I can’t help but feeling a bit of sadness experiencing the first day of a new year without my dad. 2013 was the hardest year I’ve experienced thus far in my 21 years of life. It was a year of learning, growing, being stretched farther than I ever have been, experiencing pain and grief like I’ve never known before, seeing God’s hand at work, maturing, and closing chapters in my life. 2013 from the start has been a whirlwind, starting off to be seemingly normal, to life being picked up and turned upside-down on February 5th. I’ll never forget that night, those memories are forever ingrained in my head. I’ll never forget the feeling of receiving a phone call like so many others in my life thinking to myself, oh ok, here we go again. Treating it as another that time my dad would need to go to the hospital, I was so calm. He spoke to me before he got into the ambulance, joking and being his normal self, saying to me as I come up to him and my mom with my key in hand, “Hey jingly!” giving me his famous everything is alright grin. Getting to the hospital, thinking we know the procedure and we’re gonna go back and see him in a few minutes and a few minutes turn into longer minutes that turn into panic and confusion because we’re being asked to wait in a special room to a nurse coming out and telling us they’ve lost him and trying to resuscitate him, me falling on my knees crying out to God please don’t take him from me yet, I’m so sorry, I need to see him and talk to him, God please don’t take him from me yet. Bargaining and begging with my whole being for God to give me another chance with him. Doctors and nurses finally come in saying that they have in back but he is in a coma like state. Going back to triage room 5 seeing my dad, my superman laying there with wires and tubes keeping him alive, I got to his bedside telling him everything I should have told him 4 years ago, crying, hoping he heard me. Those following days being the longest, most mind bending, faith challenging days. I remember doctor after doctor saying “well, he’s stable and his scans are normal but we don’t know the outcome so we’re sending in palliative care to discuss your options.” To me standing up to say boldly “I beg your pardon, doctor. But you’re not God and My God is the God of miracles. Miracles that I’ve seen performed first hand, so for now we’re going to let him continue to heal and let God have control.”. With each day bringing minuscule progress to eyes opening and changing hospitals to the day of mom and dad’s anniversary and dad saying “I love you” to my mom in a croaky, gravelly voice. To spending long days and longer night weighing options of his long-term care, To getting a phone call June 6th saying that my dad is gone. I spent the following months going through the motions getting by day by day to week by week to waking up one morning feeling like Everything will be ok, I’ll make it maybe not today, tomorrow or next week but one day it’ll be ok. To saying I’m going to finish school for my dad because he wanted that for me and he believed that I could and finding out that I indeed did pass and would be closing that chapter of my life. Walking across the stage and feeling my dad’s presence around me in that room. Spending holidays being the first without him. That brings us to now, a new year. A blank book. One where I’ll start college and beyond that, I don’t know. I’m trusting God with be there and trusting that He has me and having my guardian angel right there along for the ride. Here’s to 2014. A year of more growing, learning more about myself, being brave, being intentional, becoming more independent, loving myself, loving others, always giving 100%, of standing my ground, writing, being creative, pushing myself, steeping outside of my comfort zone. Thank you Lord for another year, another chance at life. I hope you’ll come along for the journey, I’m sure it’ll never be boring.