Today had been really tough for me. I went to the doctor’s office today for a follow up visit and in the waiting room was a sweet grandpa and grandson. It brought tears to my eyes. I am sure the people in the waiting room were thinking I was some young girl crying because I had just found out I was pregnant, but just hearing the grandpa talking about the things he and his grandson were going to do that weekend together broke my heart.
On April 2 I lost my dad to liver cancer. He was just 55 years old. I was about 8 months pregnant. I won’t get into that story, because some of you are already familiar with it as I wrote about it on Facebook when it all happened. If you want to know more, you can read that here:
While 8 months pregnant, I buried my father. Needing to focus on my soon-to-be-son, I guess I didn’t process what it all meant for Turner. I have always said that I can accept my father’s death. While to me it was tragic and not fair at all, I can accept it. God intended for it to happen, and while I don’t understand the reasoning behind it, God does. But my heart breaks for son. Turner will never get to know his grandfather. He will never know the wonderful man that made me the person I am. He will never understand my family’s jokes about my dad or will be able to look at something and instantly go back to a memory of my dad.
Sitting in that waiting room seeing the grandpa play with his grandson just killed me. My dad always wanted a boy. With three girls and a granddaughter, he was so excited that I was finally bringing a boy into our family. On Christmas I opened up a present that my dad had picked out just for Turner, a set of toys. The other day Andrew asked me if we had any toys for Turner to start playing with, and even though I knew I had that set of toys and that they are age appropriate for Turner, I didn’t mention them because I just can not bring myself to open them. I doubt I ever will. It is the only thing Turner will ever have from my dad. I want him to be old enough to understand that before I give it to him.
We named Turner after my father. Turner William Raby, named after William James Burns. The last few days of my dad’s life, after Andrew and I decided that we were going to name Turner after him, I would lay in the hospital bed with my dad and tell him all about how we were giving Turner his name. He was already gone and not coherent, but I just hope and pray that it reached him and he knew that I would carry him with us forever.
When Turner gets old enough I plan to make a picture book of my dad. And I want to start early showing Turner pictures of my dad every single day. Even though he will never be able to meet him, I want him to feel like he knows who he is. I want my father’s gravesite to be a frequent visit for Turner.
I can not even begin to explain how hard it is to know that Turner never met my father. I think it would be different if I was to get pregnant now, but the fact that my dad was there for 7 good months before he got sick and knew I was having a baby, doesn’t bring me comfort, it makes me more sad. I know when he got sick it hurt him to know he was not going to be there for me. That is the kind of man my dad was. I know it made him more sad that he was not going to meet Turner, and that he would never get to do all the grandpa things with him. My dad was the most incredible grandfather to my sister’s daughter, I just know he would have been the best grandfather to Turner.
My dad used to always say, “Absent from the body, present with the Lord,” and I believe that. I really do. But it still hurts beyond words. The day we went to the hospital to see my dad when the doctors gave him his diagnosis, my dad looked at me and said that I didn’t need to be sad because God needed him to come to heaven because he wanted him to be Turner’s Guardian Angel. Dad promised he would keep Turner safe, and I know that he has been and will continue to do so.
My two sister’s and my momma and I all got tattoos in memory of my dad. My dad loved Lynryd Skynyrd and we played Freebird at his funeral, so song lyrics just seemed fitting. Things like my dad’s favorite music are things I want to tell Turner about, so just like the rest of my family, whenever he hears it, my dad can be the first person he thinks about.
I am glad that between mine and Andrew’s family, Turner has an incredible family. He has so many people who love him unconditionally, I just wish with all of my heart that there was one more person that could be here to love him.