Lately, I’ve been annoyed with my dishwasher because it’s been acting up, which means I have to wash my dishes manually. (Ugh, first world problems). This morning, though, I remembered when my father taught me the proper order for washing dishes to ensure that every dish was sparkling clean. First, you start with hot, soapy water. Then you let the silverware and utensils soak as you wash the cups and glasses first, then the plates and bowls, and finally the pots and pans. Although I usually HATE the chore of washing dishes, this morning I appreciated that time to reflect on how blessed I am to have had that time with my father.
10 years ago, on February 6, 2010, I lost my bff, my father, my Daddy, Milan Cloud. He was only 49 years old. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was exactly 2 weeks from my 23rd birthday, and was just about to head out with my roommate and childhood friend, Shannon, to another friend’s birthday party. We had grabbed our “freakum” dresses, heels, and makeup so we could get cute at our friend’s hotel room and paint the town red. We were locking the door to our apartment when I got the call that my Daddy was no longer with us. Because my dad had been sick for a very long time, I braced myself for that phone call every single time I saw my mother’s name come across my caller ID. But this time, I wasn’t ready. I was totally caught off guard. I had no idea how much my life would change after that day.
The last few months have allowed me a lot of time to reflect on how the absence of my father has affected me, the decisions I make, and just how I move in the world. On one hand, it’s caused me to re-evaluate what’s important in my life. It also motivates me to do as much as I can, as soon as I can, because only God knows how much time I have on this earth. With this, however, comes a lot of pressure to always achieve without leaving much time for rest. I also realize that the loneliness and void of losing my father has caused me to make unwise decisions when it comes to romantic partners.
Knowing this, I have taken a step back to get to know myself on a deeper level, being compassionate with myself as I unlearn old habits and behaviors that may have served as temporary fixes and defense mechanisms to underlying issues I’ve only recently become aware. I have also learned to be gentle and kind with myself, and to have faith that there is no need to rush God’s timing. Everything happens in its time and I will enjoy the ride instead of always trying to take the driver’s seat. I’ve also learned to accept that no one can ever replace my father’s presence and love. Although I am grateful for these lessons, I would have preferred to learn them and still have my Dad to talk to and laugh with, about all the shenanigans I’ve gotten myself into over the years.
I miss my Dad and I think about him every single day. And although I wish I could say it gets easier, it hasn’t. I’ve just gotten better at compartmentalizing and suppressing my feelings until I feel comfortable or ready to deal with it all. I always think about what all he’s missed out on, like me moving across the country to pursue my dreams of law school and becoming a lawyer. I also think about what I’m missing out on, like the long talks we would have, his very straightforward advice, the words of validation he would provide, and him walking me down the aisle as I marry the man God created for me one day.
Although I may no longer have my Dad here with me on earth, I know that he is looking down on me from heaven as my very own personal guardian angel. I didn’t know how I would feel today and I expected to be in tears literally all day. But I know that’s not what my Daddy would want for his Babe. He would want me to be happy that he was ever here, and to continue living my best life and making him proud. So that’s exactly what I intend to do. I love you Daddy!
xoxo Ash a.k.a. Babe ❤