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Remembering Dad

It's still hard for me to believe that Dad is gone. The holidays have flooded me with a ton of emotions and I'm learning that both happiness and sadness can live together.

It's strange, I live the furtherest away from my family. This generally means that I don't see anyone during the holidays unless I travel with my family to Austin. Some years we choose to go and others we stay home.

This year I offered for my mother to come - not knowing what she would be up to and knowing that this season would be particularly hard. She chose to stay in Austin (which I understand) and we chose to stay here.

I considered taking the trip out - and would have if I felt like my mom needed me - but with delayed decisions we had nowhere to board Maggie at late notice and I wrestled with this feeling of not wanting to go.

I felt guilty about this... very guilty in fact. And when I allowed myself to explore why I realized I wanted to avoid it. I wanted to avoid the hole I knew I would feel in his absence. I wanted to avoid the reminder that he wasn't there. I wanted to avoid the idea that he would walk in at any moment. I wanted to avoid so many things...

Healthy or not, there is a hole that exists in my family and I'm coming to grips that it will always exist. There is no going back to the way it was. There is only the now, the new, a chapter that we don't get to have him as a part. And it hurts. The big hugs I won't receive anymore. Even not writing his name on their Christmas card hurt - something I'd never imagined I would even think of.

And the hurt - the pain - the missing - the hole in our family - it is why all the "things" matter in this season. The food, the traditions, the making of crafts and the setting of tables. They all matter so much because when a chapter ends with someone you love - these are the things you hold on to both tenderly and with all your might.

I miss you, Dad! I wish you were here!

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