Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Missing My Dad.

This is my last sad post, I swear.
A year ago today my dad and I were busy in his kitchen.  He was teaching me how to make his famous ribs for Danny's birthday dinner.  We talked and laughed while putting the dry rub on over 50 pounds of baby backs.  I'm so grateful for all of the fun memories I am lucky enough to have of my dad.  But even with those memories to remember, I still can't believe how much I miss him.
Death seriously sucks.  So much worse than I could've imagined.  I guess to truly know you have to experience death.  I know why old people are so wise.  They have had so many life experiences that you just can't comprehend until you go through them yourself.  Whenever I hear of a loved one of someone else passing away, I truly hurt for them.  I have so much compassion for those struggling with the death of a loved one.  It is so hard and I feel for them.  My cousin Darcee lost her 4 year old son, Keith, just over a year ago to cancer and at the time I felt so bad for her and her family.  They were constantly in our prayers during his whole battle with that terrible sickness.  But now, after losing my dad, I have an entirely different perspective and hurt so much for her and her family.  

Part of me just tries not to think about it.  If I don't think about it, I won't cry right?  Keep it out of my memory and just try to go on with life.  Then I feel so guilty and mad.  I don't want to not think about it.  I want to remember my dad and how he was the funnest guy to be around.  I want to remember the way he smelled and the sound of his voice.  I want to remember how hard he laughed when my brothers told old stories and how uncomfortably hard he gave hugs.  I want to feel the pain that comes with death because if not, it's like I'm trying to forget about him.  

I don't want my life to feel normal without him.  

Every stupid Beach Boys song I hear brings me to tears.  I have cried everyday, minus like two, since my dad passed away.  It's more than I've cried in my entire life.  Sometimes I cry because I'm sad.  Sometimes I cry because I'm mad, or confused.  I still struggle to understand it sometimes. I know there are stages of grief that people go through but something is wrong with me because depending on the day, I'm a different stage.  Sad. Mad. I still don't think it's real.  When I see his obituary hanging on my fridge, or the disc that reads, "Rick Smart's Funeral."  I hate it so much. I can't believe it's real.
 And I know my dad would be so ticked at me if he were reading this blog.  He'd say, "Rachey, you're being ridiculous!"

Since he died I have actually had a hard time writing on here.  It sounds so silly, but he was my number one reader of this stupid blog.  Every post I did he'd have me read it to him like seriously five times and then twice more after that.  He was constantly saying, "Now read me the comments one more time." 
 I loved it.  
I loved how he made me feel like every silly post was so dang important. It made blogging so much more fun.  I seriously thought after he died I was just going to be done blogging.  I didn't care anymore.  Then I stopped and actually thought about it and realized I need to keep doing it for my kids.  They will probably like to read through and at least look at the photos someday.  So if not for me or my dad, then I will blog for my kids.

My dad is still the #1 speed dial on my phone.  I can't bring myself to change it.

He would call me every morning and ask how my night was.  "Did Pearl sleep okay?"  "Do you guys want to go get a donut or go to the Dollar Store?"  I can't believe how much I miss those calls.  I still listen to this one voicemail on my phone.  He didn't even know he was leaving it at the time but it's so cute.  My dad was constantly humming.  He didn't even notice that he'd do it.  All of our childhood videos my dad filmed, have him humming in the background.  It's the best.  But on this voicemail he is talking to my mom for part of it and then his humming starts up.  I love it so much.

The other weird thing about death is the fear I have that someone else close to me is going to die.  What a terrible thing to worry about I know.  So cynical.  I guess I just see how scary and final it really is and hate to think if I lost someone else in my life.

And I can't stop myself from thinking, "He should be here."
At Ricker's baby blessing.  At Pearl's second birthday party.  Sitting on the back row at church sneaking and passing candy around.  "He should be here."

I feel bad for my cute mom.  She has been so unbelievably strong throughout these past few months.  We've cried together and reminisced about the Ricker.   Although Cher has never been a complainer, I know she is so so sad.  I constantly wonder what I can do to take her sadness away, but I know there's nothing.  It's really hard to have such a gaping hole in my life and I can't even imagine hers.  She is so strong.  Stronger than she knows.

At my dad's funeral so many people attended.  It was special to see how many people really cared about my dad.  I had family drive 20+ hours, book expensive last minute flights, ect to make sure they were there.  It was so nice of them.  I feel bad because I didn't feel like I was overly friendly at his funeral and I want to apologize if I didn't get the chance to talk with you or catch up!  I really do feel bad because a lot of you I don't get to see that often.  And I feel bad I didn't get a big family photo of all who attended.  Such a regret!  I'm sorry.

