Thursday, August 6, 2015

I Still Can't Believe He's Gone

7 years and 3 months ago, my dad passed away. It was the hardest thing I've ever dealt with in my life. In August of 2007, he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma (terminal brain cancer). He passed away nine months later. My dad spent most of his life battling Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but was hardly ever "sick" a day in my life. He never had the flu, a cold, strep throat. My dad dealt with his MS so well--he didn't let it stop him. He still shot hoops with us in the driveway and took us to the mall (as a father of three girls) and walked through at his own pace. Every once and awhile his MS would slow him down, but he managed it. 

When he was diagnosed with brain cancer, it was the biggest shock of my life. I never thought my parents were going to get that sick, let alone at the age of 50. I was 26 at the time, and losing one of my parents never crossed my mind. My mom had cancer years before, but came out of it alright. Twice. I thought my dad's diagnosis would pan out in a similar fashion--we'd get my dad treatment, and he'd be fine. Too bad Glioblastoma don't work that way. They gave my dad 6 weeks to live.

My dad shortly after his diagnosis.

My dad quickly went downhill. And eventually lost his battle with brain cancer.

As the years have gone by, it hasn't gotten easier--every day I find something that I wish I could call my dad and tell him about. It just hurts less as time goes on. The ache I used to feel right after my dad's death isn't as raw. The hole is still there, but reality has sunk in over time. I don't wake up anymore thinking he's alive, only to come crashing down minutes later when I remember what actually happened. 

There are so many things that I wish I could share with him by just picking up the phone and calling. He passed before I got married. He never saw me in my wedding dress. He didn't walk me down the aisle. I would love to tell him about my new job, my writing, and my Instagram businesses. He would be so proud of me; he was always good at making sure we [his girls] knew how much he loved us and how proud he was of us. 

Recently, I've been missing my dad quite a bit. A few weeks ago, my mom's dog Bella was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, bone cancer. The vet told my mom she may not make it until Christmas. That was another shock to the heart. 

Me and Bella

Bella was my dad's dog. He loved that baby. Bella is an adorable, stubborn, and loving black lab. She loved my dad more than anything. By Thanksgiving-time the year my dad was diagnosed, he could no longer walk. He lost half his weight and was moved into a hospital bed in our family room. Bella really struggled with this at first. Her "Grampy," as we called him, could no longer take her outside to throw her favorite ball. She could no longer sit on his lap. Bella tried a few times to jump on my dad's hospital bed to lie with him. It hurt my dad too much because his body had become weak. Her life was also changing at the time, but we had no way to communicate it to her. That was tough.

Realizing how sick Bella is really brings back up a lot of the emotions from my dad's last nine months with us. It brings back memories of my dad loving that dog more than anything. Giving his heart so freely and completely. It brings back memories and familiar feelings of loss that are so hard to deal with. I am so sad for Bella. I am so sad for my mom. 

Bella, never far from my mom

Loss is something you never expect, but it eventually comes in some way, form, or manner. It's never easy to deal with, and no matter how many times you've experienced loss, it always catches you off guard. But one thing I've learned in my life is that I'll get through it. It won't be easy, but I can survive. I am going to pet that Bella-boo as much as I can and give her as many kisses as she'll let me. I'm going to visit her as much as I can and lie on my mom's bed with her. I'm going to feed her dog treats and cheese and hug my mom. 

I know we'll get through this. We always do. And I know Bella will one day be back with my dad playing ball and smiling her puppy smile. Please pray for Bella and my mom. This is going to be another hard road to walk down. 

Love and happiness <3 Holly


  1. Holly, I'm so sorry that you're going through this difficult time. Losing a parent is devastating and losing a pet is heartbreaking. I lost my mom when I was a freshman in High school and you're right - you never get over it but you figure out how to keep going on. I have tears as I'm writing this b/c we lost a dog and a cat in the last two years. Our pets are part of our family and it's very difficult to see them sick or in pain or to lose them. Bella is lucky to have you (& your family) to comfort her while she's not feeling well and to make hold her when she's crossing over the Rainbow Bridge. Life is definitely harder when you have a tender heart as you do my friend. I'll keep you and your family in my thoughts. With love....

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Leslie. I am so sorry that you lost your mom. I agree that pets are family as well. It is so hard to know they're going through tough times. And especially losing them is even harder. I am so sorry to hear about your dog and cat as well. Thank you so much. Bella is a sweet girl. You also have a tender heart. I have been thinking about you and your mom. Lots of love to you as well.


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