Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye is not always the easiest thing that we can do. However, we say goodye to things and people every single day, and never think twice about it, right? WRONG. I never thought that on November 30th, 2013 when I ugged my father goodbye at Cracker Barrel that it would be the last time I ever hugged him. I never realized it would be the last time to see him. I never realized it would be the last time I would see my daugher hug and kiss him. NEVER. But it was. I was supposed to see my dad the weekend after Christmas, and my family got sick. We decided to push it back a week, and everyone was okay with that. But, God had other plans. On January 2, 2014 my husband texted me several times around 1:00 to tell me he wanted me to come home. I thought he was crazy because he knew I was working. But he was insistent that he wanted me to come home, so I did. I was worried. I thought to myself, "What has he done?", "Is Chloe okay?", and "What is going on?" When I got home I sat on the couch and asked him these questions. He came and sat next to me, and he was just telling me that everything is going to be okay. I was still so confused. And then it hit me.....I looked ad him with tears is my eyes and said, "My dad, did he die?" K looked at the ceiling and I just started crying and hugging him. I did not know whether to feel sick, mad, sick again, and just devastated. I had a mixture of all those emotions. I still feel sick when I think about it. My dad, who I was supposed to be celebrating Christmas with in 2 days, was not going to be there. My dad, the first man I ever loved, was not going to be there. And I did not get to tell him goodye. I did not get to see him one last time. I still cannot even understand it. I mean, he was sick. And we knew that it was going to happen. But I never expected it to happen so soon. Not on January 2, 2014. The next day I traveled to Memphis. My brother and sister were snow skiing in Utah, and they could not get on an earlier flight home. So.....I began driving around Memphis making plans. I talked to my brother about 100 times, and drove all over the city trying to figure things out. It is not easy to do as a 32 year old. This was my dad. There was no body. I never saw him. He donated his body to science, and he had already been taken to UT Med Center. How awesome is that? Future doctors of America are going to learn from my dad. A few days later we all came together with hundreds of friends, and remembered my dad in a wonderful memorial service. The final farewell is never easy. My brother gave the Eulogy, and spoke of my dads incredible career as an Athletic Director and Football Coach. He said that if there was one last thing he would say to my dad it is, "You Won! You did it." And he really did. He fought so hard, and he was so brave throughout his disease. But he was truly a happy man when he died. He loved his kids, and his granddaughter. He knew that we were happy. He won. I spoke about what it was like growing up as a coaches daughter. I could not have imagined any other way to grow up. I was so proud that I was Coach Blankinship's daughter. I am still so proud that I am in daughter. Being a coaches daughter meant many things: 1) I spent a lot of time at games....pretty much every day 2) I never needed a ticket to the game....you know, because I was the coaches daughter (and so proud of that) 3) I spent a lot of time in the locker rooms, which always stunk 4) I went to Sam's a lot to get candy to stock the concession stands 5) when the games were over I went straight on to the field, and it did not matter how mad or happy dad was, he always looked at me and smiled and said "Hey Baby" 6)I had access to unlimited athletic tape, which I always thought was so cool looking on my wrists! My list could go on and on. And these memories will never leave me. My love for my dad will never leave. I have always been a daddy's girl, which is why I am still in shock. I laugh thinking about the last conversation I had with my dad on New Year's Day. He was so happy. He called me and said he as feeling great. He could not wait to see Chloe, K, and I in a couple days. And we couldnt wait to see him. He said he had been eating these little frozen hamburgers and that he "was in love with those hamburgers!" I laughed and him and said, "Did you just say that you were in love with those hamburgers?" He laughed and laughed. We talked about him watching football all day, and he said he loved me, to kiss Chloe for him,and to tell Kenny "War Eagle." I will never hear his voice again. He will be missed everyday.


The Garners said...

Hi there. I was searching back through my blog posts for a sugar cookie recipe and when I found it I saw that you had left a comment on that particular post. I clicked on your link to see if you were still blogging and it took me to this about your father. I am so very very sorry. It broke my heart to read this. I'm sure this has been a tough year. I pray that you are doing okay. We have to cherish every single day, right! Chloe is sure growing up--so very cute! Praying for you!
Jamie Garner