It was a bittersweet day.  Bitter because we were all realizing how much he will be missed. Sweet because it was a whole day dedicated to recognize and celebrate my dad's life.  I hope you know I don't write this post for pity.  Everyone has their own set of struggles they are given in life.  I write this post to hopefully help someone who is going through the same thing as me.  I understand, at least partially, what you are going through.  And it is so hard and seems so unfair.  I have never struggled with depression or constant sadness in my life. Ever.  I feel like one of my talents in this life is the ability to always be happy.  This sounds dumb, but happiness has always come very easy to me.  But after losing my dad I feel a sadness I've never known.  I know it is to be expected losing such a big part of your life and I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just miss him.

 I know we will see our lost loved ones again someday.  They are okay and closer than we think.  I see it when I look into sweet Baby Ricker's eyes and realize he is fresh from heaven.  My little miracle fresh from Heaven.  Though death, at times, seems so final I know it's not.  The Lord has a plan and everything will be okay.

My 83 year old grandma has now buried several loved ones including three of her children as well as her husband of 50+ years, Big El.  I asked her how she got through so many hard times?  As Grandma Phyl Phyl says, "Life isn't always easy, but it's always good.  There will be sad days, but just look for the good in every day."
So that's what I'm going to do.

My good for today:
Last night I had a dream I got to talk to my dad!  It was the first dream where I realized he wasn't alive anymore:(  (In all of my dreams he is still alive.) My mom and I were asking how he was doing.  His words, "I'm great.  Don't worry about me!  They have me running the Snack Bar up here and I'm kicking butt!"  Ha ha, yup.  Sounds about right.  What a funny thing to dream.  When I woke up this morning I couldn't help but smile remembering the happy expression on my dad's face in my ridiculous dream.
Find the good in every day.  Even if in a silly dream.


Abbie Guerrero said...

This is so hard for me to read because I do know exactly what you are going through. The things you brought up, I have gone through or am currently going through. I have had dreams about my Dad, dancing with him actually. Since it's been 11 years since he's been gone, I don't have as many memories as I would like. That is why I wrote my book so that the memories that I do have, will stay permanent and I have other people that help me with their versions or their stories. You do need to keep blogging. I think it's a good way for you and your family to remember your Dad. You and me sound very alike. I am always trying to be happy and stay positive. There are times where we aren't always going to be that way and you have to come to the realization that it is okay to cry. All your feelings are valid. There are so many emotions and even now I have a hard time with the fact that my Dad is gone. He won't see me get married, he didn't see me graduate, he won't see his grandchildren. But one thing is for certain, he will be proud of me and my accomplishments and I know your Dad is proud of you as well. Please let me know if you need anything. I know we don't know each other very well but if you ever need to talk, I am seriously okay with you pouring your heart out. This is a hard time and I would love to talk to you.

Bryndee Slade said...

This made me cry. Thanks for being so open and so real. It's okay to feel all these things and I think acknowledging them will help you more than you know. Also, in the scriptures, just as Lehi's was "a dream", it wasn't just a dream. It really is a way for our loved ones to communicate with us. And that is sounds like your dad's sense of humor to joke in that manner. These are gifts from Heavenly Father that allow your dad to comfort you. I think you're amazing and I'm glad to know you.

Bryndee Slade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janeal said...

Oh, Rachel. Thank you for writing this. My heart hurts for you. I know what you mean about being afraid of someone close to you dying. Thinking about that literally keeps me up at night. I hope you don't feel bad for being sad. It's normal. How sad you are now just shows what a great dad you had. (I feel like I'm rhyming too much now!) You are an incredibly strong person for even bearing this! I admire you.

Mindy said...

Dang, I've got tears all over my sweater now Rach! So sad but really such a nice post. I think you are stronger than you think too! I know you have been sad but the thing I have admired most about you and every single person in your family is they are still trying to make the best of everything, Ricker would be proud of that. I loved your dream, and now I am just really stoked that there is a good chance snacks will be Heaven. I am so excited your keeping up the blog, cause I love it.

Mindy said...

*served in

Greg, Heather and Family..... said...

What an awesome tribute to your Dad. I know when my Brother and Sister in law lost their 2 week old Ruby, she used her blog as a release and therapy of sorts. Even though its hard to think about, and hard to write. One day you may look back on these post and realize how much they helped you get through this. I love that dream, it does sound right! :) He is letting you know he is Happy and OK and that is comfort right there. Love you Rach

Robby said...

