I can't believe it's been a year since we got the call from my mom. She called on Sunday afternoon to say that dad had gone to the grocery store and hadn't made it home. Danny had just graduated from the police academy and offered to ride over to mom's with me so we could figure out what had happened. It's just insane to me to think back on that day. To pull into the Kroger parking lot with my mom, Danny and Ashley and see the van that dad loved so much sitting in the parking lot with police officers surrounding it. Thank God Danny was there to talk to the officers. The look on his face told us everything. We knew right away that things weren't good. I don't think any of us wanted to believe what we heard. Just the sheer emotion of it all took my breath away. I felt like my entire life was swept out from under my feet. The rest of the day and the week that followed are just a complete blur. Calling family members, having to tell Vannah that Daddy was never coming home from the store, making preparations and decisions about things that had never been discussed. I spent the next several hours and days surrounded by friends and family, just trying to come to grips with the cards we'd all been dealt. I've said several times since then that I remember doing things over the past year - things at work, buying the house - but so much of it is just a blur - completely clouded over by the loss of my dad.
To honor the legacy that dad left to us, his children and family, I am posting some of the pictures that we showed at the funeral. Tonight was the first time in the past year that I've looked at him. It wasn't easy. All the emotions that we went through are fresh again. It's like tearing the wound open, but I'm opening myself up to the healing that I know will come.
Where it all began - mom and dad on their wedding day...
Dad and me - so sweet
Dad and Ashley - oh how he loved Christmas!
Dad - with his shades on
A Daddy's girl if I ever knew one....God how she loved him
Many years ago - he loved our family vacations
Dad and me - I think at King's Island
Dad chaperoned my trip to Space Camp in Alabama - I think in 5th grade. I think he had more fun than I did!
Cooking - as was the usual (man do I miss those hot browns!)
Playing with the kids
I am hoping that tomorrow we will truly be able to celebrate the life of my father. I know that it will be an emotional day, so I pray for the strength I will need to be strong for my mom and sisters and never forget the lessons he taught us about living and loving.
Mark Patrick Radmacher