And it is. But it was supposed to be better.
Today I was supposed to be hugging my dad, skipping with glee, grateful for a miracle. Since March 9th last year, I have been looking forward to March 9th this year. As September began its hope depriving processes, I still kept March 9th in the back of my mind. I still knew a miracle could happen because it had before. I was too stubborn to give up that hope (clearly a trait I got from my dad).
Let me take you back to the day I am referring to: March 9, 2017.
I was working as a scheduling assistant in Event Management at the Joe Crowley Student Union. My station was at the front of the office, so you could not come in without noticing me there. That morning, noticing me probably would have been unsettling as I shook in my seat, looking all over the room. My mind nor my body had any focusing capabilities. It was sure to be my most unproductive day at work yet.
And then my phone lit up: “Daddy or ICE.”
I jumped out of my seat forcefully and ran back into my boss’ office. “This is the phone call. Can I get it?” He nodded. I scurried around the office trying to decide where to go before the ringing ended. I finally found the break room where no one was, so I cautiously answered the phone with a cracked hello.
“Hi Sweetheart . . .” the familiar voice on the other line began.
I was already crying, begging him to hurry up and get to the point.
“It’s gone, Baby,” he said as I lost every grip I thought I had on my emotions.
I could not stop crying, thanking God, thanking his doctors, thanking him. He was so strong. I didn’t know how it was possible to be so dang strong. But clearly he did. He was a pro at exemplifying strength all his life.
Once I collected my emotions enough to audibly speak, I told him how happy I was. We promised that every year on March 9th we would do something to celebrate this special kind of rebirth. March 9th became my favorite day on the whole calendar, and I told everyone how amazing March 9th is, how special March 9th would always be.
When we hung up the phone, I went back to my desk with a beet red face and pounding heart. I looked around and smiled at all the life. I picked my phone back up, and I texted him again. I sent him our favorite poem through the tears that blocked my vision.
Walk alongside me Daddy and hold my little hand.
I have so many things to learn that I don’t yet understand.
Teach me things to keep me safe from dangers every day.
Show me how to do my best at home, at school, at play.
Every child needs a gentle hand to guide them as they grow.
So walk alongside me Daddy, WE HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO.
And he left me on read, no typing bubbles and no response. I texted him again about five minutes later to ask why, and he said that like me, it was too hard to see through the tears. Our poem hit him maybe harder than it hit me.
March 9, 2017 could have gone one of two ways. It went the right way and gave us six more months with my dad. As upset as I am that he’s not here to celebrate his special day, I am still grateful that it happened. I will go through today with tear blocked eyes again, but I will be strong for the heart I wear around my neck.