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Hidden Treasures

Niki Porter 0

“Sometimes you have to be apart from people you love, but that doesn’t make you love them any less. Sometimes you love them more.” -The Last Song

These past 4 months have been hectic, so much change, so much emotions… it’s felt a lot longer. But amidst all the chaos I honestly think I have never loved my dad more.

For the first month, I kept trying to tell myself that I can’t miss him as much as others. In my mind we annoyed each other, we poked at each other, I wasn’t as close to him as my brothers. I have since realized that is a bunch of bull. That my friends, is denial.

The actually missing him didn’t hit me until my family moved on with their lives and mom and I were left just us at home. The moment my brother and his wife left after living with us for 3 months I just bawled. How was I going to live here without dad? 

It was so quiet, I just barely started sleeping in my own room again. Everything reminds me of him, I felt guilt for sitting in his chair, guilt for having my tv too loud or the hall light on. Leaving my room at night felt foreign because I didn’t have to tiptoe to not interrupt his personal time. 

I sit at my study desk with the door open and his office is empty. I don’t hear the coke bottles drop when he needs a new one, I don’t hear the playful teasing between him and mom. It’s been so different.

However, even with all the silence, I still feel him. This house is filled with memories. Each log reminds me of him. When I look at the ceiling I think of the multiple times where we’d think they looked right and he’d change his mind. Mom and I would have to move them from place to place, sand them and put a new coat of stain on them. 

I see his sawmill and remember how I became a lumberjack. Countless weekends up cove using chainsaws and loading these huge logs onto his make-shift trailer. He’d drive the skid steer while I’d used the grappling hook. It drove me nuts how complicated he made things but then we’d finish and he’d offer lunch. 

We keep finding all these hidden treasures of his. I was looking through his email account after he passed and found all the emails I sent him and that he sent me on my mission. I thought I had lost those forever. I read them and ironically he is still giving me advice today.

Some of the things we found have made us burst out laughing. For example my brother couldn’t find the triangle ruler and we searched and searched. Finally he went out and bought a new one. A week later my other brother is cleaning my dad’s office and picks up the wireless keyboard to find that dad had taped the triangle ruler to it to make the keyboard easier to use.

My personal favorite treasure came as I looked through his box of all his paper memories. I came across all these birthday and fathers day cards I gave him. I opened one from 2015 and in it there was 15 dollars in cash. The card says “I want you to go and buy yourself something with this money! You deserve it!” 5 years later and he didn’t spend it. Because of that, I was able to surprise mom with a shutterfly calendar for Christmas.

Recently in regards to my OCD recovery, I have been making big strides. At times I feel guilty moving forward, I feel guilty that I didn’t do these steps while dad was here. Truth be told, as much as I miss my dad, I think this was all a part of God’s plan. 

Dad always said that I’d be able to do hard things when I needed to. He was absolutely right, that day that I needed to get help I didn’t have time to think about falling or my OCD. I needed to get help and be there for my mom. I needed to as calmly as possible call my brothers.

The weeks after that I needed to buck up and be there for those who I loved. I needed to use every ounce of strength to be present. I am amazed that I made it through the services and the changes that came next before I had my meltdowns.

I’m not saying that I didn’t have my moments though. There have been many nights in the past month where I just cry. Where every part of me hurts and I just hug my mom and wish for the pain to go away. There are times when I just want a priesthood blessing from my dad and he’s not here. It sucks but I know that God is watching over me.

Dad’s passing was tragic and sudden but he left us doing what he loved. He left after serving our neighbor. The last time I saw him he was driving the skidsteer up to the deck with a big box of potatoes our neighbor had given him for helping. His smile was big and he was happy.

I am thankful for all the memories I have with him. I am so blessed to have had these past 27 years with him. Without him I wouldn’t be who I am. He taught me hard work, he taught me how to serve and he taught me how to grieve. 

I hope if you are struggling with loss that you remember God’s love for you. That you can focus on the good memories and allow yourself to feel the pain. It’s not fun but it’s the only way you will move forward. And as always remember You Got This!

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