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One Year Down

Niki Porter 0

As of October 10, 2021 my dad has been gone for a full year. This year has been hectic and hard. So much change has occurred, so many tears have been shed… lots of heartache, lots of times planning ways to honor him and the day has come where there are no more firsts. 

I remember the first night, I didn’t fall asleep until 5am and even then I had just dozed off as my brother sat next to me on the couch. I remember the first morning… it didn’t seem real. That Sunday the 11th was one of the most memorable and spiritual days of my life. Our house felt like it was bursting with angels, I could feel Dad’s presence. The blessings given that day from my brothers helped us continue to have the faith to move forward.

I remember all the kind words, prayers and gestures from all over. All the fasts on my family’s behalf. All the food brought over, the cards, the hugs and the money that helped us create a memorial bench to honor Dad.

Memorial Day 2021

That first week was filled with trips to the funeral home and floral shop, asking people to participate, writing a tribute and having daily grieving attacks. 

I slept in mom’s bed until June after dad died and still find myself back there on hard nights. I couldn’t leave her side. I wouldn’t. My brothers came weekly to be with us and  my Brother and Sister-in-Law even moved in for the rest of the year. I am so blessed with the family I have.

I watched as my mom took on a new role in the family. To say my mom is the strongest woman I know is an understatement. This woman took on the weight of her 4 kids and their families. She continues to be my rock and I have no idea how she does it. 

I have had a hard time this year accepting the realness of the situation. After Dad passed I had so many other things come up that I just kept going and didn’t really stop to think about the reality of what happens next. To be honest I felt like I was doing as good as one would expect, until a month ago.

A month ago I started experiencing more PTSD than I had since everything happened. I was experiencing a lot of separation anxiety but everyone in my family was really patient with me as I began to truly process what happened and the things I experienced that day. 

Three weeks ago I found out that my therapist got a new job and two weeks ago I went in for an evaluation to match me with a new therapist. I think the news of my therapist leaving triggered some feelings of loss and had me start to fear the next steps. This therapist had set aside time to make sure I got in to see them as soon as I was ready after Dad passed. They had helped Dad and I gain a better relationship and we were both starting to understand each other when he passed. 

One of the things that has been hard for me to accept this year is that I don’t get to further that relationship with Dad on this earth. At first, I talked to him more… actually I would email him. I’m sure on occasion I will continue to do it, but I’ve come to accept that he is working on his next mission and I need to also.

I think about how he lost his mom and how much pain I saw him go through. I think about how he taught us to move forward. He knew that this wasn’t the end. I’m trying to follow his example. It’s hard. I often wonder how it was for him mentally. Did he struggle to overcome the loss the same way I am? I usually go to him for advice on these topics so it’s been hard to not be able to. 

I’ve felt him a few times since he passed. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was him. I had always asked him when we talked about death to find a way to let me know that he was okay when he passed. He did.

With having to start with a new therapist, it required me to talk about all my past with a new person. After this Friday I would have shared my life story with 3 new people within a month. I’ve had to allow my mind to think about October 10th and the PTSD has become more noticeable and at some moments debilitating. 

Last week my mom drove my grandma to an appointment and I had the morning to be by myself. As I was passing the great room I looked up and saw the curtains closed on the back door. I immediately was consumed with feelings of that day. I froze and couldn’t think of anything except for when the EMT people shut the curtain to ensure that we didn’t see anything. 

After this happened I sat at my desk as the anxiety rose and ended up texting my oldest brother. He called me and helped me work through the emotions. After Dad passed my oldest brother and his wife decided to move their family closer and because of that, he was able to come over and each lunch with me. I am so thankful for the support system I have and for his willingness to be there for me.

The Cemetary fall of 2020

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these past few weeks and have decided that it’s time to move forward. Not just that it’s time but that I want to.

Dad would want it that way. He would want to see my family and I progress and do things that make us happy. He did. After his mom died he kept moving forward. He still teared up, he still struggled, life wasn’t perfect but he lived it.

Oh, what a year…

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone. My family and I have truly felt your prayers and love. I could not have asked to live in a better place during this time. The support from my community continues to astound me. You are all amazing.

I say this in every post because I mean it… you got this!

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