Friday, January 19, 2018

Three Weeks

Three Weeks today.  It has been three weeks, and the tears are still falling and falling and falling.  I learned this week that it is ok to take my time and grieve on my timeline.  There was a moment that I was feeling rushed and embarrassed for still grieving so hard, but this is my journey, and I plan on honoring and walking through the pain. Unfortunately, our culture does expect people to grieve quickly and move on.  I think it is because grief makes other people uncomfortable.  Even Ian is struggling with my sadness - it is tough for him to see me in so much pain. He wants to fix it for me, but that's just not possible.

I believe that friends thought after the memorial service I would have "closure," but I do not. I am glad we honored my dad and that friends and family were able to say their goodbyes, but I am not sure I am ready for closure. 

Closure: a feeling that an emotional or traumatic experience has been resolved.

Am I supposed to turn off my grief because we’ve had a memorial for my dad?  I’m STILL grieving.  My body aches, my heart hurts, and my mind races all of the time. Nothing for me is resolved.

I can’t sleep. I want to sleep.  
I can’t eat. I want to eat.  
My body aches. Please stop aching.  
My heart hurts. Please stop hurting. 
My body is filled with dread.  What am I dreading? Life without my dad? I can’t make the feeling go away.  

Grief is very different for everyone who experiences it. Grief is messy and ugly and exhausting. 

There are days that I don't get out of bed, days that I don't shower; everything feels so cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Right now I am focusing on one breath, one step, repeat.  I will continue to share my grief - honesty begins with us - it begins with me. There is no reason to rush through it - if it makes someone else feel uncomfortable, then that is their problem, not mine.  I do not say that unkindly but rather to let others know that it is ok to grieve when and where and how you need to. 

One Breath. One Step. Repeat. 

Dad's presence will always be with me - all I have to do is look in a mirror and he's right there. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Celebration of Life for Dad

On Saturday, January 13th we had a private family memorial for my dad at his house.  It was perfect! My cousin, Jeff spoke loving words about my dad and our family.  We watched a beautiful slideshow of dad with beautiful music, my step-mom, Jeri and I both read personal eulogies, and my sweet girls tried to read a poem, but both broke down, so I took over and read it for them - how did I do that?  It broke my heart to see them so sad. Afterwards, we had a lovely family dinner provided by my mom and her family,  Jeri's sister's family, & Tracy Williams.  My amazing friends, Shay, Rachael, and Alice put it all together and cleaned up for us - I do not know how we would have gotten it all done without them.

Afterwards, we went to my dad's local hangout, Volcano's Sports Bar and Grill where we had a public memorial with over 150 of his friends and members of his shuffleboard family.  It was live-streamed and watched by hundreds of others that loved my dad.  He was honored for his service as a Vietnam Vet with the playing of Taps, and there was a presentation of a folded American flag to Jeri. Then to end the service, there was a sign dedication for my dad's "corner" in the bar. My dad didn't drink alcohol so I love they also included his favorite non-alcoholic beer, ODoul's with the sign. Ian gave a beautiful toast and then there was a huge shuffleboard tournament in his honor with over 70 participants.  Special thanks to those that helped make this happen! Barb, Bethany, Shane and all of the others that donated!

Instead of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in my dad's name to Camp Sweeney. I do not know the total amount raised for Camp Sweeney at this time, but Dad's shuffleboard family raised over $1,000 plus there have been countless other donations, so I am hopeful that we have raised enough to send at least one camper in his name this summer.  I feel so honored and appreciative.

Saturday was much easier for me than I imagined I told myself I would get through it to make my dad proud and I did.  Plus, being surrounded by friends and family that love my dad I felt a sense of comfort surrounding me. The day after the memorial for my dad has been wonderful and awful. I woke up surrounded by friends and family at my dad’s house. I believe Saturday I was going through the motions. Being brave for my family and my children. Once I got home yesterday, I was once again overwhelmed with grief.  Now it’s about reality and trying to figure out how to get back into a world that doesn’t include my dad anymore. It’s almost like starting over, back at square one. I feel heavy.  That is the only way I have been able to describe it.  My grief is weighing me down, making it hard to do anything other than cry and sleep (which only happens if medicated). I keep watching the same movie over and over; I find it hard to do anything required of me including mom-ing, work, housework, laundry and I cannot watch live TV or be on social media to see that the life is indeed going on without my dad. It is all so difficult.

