It sometimes seems surreal to imagine that on July 15, 2012 I could be sitting here on my couch chatting with my dad, but here a year later, I will never be able to have a conversation with him again. When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November of 2011, I was told he would have three months. It was amazing that he almost lived for a whole year after that diagnosis, and even more amazing that I was blessed with 21 wonderful years with him. This is not to say that it wasn’t hard to deal with his illness and death – it was. After the fact, I found myself feeling like a huge door had been shut on what had been my life before September 23, 2012 – it was like every day that passed was another 24 hours separating me from the part of my life when I’d had a father who was alive. However, I always felt that the situation, one which seemed so different than a lot of the stresses that the average junior in college has, would end up teaching me something about life. One of those lessons was to continue to remember the beauty of what the future can hold.
At a point where what I wanted most was to keep my personal burden from being anyone else’s responsibility, I also deeply longed for someone to step in to comfort me, something I knew wasn’t easy to ask of another. I knew that anyone who might be even remotely interested in pursuing me romantically might shy away because of my personal life – after all, not every twenty-something year old guy is prepared to date someone who has just lost a parent. The same situation that I felt might be an obstacle to someone wanting to be with me ended up acting as a filter, through which I found someone who was more than willing to help me bear my burden, someone who has been more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.
I know that not everyone supports the idea of a “great plan” or “destiny,” but I can’t pretend like I don’t believe that sometimes things happen for a reason. I definitely don’t think my dad’s sickness “happened” so I could find someone I loved, but I do think it prepared me to recognize someone who was willing to take me seriously from the very beginning of our relationship, someone worthy of that love. Falling in love with the man who is now my boyfriend helped the future become a time I could look forward to rather than a a passage of time that separated me from the first man I ever loved. For that, fate or not, I couldn’t be more grateful.