Friday, March 1, 2013

I debated posting this...

Simply because I don't want people to think I'm depressed, or a mopey person, or a Negative Nancy. I try to be really optimistic about life, even in hard times like now. So...here's the sad part (and I seriously debated posting this because it really is so personal to me) and I'm going to write a little bit about it for two reasons. 1) I thought maybe, just maybe, someone out there could relate and this post would touch them and 2) I have been told that my best posts are the ones where I share personal, raw, down-to-the-core/this-is-me-and-if-you-don't-like-it-oh-well posts.
 
Four years ago my dad passed away. He was struggling from a very rare disease called scleroderma. We all (including him) really thought he was going to beat it, but he didn't get a chance to. This is, I believe, the last picture I got to take with him:
 
 
It was taken on his 60th birthday, the last birthday we got to spend with him. February 27th, he would have been 64 years old. Losing someone so extremely close, so near and dear to your heart...someone that should be able to walk you down the aisle of your wedding or get to meet his grandkids...it breaks my heart to think about. I know everyone says this about their dads, but my dad was really a stand-up guy. I want to share a cool story with you (that even I didn't know about until Wednesday) that my uncle shared with me. First and foremost, you need to know that my father was a judge. Then the story will make more sense. Ready? This is what I read on my uncle's Facebook page on my dad's birthday (trust me, you'll want to read it):
 
"My Big Brother Pete...yep...talent sure ran deep in this family. Miss and love you. True story. A defendant in his courtroom was going to receive his sentence, my brother knew he played guitar through some testimony given. So, after [the sentence] was handed down, the courtroom was cleared and the baliffs took the prisoner to Pete's chambers and they played a tune together on Pete's pre-war Martins that were there. After some bluegrass...off the guy went to the Florida State Prison!"
 
Crazy, right? That's what kind of guy my dad was, and I hope that I have even 10% of the kindness and love that he shared. His talent was passed down to me, his talkative personality to my sister, and his smarts to my brother. Not a day goes by where I do not think of him, especially the hard days (the anniversary of his passing, his birthday, Father's Day). I am so proud to have been able to call him Dad. Sometimes, whether you believe in this sort of stuff or not, I can really still physically feel his presence. I've had some experiences, and I'm not going to share that here. Those are my moments to keep and share with my best friends and my lover.
 
So...I haven't gotten much sleep the past two nights, and I had to write about this. I just had to. Love is something we should NEVER take for granted. You don't ever know when someone you love so very much will leave this earth; and you might wish you'd said "I love you" a few more times before they do. Take a lesson from me, please, and do that. Give your husbands, your kids, your whole family and your friends big hugs and tell them what they mean to you. I promise you will not regret it. EVER.
 
Between my parents, I look like my dad. And he was a handsome dude, so I feel pretty lucky to have his awesome genes (mom helped)!
 
I love you, Dad! Thanks for giving me the best childhood & early adulthood I could have ever asked for, instilling (what I think, anyway) are amazing values and goals, being an awesome role model, and trying to sing along to the pop songs on the radio every single drive to school in the morning. I sure miss your versions with random, inaccurate lyrics and humming/whistling when you definitely didn't know the part. I might have been annoyed then (stupid teens, right?) but I would give anything to have one of those moments back. You are half of the reason I am who I am today, and for that, I am eternally grateful. :)
 
Just on a lighter note really quick, because I'm sure we can all agree that was a deep post, I wanted to tell you all something fabulous. I had my first ever Skype date with my best blogging friend, Lauren and she is just as adorable, witty, and funny as I thought she'd be. Oh, and a total babe. I'm so blessed to have made a true friend (although thousands of miles away and never having met [yet!]) that honestly cares about how I am doing...every single day! Love you, Lo! Also, I love you all for reading. Especially this post, because it was intense. You're the best readers a gal could ask for! HAPPY MARCH! xo
 
 
 

 
 

50 comments:

  1. Awh sweetheart. Thanks so much for sharing. You are so strong to be able to go through this! Is scleroderma something wrong with his veins? I know sclerotherapy is treating varicose veins...so sorry. Wish I could give you a big hug!

