I can't believe it's now been over two months since I got to hang out with my dad on this earth. There are still times when, for a second, I think I can still text him about something I want to tell him, and then reality hits. For the most part, though, I do my best to get through the day as normal as possible. After all, life continues on, and I have a family to look after and love. And there is joy in every day, even when things are really hard.
Someone recently asked me when the grief hits me the hardest. At first, it was every morning when I woke up and knew I wouldn't get a Wordle text from him.
Then, it was nighttime when outside; the cold darkness made me feel very alone before noticing the stars, which made me feel close to him.
There's also something about driving through a small town. Though my dad lived in cities for medical school and in the Navy, and loved traveling to bustling locales, he was a small town guy. He loved living where he knew everyone and felt a real sense of community and goodness.
When I see someone helping someone with a door or reaching something on a top shelf at a store, I think of him. He was such a gentleman.
As my cousin Andrew said of my dad on the day he died, "Uncle Jeff left a trail of goodness in his wake." My dad continues to inspire me to be the best person I can be.
When I see precious kiddos, I think of my dad. He was a pediatrician and loved babies.
In a nutshell, he is everywhere, yet also not here. That's hard to understand some days, but it makes me feel better to talk about him and think of him even though I miss him like crazy.
But the biggest thing to bring out the waterworks for me in grieving my dad is music. My dad loved music. He played the piano and organ at church; he was the drum major in his high school marching band. And, man, did he love a powerful organ! When someone really plays it well, I feel like he is sitting right beside me.
When Josh Groban's "You're Still You" came on the Sonos last night while I was cleaning up dinner, I couldn't think of a better song to dedicate to my dad. Through all of the struggles ALS brought to him, he was so strong, faithful, grateful and reassuring.