all I can do is keep breathing

I realize that most people that have entered my life in the last 10 or so years have never met my dad, or really heard me talk about him or anything. We had a pretty rough last decade, he and I. So I think this post may help shed some light on a couple of things….
When my friends who know me first meet my mom there is always a pretty similar reaction… “She’s not what I expected … at all” is a common phrase. Mostly because my mom and I don’t really look alike at all. Especially those that knew me in KC and Michigan and know more of my “mexicanity” side, it comes as a shock when they meet my mom who is 100% southern white girl. She has light brown hair, she’s fair, and our features are not similar. My brother, on the other hand, looks a lot like her. It’s kinda scary how much he looks like her. He has her nose, her hair, her ears, her lighter skin. He is no doubt my mother’s son.
I, on the other hand, am my father’s daughter. My skin is more olive in color, my hair is dark and curly like his was. And much to my chagrin, I have his nose and his big ole floppy ears. Luckily I am a girl and get to cover them whith my hair. And the more I look at my life, the fabric of who I am, I am my dad’s daughter. I am loud like he was. A musician like he was. I like my music loud like he did. I love to cook like he did. I have a sense of adventure in me like he did. I love sports like he did. I’m stubborn like he was.
That’s not to say I don’t have anything in common with my mom, I do, but that’s not my point with this blog.
You see, for years I looked past the fact that I was like him because I was trying so hard to not be like him. things were so bad between us I couldn’t admit to having anything in common with him. But when someone is dying, especially when things have been rough, all those good memories come flooding into your mind. For me, in the last couple of days with my dad I realized that I had been supressing SO much. Yea, the last 10 years were harder than I’d have liked but the 14 years before that were almost magical. We were the happy family you see in commercials for bbq grills and baseball equipment. So after his death it was natural for me to start remembering those times which is when I realized how much I am like him.
Today as I was getting ready, I took a long look in the mirror. I saw my dad’s nose, those ears that I’ve hated since I was in middle school. My hair that was his hair. My eyes that look like his eyes. I tried so hard to be thankful that I have some of him in me. I prayed that I would be glad that I still have that memory of what he looks like, right there in the mirror. But I couldn’t.
Instead I was mad. Mad that I have to live the rest of my life without the hope of having him in my life. That if my kids look like me, they’ll look like him, the grandfather they’ll never know. Frustrated that my image in a constant reminder that he is not here.
Now, I know that sounds awful. I shouldn’t be mad that I look like him. And you may be reading this thinking, “whoa Alicia, that’s weird.” or whatever… but I’m okay with it. I’m okay with it because I am almost positive that God knows this is a phase I’m in. God knows that I am hurt and angry that my dad is gone. That it’s unfair that I have to live without him. I’m fairly sure that God is here with me, hating this reality I’m in with me. And allowing me to be in this place for just a little bit longer.

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