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment. You are a very strong person, as well. I am going to give you a sorta definition of Scleroderma I found online, because it's always hard for me to explain. Scleroderma is a connective tissue disease that involves changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs. It is a type of autoimmune disorder, a condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. At first, my dad's fingers got really swollen (to the point where he couldn't wear his wedding ring, play guitar, golf, etc.) and he was actually misdiagnosed until he went to Johns Hopkins up in Baltimore (thank God, or we wouldn't have had the extra few years with him we did). Eventually, it started spreading to the rest of his skin, like his arms and legs. The part that got him in the end, was that it attacked his lungs (he was on the lung transplant list at Mayo, just couldn't make it in time) and his esophagus. It is not something I would ever wish upon my worst enemy. I'm honestly glad he's not suffering anymore, because life really had just become miserable for him.

      Thank you for being so sweet to me always. You are such a great blogging friend, Kelsey. I just hope you know how wonderful you truly are. <3



      xo,
      Brani

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  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have come across several bloggers lately that have been sharing posts about losing a loved one. While I haven't lost a parent yet, I like to read about the strength and wisdom from those who have. It's inspirational in some way. I am sorry for your loss, it sounds like your dad was a great, smart, and talented man! You are lucky to have had him for a daddy!
    Xo,
    Whitney
    http://keepingupwiththecyperts.blogspot.com/

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    1. Whitney,

      Thank you so much for that wonderful comment. I am glad this post touched you in some way, as that was my goal. I hope you don't have to experience losing a parent for a very long time. When you do, however, it is so great to be able to connect with others that understand how you are feeling and what you might need to hear. As much as friends want to be there for you, and they are, they often don't know the right things to say. (I know I wouldn't.) Thank you for the compliments about my dad. He was all three of those things, and many, many more! I will be stopping by your blog to see what your world is all about. Thanks again for reading and commenting. It means so much!



      xo,
      Brani

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  3. You really look like your Dad. This made me miss my papa too. He died 4 years ago, but it seems like it was just yesterday. I still cry every time I hear his favorite songs. Daughters seem to love the father the most, and we will never love any other man like we loved our father :) Thank you for sharing this.

    - Found you on GiG!
    http://www.goddessindisguise.com

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    1. Aintzane,

      I am so sorry that you, too, have had to endure the pain of losing your father. Mine passed away 4 years ago (in September), as well, so that's something we have in common, too. It does at times feel like it was just yesterday...or that it was a dream, ya know? And I'm going to wake up & realize it's just a dream, but of course that doesn't happen. You're right about never loving any man as much as my father, although my boyfriend is pretty amazing. I only wish that my dad had the chance to meet him. I love my mama, as well, but yes...there is a special place in every girl's heart for her daddy. I'm glad you think I look like him; that's such a compliment, really. Thank YOU for reading this. I can't wait to get to know more about you through your blog!



      xo,
      Brani

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  4. Oh sweetheart I am so sorry you lost your Dad at such a young age. I lost my Dad too, but at least he lived to be 71. Obviously he was a wonderful man and a great Dad and he must be so proud of you when he looks down on you. It does get easier to live with, but not for many years. My Dad died 21 years ago next week. You are very lucky to have had such a man for a Dad, you will always have lovely memories of him, like his singing the wrong lyrics to pop songs lol those memories are what makes days like to day bearable, so think of all the times he made you laugh and all the hugs he gave you, like he will one day again.
    Angela x
    (from the GIG group)

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    1. Angela,

      Thank you so much for the sweet comment! Yes, losing my dad at a young age (22) was/is very tough, but I do my best to look at it like this: at least I had the 22 wonderful years with him that I did get to have. :) I am sorry to hear about your father passing away, as well. It's never easy. I have heard over much time, like you mentioned, it gets a little bit easier. However, I've also heard it's always there...in the back of your mind & heart. I do know that I am blessed to have had such a wonderful father; and yes, I will cherish those moments of him singing pop songs in the car 'til the day that I die. I wish that I had appreciated those times more when they were happening, but teens will be teens, right? I can't live with regret. He gave such great hugs! I can't wait to hug him again when it's our time to meet up again. Thank you again for reaching out. So sweet of you!



      xo,
      Brani

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    2. As a Mum I know that you should never regret any shenanigans you got up to, or arguments even with your Dad, because as parents we know it's just our kids flexing their growing up muscles and never hold it against them. And most of life isn't appreciated at the time it's happening but as long as it leaves such wonderful memories, as you have of times with your Dad, that is all that matters.Even as parents we don't appreciate every second with our children but oh the memories are so worth while. You are blessed to have had such a wonderful Dad, not everyone is so lucky, and at least you realise that, some never realise how wonderful a parent was.
      Angela x

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  5. I love the fact that you can be so raw and so open. I haven't had to experience any type of loss like that yet in my life so I honestly can't relate, but your words show your passion and your courage with how you dealt with suh a tragic event. I completely believe your dad is still physically there with you, absolutely.

