One Year Later the Loss Still Stings

I wore black to work today because my heart was sad.

James loved riding his Harley.

James loved riding his Harley.

It’s sad because one year ago today I got the call that my step-Dad, James, had passed away after battling stomach cancer with every fiber of his being.

Even though he was being eaten alive from the inside, James fought his illness with the courage of a champion. He knew the odds were stacked against him, yet he refused to give up hope, to relinquish his grip on life that death was trying so hard to loosen.

I spent a month in Tupelo last summer so I could be around him and to help out wherever I was needed. Unfortunately I didn’t handle it well.

I had always seen what happens after death has taken someone, so I wasn’t prepared for what I saw during my time there.

To say I was scared would be an understatement.

Seeing the man who had always been so strong and full of life reduced to a shell of himself rocked me to my core.

Instead of spending as much time with James as possible, I found myself drowning in alcohol in an attempt to mask the reality of my feelings.

Even though I got to spend a lot of time with James during that month, I regret not spending more, not being able to deal with everything better.

Mom and James showing their love for each other.

Mom and James showing their love for each other.

It’s my own fault and those regrets haunt me still today. I let myself down and will always feel as if I let James down too.

I pray that I never have to go through anything like that again, but if I do, I hope that I can deal with things better, like my Mom.

She was James’ rock last year. She was lived up to her vows of “in sickness and in health” 1,000 times over.

If James wanted a hamburger Mom was in the car getting him a hamburger, even if she knew he would only eat two bites.

Mom was amazing and I can only imagine how difficult it was for her to see James take his last breath.

She struggled, like many of us would, with clinging to our loved ones on the verge of passing away, wanting them to stay for selfish reasons, but knowing they would be in a better place once they let go.

I know that time has a way healing all wounds, but the void that James left in so many lives is going to take much longer than 365 days to fill.

This picture of Mom, me and James was taken on July 9, 2011 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

This picture of Mom, me and James was taken on July 9, 2011 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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8 Responses to One Year Later the Loss Still Stings

  1. I am sad for your loss friend. I believe James would remember the good, my friend, that’s what love does. You were a human being, perfectly imperfect like the rest of us. You got through and now you’re empowering others by sharing your sorrow. Everything for a reason. you struggle and strength, wisdom in looking back – can save someone else. That’s a beautiful thing to do for strangers. Gentle hugs from a wp family member, Belinda

    • JWo says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I had been struggling for over a month over what to write because I wasn’t sure if I should write about my struggles with dealing with everything or about how much he meant to so many people.

      I guess I ended up doing a little bit of both.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The Sweet memories far over shadow the sad ones. Praying for you to find peace.

  3. Annie says:

    I can’t believe a year has past already. I friend of mine lost her father two years ago and it still seems like it just happened. Time does heal but I guess it just takes a lot of it. 🙂

    • JWo says:

      I know what you mean. It seems as if the year flew by but the pain is still there.

      A few months ago I saw a man who had a mustache like James and felt myself tearing up to the point that I had to walk away.

      Definitely going to need more time…

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