Sometimes I wonder if the pain that you feel when you lose someone close to you ever really goes away.
When I first got engaged, I found myself thinking about my dad probably once every 2 weeks or so...I would wonder what he would think of Jeff, I would wonder what he would say, how he would react to me being engaged...and then I would feel it...
that deep pain, a pain that I try to forget on regular occurrences.
You wouldn't think it to look at me, or to talk to me, but I feel the loss of my father very deeply. If I allow myself to go to "that place" I get so overcome with emotions that I can hardly breathe. Which is why, most of the time, I choose to look forward rather than looking back. I look forward to the bright future I know he would want me to have. I look forward with positivity for the possibilities that each new day will hold, just like he taught me when I was a little girl.
With my wedding rapidly approaching, I find myself thinking about him almost every day, almost every day I've had a moment where I've had to stop and remind myself that he is here, just in a more round about way. I have to remind myself how lucky I am to have special, amazing people waiting and rooting for me on the other side of the veil, and that no matter how far away heaven seems at times, my dad is there.
I was having such a time on Saturday. I had been sick all week. It culminated on Friday with me barely being able to get out of bed (this was partially because Jeff refused to let me get up and took care of me all day, but, in spite of my complaints and attempts to get up- some to the point where he had to sit on me to keep me down- I was grateful that he reminded me to take care of myself and get better. I have a tendency to push myself a little too far when I know that I am physically not capable of doing so. I am so lucky to have such a sweet, caring, thoughtful person to love me and take care of me-even when I make it incredibly hard for him to do so. Thanks baby, I love you.)
I was leaving Jeff's apartment on Saturday night ( my least favorite time of the day) and Jeff asked me if I had started writing my new name somewhere on a notebook yet. I actually didn't start doing that until Wednesday of last week, but I giggled and told him there was a page in my ED 2201 notebook that was filled with "Mrs. Jeffry Nielson"s...
I was getting in my car and it really hit me, out of nowhere, like a truck. I will be changing my name.
Changing my name has never been a question. I will be proud to bear Jeff's name. I think its an important part of the marriage process. I feel like it brings husband and wife closer because of an even more important common bond- a name that they will share and make something out of.
For the last 27 years, I have been a Winberg. For the last 15 years this name has been the one last link I have really had to my dad. I've pushed myself and worked because I knew that I had my dad's name, and I had to live up to it.
My dad was a very special guy. He would give the shirt off his back if he needed to for just about anyone, even if, at the time, he really didn't have the means to do so. When he died the funeral home said that he had one of the biggest, most attended viewings that they had hosted in over a decade. People came out of the woodwork with stories of his generosity and kindness. People lined up outside the door and down the block to pay their final respects.
One man came to our door right before Christmas with a $50 bill. He told my mom he knew that it wasn't much, but it was all he could do for the family of a man that had done so much for him. Apparently, my father had helped him save his marriage and had given him money to get him out of a financial bind. His family was on the road to recovery and he wanted to help a family that was wounded...he wanted to make sure that the chain of service my dad had started went full circle...
As the days and weeks progressed after his funeral, people came out of nowhere, people we had never met, all were hoping to give back a little of the kindness he had given to them.
I guess I never really thought about how much that had impacted me subconsciously. I'm just realizing now how much that experience has shaped and molded my life, my character, and my soul. My dad loved and gave even if he didn't have much to give.
My goal has been to make him proud, my goal was to keep the name of Winberg special. I wanted to make sure that if people knew that I was Michael Winberg's daughter they would say, "Well, I guess the apple didn't fall far from the tree. You can always go to a Winberg for help, that's for sure."
I left Jeff that Saturday night, and sat in my car. I said a silent prayer as I sought for comfort from the pain I was beginning to feel. He won't be there, I won't be able to hug him, I won't be able to kiss him, I won't be able to dance with him...my thoughts were streaming, flooding my brain and my heart, my thoughts turned to the reception, to the father daughter dance.
I am so lucky to have my amazing step dad. For all intensive purposes he is my dad, and he didn't have to be. He has blessed my life in many ways. Things weren't easy at first, for any of us, but after he adjusted, after we adjusted, after we had learned the vital lessons that the Lord brought us together to learn, I can look back and say that he has been and is the most amazing dad I could have ever asked for. I know that my biological dad, on the other side of the veil, had a hand in making sure he was in our home. I will be proud to dance that father daughter dance with him, but that thought didn't stop me from missing my biological dad and wishing it would be with him for that moment.
I decided to push the thought away. I decided to turn on music and start thinking about a playlist for my reception. I came across Jordan Bluth. I decided to go ahead and listen to him because I hadn't in a little while. I thought maybe there would be a song or two we could add to the playlist. It would be interesting because not many people have heard of him, plus he has a nice tenor voice and some amazing covers of old pop songs.
The first song on the playlist started, it was his cover of Billy Joel's "Lullaby"...and it was an answer to a prayer. All of a sudden, my car was a sacred place. I knew my dad was there, and I knew this song was "our song". We were having our dance, right there as I drove home with tears streaming down my face, tears of joy and happiness:
Goodnight my angel time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
and you should always know
wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away
Goodnight my angel now its time to sleep
and still so many things I want to say
remember all the songs you sang for me
when we went sailing on an emerald bay
and like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me
Goodnight my angel now its time to dream
and dream how wonderful your life will be
someday your child may cry and if you sing this lullaby
then in your heart there will always be a part of me
someday we'll all be gone
but lullabies go on and on
they never die
that's how you and I will be.
I couldn't find a video of Jordan's version, but here is Billy Joel.
In the end, I know its silly to be sad. I know I will see my dad again someday. I know that he is here watching every step of the way as I plan my wedding, and most importantly, I know that on Saturday night, we had our father daughter dance. He even picked the song that would say exactly what he would say if he were here.
I am so grateful for the sealing power of the priesthood. I am so thankful that I had parents who chose to be married in the temple so that I could have that gift. I know my family is forever.
I am so excited to be able to go to the temple and make those covenants, and by priesthood authority be sealed to Jeff for time and all eternity. I am content knowing that those sacred marriage vows, our bond, will carry our love beyond the shadow of the grave and into the next life. I waited a long time for him, and now that he is here I can hardly believe it. Now that he is here, I can't picture not having him for forever, it would just be cruel, and sad. I will have my forever family and it will be with Jeff. I can't wait to be Mrs. Jeffry Nielson. I can't wait to serve others as Mrs. Jeffry Nielson and start bringing good associations to that name as well.
My dad will still be my dad no matter what my name is. He would want me to make sure that his legacy of service and love never die. That is how in my heart there will always be a part of him alive. He will be alive as long as people are willing to give and love and share without fear for themselves.
I love you all.
Goodnight my angels, until next time.