I didn't know. I didn't know so much.
I didn't know that the searing pain of "he's gone, Breanne" was just the beginning.
I didn't know how to be a fatherless daughter and help my own children navigate the loss of their beloved Papa.
I didn't know that sleep would become a blessing and a burden- to escape and then to wake up to my reality.
I didn't know that I could organize an event, talk through logistics and not be able to decompress at the end of it all with my Dad as I had done so many times before.
I didn't know just how much one can be carried by others. Their love and food and care.
I didn't know that a pizza menu in Portugal would make me cry, amidst the cobblestones and tiles, that it was a reminder of the silly lullaby my Dad sang to all my babies.
I didn't know that a monk in Portugal seen on tiles everywhere would be a significant part of my grief journey.
I didn't know that laughter and tears, joy and sorrow could be so mingled.
I didn't know how much of you would be seen in my siblings, all eight of the precious ones I got to grow up with. I see your quirks, personality, strengths and humour in them.
I didn't know how many times I'd reach to text you, or run something past you or want your thoughts and I just couldn't anymore.
I didn't know that when people say they have a hole in their heart, it's true.
I didn't know that I could cry so many places, reminded by you in the smallest things. A well executed pun, a great British drama, a well-done burger, a trip to Waterton, a bookstore.
I didn't know that the loss of a parent would become a commonality with new friends and a conversation starter.
I didn't know that when we moved from Nova Scotia back to Alberta, I would have two more years with you.
I didn't know that those years would form solid memories for my children of their Papa and I am so grateful.
I didn't know the impact you've had on so many lives. The stories I hear, the memories that are recounted to me and the choices people have made because of your faithfulness.
I didn't know that I would think of what you'd often say as we left your house -"I hate goodbyes, let's just say see you later." Thanks be to God, I can see you later.
I didn't know that I would miss you every day. That all the songs are true. That we live in the here but not yet. That I still grieve but I am not without hope.