It’s me. I know you know it’s me. I’m not sure why I feel like I need to remind you it’s me. But it’s me.
Today marks another ‘first’ since you’ve been gone. Today is mine, and the kids, and your dad’s first Father’s Day without you. And I’ve got to be honest, it sucks. Not the whole day. The day will be fine. But you not being here today (and everyday) just makes things kinda suck.
It seems like every single day there is a new ‘first.’ You don’t really think about that a ton when you don’t have to. But now, every day, there is something new we are doing without you for the first time. I think some of them will get easier the second time. Things like doing the kids laundry or putting the sheets on the bed were super hard the first time, but they’ve gotten a bit easier as I’ve done them over and over.
But I’m not sure that works the same for the big days. Days like today. Days like Father’s Day. Days like your birthday and Mother’s Day. And I don’t even want to think about what Christmas will be like without you. Christmas was your favorite day, and we all loved watching how much you loved Christmas. The firsts are just really hard. I’m thinking the firsts may be the hardest, and the seconds will get a bit easier. At least, I hope that’s the case.
Speaking of a hard first, we took our first trip to see your parents in Kansas City this week. I decided myself and the kids should spend Father’s Day with your dad this year, because he too is experiencing a first without you. The drive wasn’t as fun without you as my co-pilot — it was longer than I remember. No one entertained the kids like you always did so well. And you won’t believe how many times they said, ‘Daddy…,’ followed by a random question or comment.
Seventy-eight times. That’s right, they said ‘daddy’ seventy eight times in about eight hours. That’s 9.75 ‘daddy’s’ per hour. As you know, they used to say ‘mommy’ a whole bunch, but ever since you’ve been gone, I now get the ‘mommy’ and the ‘daddy’ anytime they need something. I remember you always telling me, ‘They just say Mommy so much!’ But, I didn’t realize the magnitude until the seventy-eight ‘daddy’s’ on the drive.
I wasn’t writing to you today to complain about them saying ‘daddy’ seventy-eight times. That’s not what this is about, because hearing them say ‘daddy’ is one of my favorite sounds. But, I did need you to understand that I get it now, and I’m sorry I didn’t get it while you were here. I’m sorry I didn’t get a lot of things while you were here. And I hope dads everywhere get it better than I got it. And get it before it’s too late. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t believe I got to be married to a real life superhero. I’m so sorry I didn’t brag on you more while you were here. The good news is your story and your impact are far from over. So, I’m going to do my best to make up for lost time and brag on you for the rest of my life.
Now, back to why I wanted to write to you today.
First, I wanted to assure you we are doing OK. We really are. We miss you. Heck, we miss you like crazy, and not a day goes by we don’t talk about you and talk about how missed you are. But, we are doing OK. Anytime someone sees the kids who hasn’t seen them in a while, they are so relieved the kids are doing so well. That’s not because of me. That’s because of you and the way you prepared them for this chapter. Heck, you prepared us all so dang well for this chapter. I mean, all you were concerned with in your final days was that everyone else was OK. You didn’t think once about yourself; it was always about everyone else. And that’s how you lived your entire life. And when I say we are OK, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, but it does mean we are OK. And I know how important us being okay was to you.
Next, I want you to know how much you changed the world. I’m assuming from up there in Heaven, you can see the impact you had, and continue to have. But, I just need you to know it’s felt down here all the time. People spend their entire lives trying to leave a positive impact on the world, and you did it in only 38 years. It’s super clear that anyone who ever got the chance to meet you left a better person. I can’t say that about anyone else I’ve ever known. It’s unheard of. It’s what we like to call the ‘Rachel Effect.’ And it’s beautiful. Your impact continues to be so dang beautiful.
People love people better because of you. People hug people longer because of you. People are kinder because of you. People who never even got the chance to meet you, are better people because of the way you lived and the way you died. And in the world we are living in right now, nothing is more important than those things. There is a huge void down here without you, but the ripple effect your life had, and continues to have, is like nothing I’ve ever witnessed.
I must say, because of your story and the way you lived, the kids think they are famous. I’m going to let them continue to think that. They deserve that. They deserve the world, and I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to give that to them. So for now, they are famous. It’s super cute. So, thanks for making our kids think they are famous.
That brings me to the final thing I wanted to say. I just wanted to say thank you. I wanted to thank you so much for choosing me ten years ago. I wanted to thank you for making me ‘Daddy’ to the three most amazing kids on earth. I wanted to thank you for molding them into such special kids. I wanted to thank you for leaving your footprint in their lives. I wanted to thank you for teaching them right from wrong and how to love people so well. I wanted to thank you for making me want to be a better daddy, husband, and friend each and every day.
I hate so much that you’re not here right now, but I’m so lucky I get to be Daddy and Mommy for this season. I know you know this, but they are so much like you, Rachel. It’s so amazing. It’s so beautiful. And today, on Father’s Day, I’m so glad I get to be their Daddy. It’s my favorite thing I get to be, and I want to thank you for making me my favorite thing.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brandon Janous from Knoxville, TN. You can follow his journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Brandon here:
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