I want to share what I wrote for my dad and read at his memorial:

For all of the hardest things in my life, my dad has been beside me, held me up, and hugged me when I cried.  Today though It feels like half of me is missing.  There are no adequate words to describe the emptiness, the pain, the absolute heartbreak. I don’t even know how to live in a world without my dad.  I thought for a moment I was out of tears, but they continue to fall and fall and fall.  At times it’s hard to breathe, and my body aches to hug him one more time.  I feel broken.  

My dad was someone different for each of you here but... this is my dad for me... He is easy going. He is also fierce and not to be messed with. He is all the cuss words that you can imagine. He is my way or the other my way but never your way. He is Elton John and blackjack in Vegas. He is homemade vanilla ice cream and spaghettios at Gran and Don's on Sunday afternoon. He is game night and dominoes. He is softball all day long. He is the patience that taught me to water ski and to drive a car - now that I think about it perhaps someone else should have handled the 2nd one.  He’s my tow truck driver. My go-to banker. And repo man. He is a Vietnam Veteran. He is GFC, Quality Paint and Body, Charlie Browns, Northwest National Bank, Tarrant Bank and the Corporate Image. He is Williams Shuffleboard. He got me through a rough patch or two.  He has wiped away my tears, spanked my butt, bailed me out of jail and out of debt. He’s a hundred dollar bill just because.  He is cleanly shaven with a hint of coffee and cigarettes.  He is curly hair and blue eyes.  He is an ice-cold Diet Coke on our long drives. He is my Silent Night, my strength, my temper; he is the best damn shuffleboard player I know. He’s my dad.  He is the Grumpy to my children, and he’s forever in our hearts. 

David, you were my dad’s bother, best friend, confidant, a partner in crime, and always by his side through thick and thin. I know he would want you to stay strong and continue the Williams family legacy in shufflleboard and life.  

My hope for my children is that they have the same strong bond that you and my dad have had since you were children.  I would love to see them grow up and stay as close as the two of you have always been.  

David, I love you very much.  
You’re in charge of all us Williams girls now so ... good luck with that.  ❤️

Jeri, I know at the beginning of our relationship things were strained.  I also know that was my fault.  You’ve always been kind to me, even when I was a shit, and let’s face it - I’m a status level expert at being a shit.  Thank you for never giving up on me.  I’m beyond grateful for your friendship and love. My children couldn't ask for a better Nana! You mean the world to us! 

My dad loved you endlessly - you’ve been a huge blessing to him and the entire Williams family.  I know in my heart and soul that you made Dad a better man. He’s always been perfect in my eyes, but there may have been a tiny bit of room for improvement - - - I’m so happy that my children had the best Grumpy ever.  Thank you for loving him and us so wonderfully.  

It is extremely difficult to speak at the memorial of the man that has served as the narrator of my life. In the hours and days since his death, it feel like I’ve lost my words. I suppose it’s because he was the person that provided me with so many of them. 

Dad, your love, your patience (and sometimes lack thereof), your understanding, your wisdom and your fantastic sense of humor mixed with the ability to say everything without saying anything at all will live on inside us forever.  

You have given us gifts that are more precious than anything in this world.  Goodbye, Dad.  You will always live on in my heart. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Waves on the Eve of My Birthday

I finally understand what people mean by the waves now.  They come up fast and continue to knock me over; sometimes without any warning.  Driving, sitting, doing laundry. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason.  This morning I was productive -I went to have lunch with Nate, ordered some groceries, and went to the bank.  Then this afternoon as I was trying to nap I was so overcome with grief it scared me.  Every inch of my body was hurting, and I could not cry hard enough or scream loud enough.

Later in the day I pulled it together and went and picked up the groceries and it hit me again out of nowhere while I was driving. There is nothing that prepares you for losing a parent. I've found much comfort in words of those that have already walked this path or are currently walking it with me.

If grief is like an ocean, I fear I will never learn to swim.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  The 1st one in my life without my dad.  I think the anticipation of tomorrow may be worse than the actual day.  I am making myself physically sick thinking about it although in reality, how bad can it be really?  It would just be a simple phone call.  Laura Leigh, happy birthday. Love, Your Father.  He used to always send a homemade card, but I hadn't received one of those in a few years. I found a pile of them with some of my pictures -

I get my writing from my mom... I have my baby book, and she wrote down every detail of my 1st year, including the weekend I was born.  I've heard the story a million times from both my mom and my dad.  It varies a bit depending on who is telling the story.

