Dear Papa · loss of a parent · pain · sadness

Dear Papa: My Life Has No Normal

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Photo: I need to frame a nice pic of my mom and papa.I’ve tried to compare this period of mourning to what I went through when my Mom passed, but there are too many different variables. 

When you came into my life I was an 11 year old girl who was dealing with abandonment issues. My Dad had walked out of my life and still to this day I’m not sure why a parent chooses to leave the life of a child. Why did he go so far away? Did he love himself more, his desires more than he loved me?

My Mom was always dealing with medical issues and this in itself caused me a great deal of anxiety. I never truly understood the severity of it at that time, but never the less I sensed the sadness and pain of it all. I watched my Mom’s world crumble when my Dad left. I had never seen someone in so much pain before. How could life be a happy and safe place when the loss of someone could rip apart so much?

But that’s where you found us. You became my Steven, my stepdad, but more than that, you became my stability. You openly and instantly accepted me as, “Your Girl,” but I took more time. I never wanted to replace my Dad, and you two were so different, but I needed a father figure, I needed to see a healthy relationship between two parents, and you gave me that. 


I keep telling myself that it’s ok to cry for you. I keep wondering when my life will become normal again, when the sadness will end, and when my children will see a happy Mother again, but then I remind myself that you were such an important part of my life, of who I am now, that it will take time for me to find my balance. It’s ok to cry for people we love. It’s ok to miss you. It’s ok to understand that we will create no more memories with you and that fact saddens me so. People will always say that I’ll see you again, but first I’ll have to live out the next 60 years without you. That’s not an easy idea for me.

Sundays are the hardest days for me. That’s the day I heard the news. I replay those moments over in my head. I don’t recall the sound or even many of the words but it’s more like a silent picture, watching Sean’s face, his reactions. Calling Aunt Charlotte only to leave a message. Seeing Sean walk up to me shaking his head, “No…” I ended up outside, in the dark, in my pajamas, my face burried in my hands simply repeating, “Why…Why…Why…” I couldn’t understand why Papa needed to leave. I couldn’t understand why this was taking place. I couldn’t understand…he wasn’t sick (that we knew of), he hadn’t been involved in an accident, he was even suppose to have visisted with us that weekend, Maddie’s birthday, but he couldn’t make it. I wish I would have had one more chance to hug him, to talk with him, to hear him laugh, to watch him play with the kids. 

I never cried when my Dad left. I never spoke of my pain or confusion. No one really asked or talked to me about it. Papa came into my life and healed a little girl’s broken heart, he took care of my Mother as her body broke down, and he gave my kids a Grandparent to love and enjoy life with.

Sadly, I never developed a relationship with any other man that offered such security, safety, and love as I had with my Papa. I’ve never trusted any other man as I did my Papa. What a shame that my only comforter, the one person that I knew loved me completely is gone. 

The air feels so thick during these moments. My chest heaves up and down as if I can’t get enough breath. My heart is truly broken. I can only imagine that the loss of a child would be greater than this pain. 

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