My dad’s girlfriend died

Absence is an opening that envelopes me.

The breathe I have is shallow and pained

The tears are warm but filled is gratitude.

The strength of your children feeds my steps.

The stories are ours to keep.

Grab my hand, hold my heart.

The darkness is dulled through the joy you gave us.

4 years ago my parents split. This was a very strange time in my life. It seems as if I had never really seen my parents in the same room on purpose, so I was not really surprised but they had been together for 35+ years. My mom wanted something different and my dad was heart broken.

After the divorce was final, dad quickly was introduced by a co-worker to Debbie. They were inseparable. This was also another new strange sensation because the time that my dad didn’t spend with mom, he had spent with me. I was 28 and my best friend had found a new best friend. Moving forward he always came with a companion.

After 4 years Debbie passed of brain cancer.

Earlier this year, I was frustrated with Debbie and her unwillingness to allow me to see her. I only wanted to love her and help her through this time of pain. Instead of staying in the frustration or the story I told myself about her condition, I called her for the first time and got to talk to her about how much appreciation I had for her. She was the woman that stood by my dad’s side, took him in and put up with all of his quirks. This was the last time I would be able to talk to her and I’m so glad I was able to put everything to the side and just talk to her.

I have pure gratitude for her life and her children. She really loved my dad, just for him. She was his friend and couldn’t wait to spend every moment with him. I can only hope to find this kind of friend/love in my life time. Her children have taken my dad into their lives and taken care of him. I can’t believe their strength and how much they have impacted my lives. I didn’t sign up for extra siblings but I’m sure glad someone put my name on that list. She’s their strength, genuine kindness and pain through this time has made me proud to welcome them in.

To Debbie and Family:

Thank you for always standing by my father’s side and welcoming me in. When my “flame” may have dulled, you and my family/community have stood for me and knew that blowing some air, adding some kindling or dousing me with gasoline would bring me back. Life is so bittersweet and thank you so much for allowing me to share my life with you. Each of you have added to my story and I am so proud to be a part of this “common-unity.”

And so it is.

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