    And the guitar story... Yeah, that's really cool.

    Bless you beautiful girl!

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    1. Katie,

      Thanks for the sweet comment! I'm glad you haven't had to lose anyone close yet...hopefully you won't for awhile. Sometimes I just feel better writing whatever is on my mind--all of it, nothing censored. I think, and so I'm told, those are my best posts. So, thanks for that lovely compliment. The guitar story is pretty cool. I just learned about it the other day, but it doesn't surprise me. He was just that type of dude. :)



      xo,
      Brani

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  6. I wrote this comment on my phone so sorry it's kinda weird!!!!

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    1. Haha! It's not weird, girl. You're silly! xo

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  7. Thank you for sharing your story, I know the decision to do that must have been difficult. I am so sorry for your loss, I can only imagine how it feels that a part of you is missing, your Dad sounds like a wonderful guy! I hope that if nothing else you can find happiness and peace, considering what you and your family have been through.

    I know what you mean about being unsure whether to share your personal stories, it is something I have debated myself. I have not lost a loved one, although my Dad did get very sick last year and it was close for a while. There are many things I think a lot of us could share but choose not to, so thank you for your post. It has inspired me to maybe write a few things for myself, as well :)

    I truly hope your having a great day! *big hug for you* xxx

    Kaye

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    1. Kaye,

      What a sweet comment! It was a difficult decision, but as I started writing, it became very therapeutic. My dad was a wonderful guy; thank you! I do find peace in knowing that he is no longer suffering...that's the good part. Also, that I now have a guardian angel watching over me. That is a pretty special feeling. I'm so glad your dad recovered from whatever he was going through; it's so extremely tough to see loved ones struggling. I'd love to venture over to your blog and hopefully I have inspired you to share some more personal things. They certainly grab people's attention and provide wonderful feedback and virtual hugs. :) I hope you're having a great day, too!

      xo,
      Brani

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  8. this is such a sweet post. Your dad looked like a stud. :)
    I hear you on not taking love for granted. I am my dad's number one fan, (and his favortie child) but out of anyone in my entire life, he has caused my family and me the most heartache.
    I've realized a lot about myself in the last year or so. And my family and I have been wronged in so many ways. but- he is my dad, and I don't think there is anyone in this world that loves me like he does. And I'm not going to throw that away because of mistakes he has made. especially because I see him trying to be a better person everyday.
    I'm so sorry you lost your dad. But I guarantee he is with you always. I can see him in your eyes. Love you Brani Girl. :)

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    1. Whitney,

      You're such a sweetheart! My dad WAS a stud! I feel very lucky to look somewhat like him...except girl version, of course. It's so great that you can look past the heartache your dad has caused you and your family and still love him so very much. It's the same way for Brandon and his dad. So, in a way, I understand. However, of course I can't completely understand. Thank you for the kind comments. I do feel him with me every so often, and I am so happy to know you see him in my eyes! Love you too, girl!



      xo,
      Brani

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  9. Thank you for sharing that. The love between a dad and a daughter is so special and I can only imagine how much you miss your dad. I'm so sorry for your loss but it seems that you probably have an amazing guardian angel watching over you every day.

