• Chris

365 Days Without You


April 13th - It’s been 365 days since you left. Some days it’s hard to believe it’s been that long and the pain still feels fresh like it was yesterday. I’ve spent the last few weeks leading up to the anniversary of your death thinking about how I was going to feel or what I was going to do. I thought maybe I’d write about how your death has changed me as a man, a son, and a husband. I contemplated writing about what family life has been like since you left and how we’re all coping. But in the end, only one phrase kept popping into my head…


I miss you.


I miss knowing you were just a phone call away to ask what meds to take when Nikki or I were sick and how you’d constantly check on how we were doing even when you were unwell yourself.


I miss the cute cards you sent us for every holiday, birthday, and special occasion. I miss the words of encouragement and wisdom you’d write in those cards. I keep them all in a box as a reminder.


I miss you.


I miss our “Words with Friends” games and how competitive and fun you were about it. I miss how you’d tease me when you’d block my next move or play a really big point word.


I miss making you laugh. You had a great sense of humor and telling stories or jokes to illicit one of your laughs was a great joy for me. Your laugh was infectious.


I miss you.


I miss the phone calls asking for help with your iPad or internet. I wasn’t always great at trying to fix it over the phone, but Nikki was. I always loved the opportunity to help you place an order online, teach you how to download an app, or buy and set up the latest and greatest iPad for you. You sometimes viewed it as an inconvenience, but it never was.


I miss texting you photos of our new living room set or how we redecorated a room. I got my love of decorating from you and it was always fun to see your latest decor or show you ours.


I miss you.


I miss your reassurances that everything would be alright. We went through so much as a family over the past few years and through it all, you remained calm and positive. You did your best to shield us all from the pain that was coming. You reminded us that you were praying for us constantly and that was so comforting.


I miss your generosity and compassion. You were by far the most compassionate person I’ve ever known. You showed your love for others by helping them. Sometimes it was a kind word, sometimes a meal, sometimes is was a gift, sometimes cash. If you saw someone hurting, you always wanted to do something to help them. You taught me that giving back to a world in need was paramount to the human experience.


I miss you.


I miss your singing. I know I sometimes teased you about it growing up, but all kids do. You loved to sing and looking back it was so beautiful - your endless joy displayed through your love of song.


I miss your cooking. You were a great cook and although I wasn’t always on board with some of your meals (liver and onions…yuck), there was always a warm home-cooked meal on the table growing up. Friends and family still comment about how there were always fresh baked cookies when they would come over. Dad is continuing that cookie tradition and makes cookies just like you taught him.


I miss you.


I miss your hugs. I’ll never forget how you got after me for not hugging you hard or long enough. I was trying to be careful with how much pain you were in, but you weren’t having it. You knew I’d need to remember the depth of each of those hugs long after you’d gone.


I miss your smile. You spent most of my childhood being the one behind the camera documenting everything. Thousands of family photos taken by you, but only a few hundred with you in them. But in almost every photo with you in it, you were smiling. I’m thankful to have so many photos of your smile. Unsurprisingly, everyone commented about how beautiful your smile was on the handout at your funeral, even those who didn’t know you personally.


I miss you.


I miss the way you supported me in everything I did - school events, church plays, band shows - you were always there. Your support meant more to me than I probably ever could have told you. You were always proud of me regardless of how little the achievement may have been in my eyes. Your support provided a cushion to fail and the encouragement to succeed at everything in life.


I miss how much you loved Nikki. Since the moment you met her, she was part of our family. You loved how smart, driven, and love-able she is. You never really approved of any of my previous girlfriends or dates, but with Nikki it was instant. You always called her your daughter and that meant the world to me.


I miss you.


I miss seeing you and Dad together. You’d been through so much the two of you. Your love was always on display for everyone to see. You showed Nikki and I every day how to navigate the good times and the bad times together as a team. Having such a loving example shown to us daily was one of the greatest gifts you ever gave us.


I miss your voice. 365 days is a long time to go without hearing it. I’ve got a couple of saved voicemails I listen to now and then when I’m feeling strong enough. I’m trying hard not to forget the sound of your voice.


I miss you.


I miss how on my worst days, you’d text or call and ask if everything was ok, as if you magically knew when I needed you the most. You were aways there for me.


I miss the opportunity to tell you any of this. I wish for just one day, I could sit you down and tell you everything I never said or didn’t say enough. I wish I could embrace you one last time and never let go. I wish I could hear you say you love me just one more time. I wish we had more time - it wasn’t enough and it will never be.


I miss you.


Love, Chris 💔