Ten years ago this week, I left for a trip to Ireland with three of my theater friends. We were going in honor of my friend's 30th birthday, and we basically covered the country in six days. It was phenomenal. But this isn't about that.
I have had an image stuck in my head for the past couple of days. It's from when I was leaving my parents' house (that was where my friends were picking me up for the trip). I remember as we were pulling out of the driveway, my Mom, Dad, and niece Samantha were waving goodbye. My niece was only three at the time; just a baby, really.
I didn't know then that just over a year later, I would say goodbye to my Dad for good.
This time of year can be so difficult for me, even nine years after he died (February 22nd is the nine-year anniversary). Even after so much time, the sad moments - the ones that really stop me in my tracks - crop up out of nowhere. And usually they are insignifcant, like the one where they were waving goodbye as I left for my big trip.
I feel about 100 years older now; my life has changed so much, and when I think of that girl getting in the car, she seems like a kid version of myself, even though I was 25 and gainfully employed. But over the next two years, my life would feel like a punching bag, getting socked over and over with bad news. Those years -from 26-28 - affected me the most out of any others in my life. They made me weaker, stronger, and much more adult (although many times it doesn't seem that way).
I just wish he could have seen me now.