Stories: Who We Have Lost

Dad’s Balloons

Story aboutRoger Jackson

Although it wasn’t the safest thing to do, Dad was a wild card when it came to the 4th of July. He loved to make balloons filled with Acetylene, tie them to balloons filled with helium, and send them up in the air with a fuse.

They exploded into the loudest BOOM! They would light up the sky and he had such a blast doing it. Dad was always enjoying life and full of good times. He had a way of making everyone around him laugh.

Greatest Dad & Grandpa ever! Truly missed every single day.

A National Geographic Size Red Wasp

Story aboutTommy aka Pop Sizemore

Who would have ever thought that being stung by a red wasp several times could possibly trigger detailed memories of your childhood? One week ago, while out in the pool, I was stung 6 times by what my husband deemed “a National Geographic sized red wasp." He immediately scooped me up from the water as I cried and my throat felt a little funny. My husband gave me the sweetest, most loving hug as tears continued to stream down my face. And at that very moment, when I felt his arms wrap around me, my face leaned in towards his chest, the sun glistening down on us, my thoughts immediately went back to my Dad.

Pop was the best dad any daughter could have ever dreamed of. It didn’t matter if it was 5 am or midnight, if I needed him, he was always right there for me. I remember him telling me the story of the very first time I was stung by a wasp at a year old. He told me he was getting ready to go to work and when he walked outside to get into his truck, I ran outside after him because I didn’t want him to go. I was wearing a pink fuzzy onesie with white plastic feet on the bottom the first time I felt the burning pain of a wasp sting. He scooped me up into his arms, hugged me tight, wiping away my tears as he carried me back inside and got me an ice pack and a Cherry popsicle.

He always told me the reason I got stung so much was because my heart was so big and I was so sweet. I can still see every detail of his face, his smile each and every time he told me that story. Fast forward to age 17, the night of my Senior Prom when somehow a red wasp got inside our house and stung me three times on my back. I was absolutely mortified because my prom dress was an open back dress and I panicked because my date would be arriving in an hour. I remember crying because it hurt so bad and the first person I screamed out for was my dad. Once again, Pop was magic. He gave me the biggest hug and there were his arms around me as I cried into his chest.

Fast forward to all these years later -- to being stung a week ago and that’s when the worst pain hit me like a ton of bricks. This was the very first red wasp sting that Pop wasn’t here for. Talk about a crushing, heart breaking pain that didn’t stop once the physical pain from the stings ended. I remember instinctively wanting to pick up my phone and call him to come over. Because it didn’t matter where he was or what he was doing, if I ever needed him, he would stop what he was doing and be right there for me, always. For every daughter out there who has lost their father to COVID, I know you understand this pain I speak of. You see that wasp sting is just a reminder to me that Pop will never be able to comfort me, to wrap his arms around me when I have a bad day. Or tell me silly jokes until I laugh even when I may not necessarily feel like laughing. That’s just the kind of dad he was.

We’ve reached 1 million deaths and Pop was my one in a million and COVID made him one in the million. I urge every daughter out there who still has their dad to go give him the biggest hug, call him and tell him you love him now, do it often, capture the little moments, make funny memories because I can promise you once he’s gone, it’s all those moments that will matter the most to you later on. Take it from me, the girl known as the Memory Keepers Daughter, that something as awful as getting stung by a National Geographic size red wasp can trigger some of the most loving, genuine details of your life. There’s one thing COVID will never be able to steal from me -- all of my memories with Pop. And Pop, I know you’re up there shining down and smiling at me. I feel it in my heart every morning as I open my eyes. I will always love you and carry you in my heart.

The Love of my Life

Story aboutAlberto Gonzalez

My husband Alberto died on 1/14/21 just two weeks shy of his 48th birthday. (Also my late daddy’s birthday) We were married on 10/19/19, the best day ever! You could say I waited a long time to finally find the love of my life.

I didn’t date as a single mom for years. He was well worth the wait. He was my answered prayer to finding my one true love! When he was taken by Covid I felt so ripped off. We had so many plans left undone.

Although I feel our time was cut short the love he left has filled my heart and soul for a life time. What would I want you to know about my Berto? He was an amazing dad to three, and a stepdad He was a son, brother and uncle and a papa. He loved his job as a long haul trucker. He would send me pictures of beautiful places that he discovered when on the road. He was a best friend. He was wise and funny. He loved to eat good food. I miss his bear hugs, his sarcasm, his wisdom. I miss him calling me beautiful. I just miss him.

One other thing you should know; I can’t wait until the day we will be reunited again in Heaven. Until that day.

Often on my mind

Story aboutEdward Dahlberg

My dad was the most honest, helpful, heart of gold person I have ever known.

We talked often, but he always finished his emails with:
Often on my mind always in my heart!

My Little Brother

Story aboutJohnny Fischer

My brother Johnny died on April 11, 2020. He was 66 years young and previously was in a nursing home for short term acute care and rehab where he contracted Covid.

My mom lost her only son and I lost my only sibling. We were 14 months apart and there was never a time in my life that Johnny was not there. I lost a big part of myself since we were like Irish twins. I always protected my little brother and I feel like I failed him.

The grief and pain continues but there is a divine blessing. My son Sean is in graduate school in Social Work and wants to specialize in grief and trauma therapy and honor his Uncle Johnny.

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