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