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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Guardian Angel Too Soon

Four years ago today my dad became my guardian angel.  In some ways it feels like we just lost him yesterday. I can close my eyes and clearly see his face.  Yet there are days like today when I panic and my heart drops because I realize I can't remember what his voice sounds like anymore.

That first Christmas without him passed in a complete blur.  I didn't put up a tree, buy a single gift or have any reaction to the holiday music that seemed to be everywhere.  The only saving grace was my one and a half year old nephew, Mason.  A simple smile or giggle from him helped crack the deep depression my family had sunk into.  His little face gave us something innocent and pure to concentrate on.  Without him, we may not have made it through that first Christmas.

Children have a way of making you forget your problems and appreciate the little things.  Piper has helped my heart heal, while keeping my dad's memory alive.  When she smiles, her eyes crinkle like my dad's and you can't help but to notice the same mischevious twinkle.  I talk to Piper all of the time about her Grandpa Duda.  In fact, I have a photo of my dad holding me when I was a baby hanging in Piper's room.  She loves to look at the photo and wave to Grandpa.  There are times on my commute to/from work that I hear Piper giggling and talking in the backseat.  I have no doubt that Grandpa Duda is along for the ride and entertaining her.

Last year was the first Christmas that I truly felt like my old self.  Having a sweet baby as an intricate part of the celebration can't help but make you feel good.  This year, I look forward to watching Piper run around and play with her cousins.  I know my dad would be thrilled to see the kids.  He adored Mason and always said that next he needed a granddaughter.  Now he has two.  Piper and my three year old niece, Maddie.

Everyone always says that he is still with us and sees Piper, but what I wouldn't give to hug my dad one last time and to see him cuddle Piper.  For now, I'll go hug my little girl and today, we'll continue the tradition of sending a balloon to Grandpa in heaven.  Only this year, my guess is that the balloon will have Elmo on it.    

I feel blessed to have such a wonderful guardian angel watching over me and keeping my sweet Piper safe and sound.


  1. Wonderfully said Jen. I was the same way that first year. Pat asked what I wanted and I said my dad back. Time does heal all wounds but you never forget nor you should. He was a wonderful man and he lives on in Piper your pumpkin. Love ya

  2. So touching. I love your idea of sending a balloon up to your dad. I will be doing that next October. Its only been two months and yet it feels like a lifetime. *** Hugs ***