Friday, July 11, 2014
I can't believe you've been gone exactly 5 years today. It seems like just yesterday that I was sneaking into the hospital to see you. I haven't forgotten what you looked like, even without the aid of pictures. I occasionally forget what your voice sounded like but it eventually comes back to me.
I've kept the promises I made to you minutes before you passed. I'm taking care of mom as best as I can. She hasn't been too happy about it at times (especially when I had to restrict and change her diet when her cholesterol levels came back dangerously high) but she knows I do it for her benefit. Between Pedro and I, she's well taken care of.
Speaking of Pedro, he's stepped up big for mom and I. Up until his move to Texas, he was always here for us whenever we needed him. He would even show up unannounced at times, which was always fun when we had a messy living room. He was there for every academic award I received, for every birthday (until his move), and he was at my graduation ceremony with the boys a couple of years ago. He's still in touch and he's even offered to take mom in if I decided to go out of state for grad school. I most likely won't take him up on it but it's nice of him to offer.
As I promised you, I finished college and am even back for a second degree in a different field. I didn't promise that I would continue beyond the Bachelor of Arts I received from my (awful) alma mater but I know you knew I'd continue to go as far as I could. Your daughter's still an academic nerd, daddy-o. I thank you and mom for instilling the importance of a good education in me.
I've grown up a lot in the last 5 years... and I didn't even notice it until it was pointed out. I know you were worried about how I would do without you here to help me but you'd be proud of what I've accomplished. Mom told me about how you were worried that my anxiety would either get worse or would keep me from reaching my potential, but it hasn't. I've been driving for a couple of years now (yeah, I know... no one thought I would ever get the courage to do that!) and I'm even occasionally sarcastic with some of the drivers who test my patience. I don't let people walk all over me like they used to. Mom says I'm almost exactly like Abuelita Angelita which I know you'd be happy with; I know how much you loved her.
As soon as I was officially diagnosed with PTSD, my therapist helped me sort through the things that brought them on. While it's impossible for me not to have a little anxiety now and then, it's nowhere near as bad as it used to be. It hasn't kept me from moving forward... and I have been moving forward.
You taught me to have courage so I've been tapping into that with the help of my spiritual director. I've made big changes in the past year. I bit the bullet and changed careers. The COMD program is very hard but I love it and I'm really happy being a part of it. I'm not afraid of hard work and I know it'll be rewarding in the end. And, surprise, I'm going to end up working with kids... and it won't be teaching in a classroom. ;)
I've recently made a decision in regards to something I've been putting off for years. Yes, it's time. Yes, I know I've had dreams in which you've offered your fatherly advice on the subject but Fr. G told me not to pay too much attention to those dreams for obvious reasons. You helped raise a strong, independent young woman who is a little on the stubborn and feisty side at times so I should be fine whatever the outcome. lol.
As you can see, I'm doing well and I will continue to grow and thrive. I do occasionally cry when I think about the fact that you're not here. I cried on my graduation day and I'll probably cry again at the next one (hopefully) next year. I will more than likely cry every time I reach a major milestone in my life that you're not there for; that will never change. However, the fact that I know you're not suffering and that I'm (hopefully) making you proud keeps me going. I know you'll be there in spirit and that's comforting.
You'll never be forgotten and you'll always be loved. I'll continue trying to make you proud.
Your "little" girl,