January 13th.
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My father passed away two years ago today, January 13th. In both my mourning and my celebration, my biggest motivator is to make him proud. My desire to write this came from a place of wanting to give some guidance to those who have lost a parent, especially before the age of 20 like I did. I have no doubt writing my story here, in hopes of helping others, would make him very proud. <3

My dad had heart issues my whole life. A triple by-pass when I was ten, carotid artery disease when I was 15, and ultimately a heart attack when I was 19. I would be at home and hear sirens, then proceed to hope it wasn’t for my father. Losing him was a prominent and extreme fear in my life, but never did I think it would truly happen.

He was my best friend. I was and still am such a daddy’s girl. I loved him dearly, I looked up to him wholeheartedly, and I always felt at home in the most foreign places with my arm looped inside of his. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if it weren’t for the great man I had a pleasure to call my father, my mentor, and my inspiration. (The other half goes to my incredible mother.) God, I wish you could’ve met him. I wish every single person reading this would have been able to witness firsthand my dad’s talent for making you feel like you could successfully world-dominate—he was everyone’s best friend.

When my father passed away, my main focus was to be okay.

I wanted to be strong, to put a smile on my face, to say ‘life isn’t fair but I will live how he wanted me to.’ I didn’t want it to be messy, I didn’t want to cry until I was physically exhausted, or suffer a loss of appetite and to not even be able to take a shower without it feeling like I had just run a marathon. In hindsight, I still look upon the weeks leading up to and the weeks after it happened as brutally traumatic, to the point where I had become numb.

In this regard, if I had to give one piece of advice, it would be to consciously try and be emotionally present—you can hold it in, but it comes out eventually. Personally, for me, it took about two years until I feel I properly mourned. This past Christmas season, I cried and I hurt more than I did in those first few months.

I am a total control freak, I won’t ever try to deny this. The first thing I did when my dad passed was message people I knew who had gone through losing a parent to get advice on what to expect. I wanted every single bit and piece of information on the mourning process in hopes of emotionally preparing myself for what was to come. I am so grateful for the individual’s who came forward and rehashed their own emotions on my behalf, I would do it for any of you—it’s these people who got me through those first months.

My biggest concern was when I would adjust to this awful situation, when I would stop hurting. For me, a part of the answer was a year. It took about a year to fully come around to the idea of my dad no longer being physically present, but you never ever stop hurting. I don’t think this is truly a bad thing, rather you hurt because of the deep love you possess for that person—and that’s a beautiful bond to have. Living or not, no one will ever be able to take that away from you. Voicemails have also been a preservation I cherish deeply, very much so over photo and video.

It is hard to think my dad won’t be here to walk me down the aisle, to hold my child, to see me graduate college, and to see me grow into a successful woman. This is the most challenging aspect of all for me, personally. With that said, losing my dad before the age of 20 significantly matured me, gave me perspective, and forced me to be appreciative of loved ones. I channel my love, my loss, my anger into music and I know my dad would be bragging about all of the songs I’ve now written about him. It gave me life-long friendships with the individual’s who stuck by me and went through the motions. Loss taught me life is fragile, it is beautiful, but it is the furtherest thing from fair. I will hold onto the memories, the laughter, the incredible pieces of advice my dad gave me for the rest of my life.

Dad, I forever love you and your beautiful spirit. I miss your blue eyes, your frickin’ cowboy hat, your laugh, your hugs, and so much more. Ultimately, I’m beyond lucky to have experienced them in the first place.

To any of you reading this that need to talk, I do hope you never hesitate to contact me, I would love to help you or be there in any capacity. Sending so much love to you all, and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking the time to get to know this deep and vulnerable part of me.

X

Abi

Abi Hoffman