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    1. Meighan,

      Thanks for reading it! I agree about the love between a father and daughter being special, and I do miss him very much. I definitely know I have an amazing guardian angel watching over me...he's proved it several times. :)



      xo,
      Brani

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  10. I lost my mother almost 3 years ago and the pain never goes away. It helps to talk, post or just share sometimes. Found you through Fun Friday blog hop. http://ggiftsg.blogspot.com/

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    1. April,

      I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I can't imagine losing my mom now. It does help to write and share, and talk to others who can relate. Thanks for finding me through the hop! I'll be sure to check out your blog.

      xo,
      Brani

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  11. Great post. My parents are still with me but I can't even imagine how hard it is to lose one. I am a now follower from the blog hop. I hope you come over and check out my page too! www.mendezmanor.com

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    1. Nicole,

      Thanks for reading! I'm glad your parents are still with you, and I hope they are for a long time. I appreciate you following and I will definitely head on over to your blog in a bit to check it out.



      xo,
      Brani

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  12. Such a wonderful, true, pure post and I'm so glad you were able to talk about it on here. Blogging has a way of healing, and bringing people to you who understand and listen. And I know your dads spirit is still around, and that one day you'll see him again.

    Thanks so much for the shout out, you are the sweetest :)
    xo,
    Lauren

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    1. Lauren,

      Thanks for such a sweet comment, love. I needed to talk about it on here. I have found that writing personal stuff (nothing too, too personal, though) is very therapeutic. Also, you're right about it bringing people to you who either understand or just want to send some love your way. Thank you; his spirit is definitely still around (at times I feel it more than other times) and I cannot wait to see him again someday in Heaven! Thanks for editing your post for my shout out, too! You're not so bad yourself.

      xo,
      Brani

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  13. It's okay to be real on your blog. This was an awesome post. I have these posts every once in awhile too. I hope it helped you a little :) btw I'm a new reader from the blog hop, and I can't wait to read from you!

    Xo,
    Eeka

    Live.Love.Random.

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    1. Eeka,

      Thank you for such a sweet comment! I'm really happy that you liked my post. It DID help me a lot to write this post, definitely. Therapy through blogging is awesome and I can't wait to do some more of it! I'm so glad you're following. I'll have to visit your blog asap.



      xo,
      Brani

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  14. It's often the posts that we are afraid to publish that are the ones that are the best received, most commented on, and most relatable. My heart is with you Brani - I could tell that tears formed the words that you wrote here. I myself still have my parents - heck, I still have my great grandmother .. and I consider myself very lucky, however I am also very guilty of taking them for granted. Thank you for passing on this beautiful message and reminding me that life is very sacred. xoxo

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    1. Kym,

      You're the first person to ever have told me that you really loved my personal posts. This post was definitely well received, which makes me so happy. With help from such wonderful, lovely comments as yours, I'm sure I will be able to continue to write therapeutic posts. I love reading yours! Thank you for this sweet comment, Kym. I'm so glad you still have everyone in your family and I hope you continue to for a long time. If I reminded you to never take anyone for granted and that life is sacred, I've done my job and then some.

      xo,
      Brani

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  15. such a touching post! my heart truly goes out to you. you're dad sounds like an awesome dad :)

    new follower via the blog hop :)

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    1. Brianna,

      Thank you for commenting and being so sweet! He was an awesome dude. I am blessed to have had him for the time that I did. I'm glad you're following now! What's your blog address? I'd love to visit.



      xo,
      Brani

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  16. Gorgeous pictures of you and your dad. I am sure you cherish them! Thanks for sharing this. I can't imagine losing a parent, thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Don't ever hold back how you feel or how you are thinking, that is why I love reading your blog.
    XO,
    Whitney

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    1. Whitney,

      Thank you SO much for such a lovely comment! I'm glad you like the pictures. :) I'd like to think I look a lot like him. I do cherish them and all of the others I have, for sure. I'm so glad you love to read my blog, and I will definitely continue to post things that are on my mind or that are personal, if it will reach just one person and tug at their heart...then I really feel like an accomplished blogger. You're so great! Thanks for everything!

      xo,
      Brani

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  17. Oh my goodness, I have no idea what you are going through but I will keep you in my prayers and you are so brave to have shared this on what would have been his birthday - those pictures are amazing!

    xx
    Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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    1. Kelly,

      Thanks so much for your comment! His birthday was actually February 27th, but I just couldn't stop thinking about it until I posted about it. I'm glad it touched as many people as it did. I feel very blessed to have had him around for the time that I did, though I sure miss him. Thanks for visiting and commenting! I'll be sure to pay a visit to your blog asap. Glad you like the pictures! :)



      xo,
      Brani

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  18. This is such a great way to honor your dad! Really, I loved reading it and learning more about him, he seemed like a such a wonderful guy. You are lucky to have him as a father, you are a strong girl! xoxo

