Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's been a year...

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since my dad died. Tomorrow is the day that we've all been dreading. The day that it seems no matter what we try to do, will be overrun with memories of dad, of missing his sweet face, his sense of humor, his love for his wife and his kids. The past year has been incredibly difficult to say the least. It seemed that every holiday that he wasn't there was tougher than the one before. There's just that little part of me that wants to believe that this has all been a nightmare and he'll just come back home. I know that it's not the case, but I think it's just so hard to accept that he's really gone. Forever. I'll never be able to look in his eyes again. Never be able to tell him a funny story. Never laugh with him at the marvels of modern technology. Never walk into a room and just say "Hey Dad" - ever again. What I would give to walk in and hear him say "Hey Liz." I loved that. Very few people in my life have ever called me Liz - I just loved the way he said it. I just miss him so much. The void that has been left in my heart is indescribable. The pain that I would not wish upon anyone else. It's so hard for me to think about having kids and the fact that they won't ever know their "Gramps." They'll never know how much he loved to have fun, what a good cook he was, and the fact that he would do anything for his family. I know that my dad had his faults, his weaknesses, his struggles. I don't wear the rose-colored glasses and I know that things weren't always butterflies and rainbows, but the pain was worth it. And I would live through it all again just to have more day with him. To tell him how very much I loved him. How proud I was of him for his many accomplishments. How much I respected his steadfast love and tender spirit. Just the chance to really say good-bye to someone who shaped my life more than any other.

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

King's Island

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

1 comment:

  1. Wow Lizzie. What an awesome testament to your Dad! I miss mine so much, I lost him in May of 2004 and it seems like yesterday. You are a very brave and loving daughter, sister, wife and friend. Hugs and lots of prayers for you during the tough days. Love you, BJ