I just cried so hard. I am so sorry that you (and I know Rangi, and I'm sure everyone else in the family) have to go through this. It does seem totally unfair to have lost such a great man. I remember when we all went to Disneyland (can't remember why we were all there... wedding festivities?) and a couple of you were giving your dad a hard time for hugging Ariel so close that she appeared to be genuinely uncomfortable. You all were saying that the only way he knows how to hug is hard. So funny and cute. And post all the sad stuff you need to. We all love reading it. It's good to go through it all and therapeutic to have an outlet. :) Hang in there!!

Lauren said...

Rach, I'm still so sorry for your loss. I didn't know your dad too personally, and most of the reason why I do is from your blog. He's seemed like such a bitchin' dude, and clearly bitchin' extends in the after life.

Death is hard. And it's okay to say that it is. And it might be a hard for a long time. But like your Grandma said. There is always great and good in every day.

You're doing great and it WILL get better. I promise you that.

Also, there's nothing a little ice cream wouldn't help. So if you're ever needing an ice cream buddy. I'm here for ya girl!

Sydney said...

Rach! This makes me so sad. Nothing can replace the Grand Canyon sized whole that your dad left when he passed. You are all so strong! I have to say I hope you never stop blogging about your dad - I love reading about special memories and crazy things you did together. I seriously ache for your family. Death does suck. But you have such a good support system in your family and like you said, your dad would want to read each blog post seven times! I thought that was so cute. Your dad was amazing. Love you all!

Just SO said...

I understand a little bit how you feel. I've lost my dad too. I miss him. I have had moments when it hits me so hard that it takes my breath away. Even years later. And that is okay. The tears that you have each day are okay.

There is a quote about grief that I have found that I love. And I have found it to be a truth.

"Grief never ends...But it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor lack of faith...
It is the price of love."

I cherish those moments when I can feel my dad near. Like the dream that you had of your dad. Those are moments that make the hard times easier.


Sara said...

Oh Rachel, I have rewritten this comment like five times because really there are no words, just tears. I don't ever want to forget Ricker and I really don't want my kids to. We miss him and especially his phone calls and messages (classic Ricker). I know I love it when he has the brothers tell one of his favorite family stories and then dies laughing. For the first real time in my life I can't wait to see someone in heaven again.

Sara said...

Thanks for the post Rach. Jillian was just saying tonight that she missed Ricker. We told her she would see him again in heaven. She said "I want to see him in this world." It was sad. We all miss him. Hang in there. Love you. Rangi

Darcee said...

Rachel, I don't know what to say except that I appreciate your honesty and I've felt so similar over the past year. Grief is such a crazy, strange thing, especially when you're used to being happy. And you don't want to forget but it hurts so much to remember. I'm so sorry. Ricker was the best. He is greatly missed. Love you guys. You and your family are still in my thoughts and prayers. I'll read this post again, for Ricker. :)

Sheila Smart said...

Rachel, what a great tribute to your amazing Dad. I hope you never stop blogging, you are a great writer and I think it helps through the ongoing grieving process. There will come a time when the happy days will outweigh the bad days but it seems to take forever to get to that point. Please know that you and your family continue to be in our prayers. I just love your entire family. Hang in there!

meg bird said...

"I'm great. Don't worry about me! They have me running the Snack Bar up here and I'm kicking butt!"

That dream does sound pretty silly, but at the same time, not! I didn't know your dad, but from what you've said, it totally sounds like something he'd say. Maybe he wanted to give you a way to laugh today.

You're beautiful, Rach. And have such a beautiful life. And I don't say that trying to convince you to be happier, because that is not what I mean at all. You have every right to be sad and angry and all of those things that come with this experience. But I have always admired your ability to be happy and to light up a room. Seriously, everything was always SO much more fun when you were there. I'm really grateful for these posts about your dad. It's good for you and those who read.

You and your dad's relationship makes me cry every time - you are so close. Dads really are the best at making you feel as though every little thing you do is the most important and impressive thing ever. I'm sure because they really do feel that way.

I don't know how to end this, but I love you! And pray for you.

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing this, Rachel. I'm Heather and I was wondering if you could answer a quick question about your blog. If you could email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com that would be great :-)

Annabelle said...

this is sad i miss him so much !!!!!!!!!!! t

Alea Peters said...

Rachel, I was thinking about you today. I read this post again and it makes me cry and smile at the same time.

I wonder if your dad gets to read your blog in heaven? And I have no doubt he's keeping busy! I always wondered if we got to eat in heaven. I couldn't imagine such happiness without good food... When I die I'm stopping by the snack bar to see your dad first thing. :)

Thinking of you!!!


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I love being a red head. My husband is goofy. We both love Chuck a rama. I love antiques, miniature things, and Diet Mountain Dew. My Motto, "Life is RRRRReeeeeeeally Guuuud!" -Nacho.