Reminiscing about my dad while planning 12 and 12 Day
Me and my dad
The view through a child’s eyes makes me think of daydreaming. They view the world through a brighter lens. One that is filled with few limits. A view of dreamy realities, mixed in with buckets of love. Now that the holidays are so close, my kids are constantly day dreaming out loud about all of the questions they ponder. Each question makes me wonder, “How did they even think of this question?” Then I quickly grasp how I will respond. My goal is to keep a mix of dreamy in the answer, along with a little reality. My goal is to always make these moments with them special.
The holidays bring me back to my childhood. When I was a kid, the way my Dad answered my questions made the hope of a dreamy life my reality. I was forever a curious kid, but one who would ultimately figure out the facts faster than I would have dreamed. It is impossible for me to not have memories flood my mind. They all lead straight to my Dad. The Christmas traditions of grocery shopping late. The way he loved egg nog, Christmas vacation and giving gifts. And the pure joy I always had around him. At the time I could not see that he was the best gift. And those Christmases that followed without him have been missing the gift I want most.
Me and my brother Marshall
Experiencing a powerful loss makes you live life through a new lens. One that is brighter, bolder and stronger. Losing someone to addiction is always like saying goodbye twice. You mourn the person they were while they are on Earth. Then you say goodbye when they go to heaven. I’ll never understand why certain things happen in life. For me, it’s impossible to grasp having lived half of my life with a Dad who literally gave his heart everyday to the Universe–but who was also lost in the sea of addiction.
My dad coaching
My girls are at the age where they ask about him. They want to know how tall he was? What color hair did he have? Do I get a new Dad because mine is gone? I like to tell them the random things. He was tall. He loved food. And he would have loved you, too. Then I quickly follow up to tell them that even though he is not with me, the time I got with him provided me with such strong love that I am eternally grateful. My kids do not know that my Dad died from addiction. My girls are unaware that, when he’d been feeling sick, doctors gave him prescription painkillers. Those actions changed the course of his life.
Dad and my brother Nick
My Dad was magnetic, thoughtful and funny. He knew how to love people in a way that encouraged them to be their best. He always supported me, yet often told me I was wrong. But no matter what lesson he was trying to teach me, I felt loved. There is not a day that passes that I wonder what his opinion is on a million topics. One thing I know for sure is that he would want me to help those suffering from the disease of addiction. The research, social stigma and treatment options are greater than ever before. Allowing families to have a loved one in recovery is the best gift.
The last note I received from my dad
From this major loss I also have lenses that allow me to see constant new gifts. One major gift is hope. A local organization that provides hope is 12&12, Inc. 12&12, Inc. is the largest addiction treatment center in Oklahoma.
Wally Bryce standing in the newly redesigned 12&12 courtyard. Wally Bryce is a 12&12 board member; his father was one of the 12&12 founders.
Two years ago I asked 12&12 if I could start their volunteer program. This is still a path we are navigating. But there are over 30 people on the 12&12 volunteer committee. This group is another amazing gift in my life. These individuals represent all walks of life. The one thing we all have in common is being impacted by someone with addiction.
We are planning a huge awareness day, 12&12 Day, which is Thursday, December 12. The goal for this day is to raise awareness about addiction, ask people to donate $12 and gather items from our list of 12 items. The big goal is to have 1,200 people donate. This would be a tangible way to show we are helping grow the awareness of 12&12.
This year I am absolutely blown away at the support we have already received. HCS Roofing & Restoration is matching up to $1212 for each social media follow they receive, donation to 12&12 and item donation to 12&12. Beasley & Company is also matching all cash donations up to $1212. Mix 96.5 is airing a PSA about 12&12 Day.
Mix 96.5 DJs with 12&12 CEO Bryan Day
There is still time to be involved.
Here are a list of local businesses where you can donate from these list of 12 items.
12&12 Donation Drop-off at HCS Roofing & Restoration
HCS Roofing & Restoration
Luxe Furniture & Design
Fox + Allen Realty on Cherry Street
OK Cookie Momster
Rob Irwin – Farmers Insurance
Carter & Higgins Orthodontics
Stanleys Funeral & Cremation Services
Leslie Elliot Interiors
Hair by Jill
Chris Lile State Farm Insurance Agent
Here is the list of 12 items we would like donated:
The below items are needed for both men and women.
- Board Games
- Colored Pencils
- Adult Coloring Books
If you are interested in learning more about 12&12 Day here are the links with more information.
The gifts in my life never go unseen. Each time I meet someone in recovery is a gift. The gifts of my family, friends and community are greater than I could have ever imagined. Most of all, I will never forget the gift of love that my Dad gave me.