My mom writes on 1/12/73: Laura Leigh was born on the worst day weather-wise that we have seen in 50 years.  It snowed 4" and the streets were quite slick.  Labor pains began at 3:15 AM on January 11, 1973, and I watched her arrive at 6:18 PM.  Daddy was all alone most of the day due to the weather conditions but was all smiles as we came out of the delivery room.  He said "You done good!" and I felt the exact same way!  She is a lovely little girl that looks just like her daddy.

The part that she didn't write and he would often dispute is that it was Super Bowl VII - Miami Dolphins versus the Washington Redskins.  The Dolphins defeated the Redskins by the score of 14–7, and became the first and still the only team in NFL history to complete a perfect undefeated season.  After I was born,
she didn't see him again until Monday, the 15th and that was the 1st time he held me.  Priorities.  He claims he couldn't get back due to the weather.  I've checked that Farmer's Almanac - it was terrible for sure, but I've learned that he was indeed "super-bowling" all weekend! Sounds about right.

The picture above is a photograph from my baby book. I love the way he is looking at me, but mostly I dig that couch! Joking aside, he looked at me that way my entire life.

My mom also wrote a note to me in my baby album that said: "to say he loves you more than anyone would be an understatement."  The way he looked at me, I believe her.

My 45th birthday is going to be a tough one without the man that loved me more than anyone.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


Journal from Tuesday, January 9, 2018

All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I'm sorry for are the ones that go through life not knowing what grief is.

-Frank O'Connor

Today I am grateful to have had so much worth grieving. 

Monday, January 8, 2018


Sunday, January 8 @9:46 PM

Today was a day of denial. I cried very little. There’s just a constant dreadful feeling that I can’t shake.

All day I kept thinking that I wouldn’t even see my dad on a random Monday, January the 8th. So it should be fine. He would have, however, most likely, butt-dialed me a few times, then called me back to see why I had called him. It was a hilarious vicious cycle.

I still have two voicemails from him on my phone. They both say the same exact thing ...

“Laura Leigh, call your father. Thank you” ❤️

He always called me Laura Leigh never Laura and usually still... Laura Leigh Williams when I was in trouble. I never called him father so it always made me laugh when he would leave that message.

Facebook didn’t tag dad with this photo tonight - it tagged me.

 — with Bobby Williams.

Glorious Mess

Monday, January 8, 2017 @ 5p

Ian Ivory has offered to wash my hair for me. I guess it’s time. I’ve started to embrace the mess. I’m not sure there’s much glorious about it right now. #Flammable

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Baby Steps

Journaling from January 7, 2018 (9:17 PM)

I’m super tired tonight but wanted to document my day. - Today was so much better than yesterday. I had brunch with a great friend, and we spent hours chatting about our dads. It was therapeutic for us both.  ♥️ -Bonus! I put on jeans AND a bra today! 🙌🏼 Baby Steps.

My mom & pop came over to bring some of my favorite comfort food this afternoon. I do love food! I think the entire family was thankful for some home cooking. Three of our neighbors have either brought food or offered to bring food, so my kids are feeling more confident about their ultimate survival this week. We somehow have 16 boxes of cereal, but we seem to be entirely out of milk. It’s fine; it’s fine.

It was nice to sit and chat about Dad. Being an only child, I’ve felt a bit alone with my childhood memories of Dad. It was nice to talk with my mom about my dad and look at super old pictures. She helped fill in some of the gaps.

I read her what I’ve written so far for my dad’s memorial we both laughed and cried. Which is about how my entire day has gone. Laughing and crying. It felt good to laugh today.

This week will be tough. Saturday is going to be wonderfully awful. I need the closure, but I also know it will make everything feel so final.

Thanks to everyone for all of your kind words, comments, private messages, texts, and calls. Each one has touched my heart.

This picture has been framed on my dad’s desk for as long as I can remember. It’s now perfectly placed (in the same broken frame) on my bedside table. ♥️

Again, FB automatically tagged Dad in this photo. It missed me this time. Thankfully FB didn’t recognize my naked little booty.
 — with Bobby Williams.

Just a Mom

I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on this blog.

I AM a wife.
I AM the mom of 3 wonderful children.
I AM my son's pancreas.

The information provided on this blog is from our personal experiences with Type 1 diabetes. Because something works for us does not mean it will work for you.

Please consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your health care options.

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