remind us of and to sustain
      David’s nobility (and, in truth, his selfless leadership)… Katherine – Your blog is a great idea!

  2. Thank you Katherine, your father was an exceptional human being and I am truly privileged to have known him. He would be very proud of all your accomplishments. His legacy will live on forever.
    Much Love,
    Charles

  3. I love you Katherine! Thanks for sharing this lovely entry. There is no doubt that your father is proud of you everyday–you are an amazing person! ::HUGS::

  4. Katherine, I love you and I loved your dad. The memories I have of him always make me smile. I know he is so proud of you and Trina. You have both grown into remarkable women. Your dad, Uncle Scott and Gram will always be watching over us…our angels. I hope you had a happy day.
    Love,
    Margie

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