It's hard to believe that you've been gone a year already. Most days, I still can't believe it. Never in a million years did I think that we'd have to say goodbye to you so soon. To me, you were the man who could never die. There was nothing that you couldn't make it through. I never considered that someday, you wouldn't be here.
That day haunts me. At the time, it went by in a complete blur. But as the year has gone on, little things come back when I least expect them to, like when I drive past the hospital or hear a beep that sounds like one of the machines. I remember staring at the flat line hoping for even the slightest movement. But it never came. I remember telling everyone that I thought you were okay and then had no idea how I was going to tell them you were gone. I don't even know how or when everyone got there, but it seemed like I turned around and there they were. I see you laying there, lifeless. The man that I called Dad for 34 years, was gone, just like that. No chance to say goodbye, no chance to tell you everything that I would have wanted you to know.
I hope that in your final moments you knew how loved you were, not just by us, but by everyone who ever knew you. We hated you being gone so much, but we knew everything you did, you did for us; to give us the life you thought we deserved. The lessons you taught me are ones that have molded who I am. When I do something around the house, I'm proud to say I know how to do this because "I'm Wally's daughter". Whether I was right or wrong, you always supported my decision. You let me learn, but we're always there to help me get back on my feet. You might throw in a sly, "I told ya so", but always with the best intentions. If we called you and needed you, you were there. If you could help someone, you did. You were the best.
Losing you has left a Dad-shaped hole is my heart. Mom is the glue that holds us together, but you were our rock. No matter what job needed to be done or what advice we might need, you always seemed to have the right tool or the right answer. You were everyone's go-to guy.
I know you are always near. And when I get that gut feeling that something just isn't right or I should make a certain choice, that's when I feel your guidance. I know it sounds silly. But I'm half of you, we'll always have a connection. I don't take those feelings lightly, I know it's you helping me through life. Then there's those times that your song pops up on my iPod, or I smell your cologne. Or when Ryan looks at your picture and smiles. I know he knows you, I don't know how, but he does. In some ways, that little boy is so much like you. When he's concentrating he puckers his lips and scrunched his eye brows, just like you did. He even has your weird toe. How I wish you were here to meet him. You would have gotten a kick out of him. You were so proud to have 4 grandsons. And they were so unbelievably lucky to have you. I know you helped make sure Ryan was okay.
Brandon talks about you a lot. Sometimes I cry and he says to me, "don't cry mom, he's always with us". He's wise beyond his years. He's growing up so fast. I'm so happy he got almost 5 years with you and I hope he always remembers you. I'll never forget how proud you were the first time you held him. And the first time we came to the boat, you paraded him all over the marina.
Nothing is quite the same anymore. There are times when I have gone to pick up the phone to call you or I'll say, "Dad would like this". I still watch the planes fly over and wonder if that one is yours.
Time is now measured in "before Dad"and "after Dad" and nothing will be like before again.
I miss you so very much. Thank you for always loving me and teaching me the things I'd need to learn through life, you just never taught me how to do this without you.
I love you, Dad. Until we meet again...