    Lacey

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    1. Lacey,

      Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about him. He was such a great guy! I feel both lucky and strong. Well, strong most of the time. It definitely takes some reminding myself that I've been tough through a lot of stuff.

      xo,
      Brani

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  19. Hi, I just found your blog through the Aloha Friday hop. Your post touched me. My dad is still here, but I lost my mom 4 months ago so I can relate to what you're feeling. My heart goes out to you. I will be back often to read your blog :) I hope you have a great week!

    lork
    http://www.lifewithraisapain.com

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    1. Lor,

      I'm glad you found my blog! I'm extra glad you were touched by my post--that was definitely my goal and it seems to have touched a few people, which makes me happy. I'm so very sorry to hear about you losing your mom! I can't imagine. I hope my mom is around for a very long time, because I just can't imagine not having any parents at all right now. My heart goes out to you, as well. I will keep you in my prayers. I hope you have a wonderful week, as well, and I will definitely be visiting your blog to check it out. :)

      xo,
      Brani

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  20. I enjoyed this post because I can just feel the love and respect you have for your father coming through in your writing and in your photos. Thank you for sharing! *HUGS*

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    1. Rachel,

      Wow! Thanks for such a sweet compliment. I'm so glad that my goal was reached by writing this post. It seems to have touched quite a few people, and that makes me really happy. Thank YOU for reading!



      xo,
      Brani

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  21. Brani,
    I just stumbled across your blog today, 3 days after you wrote this beautiful post. I read it with tears in my eyes. My father passed away 10-1/2 years ago and every time the anniversary of his death comes up, it doesn't feel like it has been so long. I admire you for posting this and am so glad I came across your blog when I did because I think we can probably relate. What wonderful pictures, and memories it seems, you have of your dad. Would love to become blogging friends with you :)
    Angela
    adventurestorememberfl.blogspot.com

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    1. Angela,

      I'm so happy you were able to find my blog (at the right time, too, I think) as well! I'm really sorry to hear about your father passing away. I'm sure there is a lot we can relate to with eachother. Thank you for the lovely compliment about the pictures and memories. They are good ones, for sure! :) I'm absolutely going to visit your blog. I'm always happy to make new blogging friends! Thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing a bit of your personal life with me.

      xo,
      Brani

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  22. I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like a great guy.

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  23. I just came across your blog and I'm definitely a follower now. I'm sorry to hear about your dad and thank you for sharing your story. I lost my mom when I was 14. That was more than 10 years ago now, but the pain of losing her never really goes away. I think about her constantly. Although I can't imagine the pain that you've gone through (as everyone's situation is different), I can sympathize. All the best to you!

    Alex[andra]
    letlifebelikemusic.blogspot.ca

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  24. I almost commented earlier. But I didn't, because I haven't lost a parent. So no, I don't know how it is. I almost lost my mother-in-law to cancer. But she is a miracle. I really am so incredibly sorry for your loss & wish I could help. I don't think these kinds of posts make anyone think you are being depressing. I truly don't. And plus, writing posts like these make you relatable to everyone else. I love it. There are a lot of blogs I follow that get boring after awhile. The same linkups, the same sort of reviews & giveaways. And I can honestly see us becoming great blogger friends. Thank you for your sweet comment! I'm so excited to get to know you more. You're amazing. And I'll keep you in my prayers. PS -- What part of Florida do you live?

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  25. Sorry for your loss. He seemed like such a great man. I'm sure you've gotten some [if not all] of his greatness, too :) Hang in there xoxo

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  26. i know i'm just repeating what everyone else has already said but i'm sure you learned and received so much from your dad! he will always be with you :) stay strong and know that you are such a beautiful woman!

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  27. Wow, I have tears in my eyes. This was beautiful. I lost my Dad four years ago to Lou Gehrig's Disease. He was a lot like your dad, someone with a loving spirit that everyone admired. He was a college softball coach in FL and he touched many lives. My daughter wrote her perspective on losing her Papa, thought you might enjoy. http://cheermamadrama.blogspot.com/2013/01/remembering-her-papa.html

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  28. I am so sorry for your loss. This is really a beautiful post and he would be so proud.

    Rikki
    www.lbyrikki.com

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