That was a regularly used saying by my dad. Today marks 12 years since his death. I can hardly believe it's been that long...seems like yesterday.

Today's post is a diary entry of sorts, so skip on out if you're looking for the light-hearted.

So do you hate the date and dread it or is it just another day? I've struggled with that for quite some time. Eleven years to be exact. I saw Nate Berkus on Oprah once saying that we have control over whether or not to let the date bring sadness and depression. Nate lost his partner, Fernando, while vacationing in Sri Lanka. He was swept away by the tsunami in 2005. I would say he has the right to feel overwhelmed by sadness on the anniversary of his death. And, I'm sure he is, but maybe what he is saying has some validity. Sadly, I'm drawing from a day-time talk show celebrity to try and overcome the idea that the date holds so much power. Ridiculous or desperate? Not sure.

Some years I feel like I, also, have a legit right to just stay in bed and pull the covers up over my head. Some years I convince myself that my dad wouldn't want that, and I should honor his name by facing the day with gusto and strength, greeting friends with starched, dry-cleaned clothes and an ever giving tone in my voice.

This year as I sit and type and see a precious little red-head sleeping next to me, I am torn with emotion. I miss that man every day and especially this year with a perfect granddaughter he would adore. I have tried to fill that enormous, gaping hole with relationships with my father-in-law, step-father and uncle, and far from their fault, no one will ever replace or give me the same fulfillment as he did. No one gives the same "Penny for your thoughts?" question and genuinely wants to hear the answer.

In his last letter to me he indicated he would be watching from somewhere far, far away when the first red-headed granddaughter was born. I know he is, and he is so proud. When I see her face each day I know that God gave me her to learn from my father's mistakes and delight in the joy that she brings. I also know what happiness it brings me to see The Chief play such a wonderful father role in her life, exactly the way my dad did for me. There must be some organization to all the madness. A bigger, better picture of sorts.

So as I crawl through this day and hoping it goes by quickly I remind you all...hug your loved ones tightly. Very tightly. It can all be over in a blink of an eye. And the thing no one ever says is take care of yourself. It's as important as taking care of others.


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