It’s three days out from my dad’s birthday. He would be turning 67 this year. He’s been gone almost 10. A decade. It doesn’t seem possible. When the picture below came up in time hop I immediately recalled that breathtaking feeling. I don’t remember the moment specifically but I can describe to a T the feeling of the realization. It’s like getting the wind knocked out of you.

The grief doesn’t go away. It’s always there in some form under the surface. Its intensity may change from day-to-day, week to week. It may not hit as hard as it did a month ago and sometimes, years out, it can hit you as hard as those first mind numbing days did. What has changed for me is how I recover from those unexpected moments. When they hit I grab onto the grief. I feel the feelings, I cry, I yell, I even wallow sometimes. I don’t stuff, I don’t fight, I don’t ignore. I let them swallow me up and then I get up. I call or text a friend. I hike, I remember something about my dad that makes me smile. I press forward. Sometimes the grief subsides quickly and retreats back under the surface. Sometimes it takes a little while. Eventually though, I get my breath back.