This morning I woke up thinking it was just another day. I didn't think about the significance of today's date until I received a text message from my sister on the way to work. It simply said "I love you."
It struck me as a little odd. I looked at it and thought, "That's sweet. What prompted that?" And about a split second later I remembered that today is October 6th. That realization would have hit me eventually. Probably as soon as I got to work and saw the date on the computer. I texted her back, told her I loved her too.
It's been three years since our Dad passed away. For me, it still hurts and I still miss him, but the pain has since dulled. Maybe it's good that the date wasn't foremost on my mind as I started my day. It doesn't mean I'm forgetting, I'm just allowing life to go on. I remember three years ago, a lot of people promised that life would continue and it would get easier. At the time, I couldn't imagine how, but now I see that it has.
I knew today was coming soon, I just didn't turn it into an event. The last couple years, when this date arrived, I've spent a lot of time crying and reminiscing. I spent some time thinking about Dad today, but it's the same kind of thinking that I've done over the last year or so. Thinking about him isn't about missing him anymore. More often than not, a Dad memory makes me laugh. At the very least it makes me smile. And knowing that I'll see him again is just thrilling.
To anyone who's lost a parent, I know it hurts. The void that's left behind can never really be filled. But trust me, it gets better.