This week it has been a year since my father died. I didn’t get to see him a lot, for a lot of reasons that are no one’s fault: my health and the fact that we lived in different parts of the country are a few. That hasn’t made his being gone any easier. Even when we couldn’t see each other, there was always the possibility that we would be able to get together sometime. And we emailed fairly often, our preferred method of communication, since his hearing was bad.

As he died in the midst of a pandemic, we couldn’t even have a service for him right away. And when we did, about 7 months later, it was in a state halfway across the country from where I live (where most of my family lives, and where he lived for a long time), and I could not go. No amount of agonizing over the decision could change the fact that it would not have been wise for me to try to get there. If agonizing over the decision could have changed things, believe me, they would have changed.

But my sisters and brothers streamed the service for me, so that I could still see it. Then they brought the laptop to the reception, and people stopped by to talk to me. It would have been nice to be there, but this was the next best thing, and sometimes that’s all you get. I will forever be grateful that they did that for me.

A year later I still struggle a little with the guilt that I was not able to see him more when he was alive, and that I could not attend his service. But in my heart, I know that I did the best I could, and that he would have understood the decision I had to make. I still struggle with what I think other people were thinking, and then I realize that most other people were probably not thinking of me at all. And those that did think ill of me? Well, bless their hearts and may they never have to make as hard a decision as I did.

Dad, I still, and always will, miss you.

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