Hans J Wolf, our founder, and my beloved Father, passed away on January 27, 2018
One year ago. It feels like an eternity. It feels like yesterday. Other times it feels like time stands still, and I am stuck in a never ending dream that I am desperately trying to wake up from. I am constantly aware of your absence.
Hans J. Wolf was my father. He was my Dad, my mentor, my “buddy” as he liked to say, my best friend, my confidant, and my biggest supporter. He was my Daddy, as I joking still called him. There was nothing that I did in life that could surprise him, or stop his constant and unconditional love for me and the rest of our family. My Dad watched me take my first breath on September 23, 1976, and on January 27, 2018 I caught his head in my hands as he took his last.
I read somewhere that the death of any loved parent is an incalculable blow. Because no one ever loves you again like that. I imagine this is true, because my Dad loved his wife, his three children and his grandchildren above all else. There was nothing that brought him greater joy than being with his family. I cannot remember a defining moment in my life when my Dad was not there by my side, supporting me along with the rest of my family. We are a close knit bunch, and that brought my Dad great joy. I could have never predicted that my Dad would die suddenly at the age of 71. He was outwardly healthy. He religiously took and obsessed over his vitamins every single day! He loved life! He was a pillar of strength to so many. He had so much he still wanted to accomplish in life. I still needed him so much! We all did. None of this mattered though, as I have learned to accept that God must have needed him more.
I have learned a lot in this year. I have learned that the human body does strange things to protect you from yourself when you cannot handle what you are faced with…
When I was I told that there was nothing more they could do to bring my father back, I raced into his hospital room to see him. They had to be mistaken! I distinctly remember feeling an out of body experience as I turned around to head back out of the room upon seeing my Dad lying lifeless on the bed. I felt my arms flail up above my head and felt my mouth open. Apparently blood curdling screams repeatedly come from my mouth. I remember a nurse saying I was in shock. I have been told I carried on like this for some time, and even hurled a box of kleenex a nurse gave me across the room.
After I finally calmed down, I made my way back to my Dad and collapsed on top of him. I can remember breathing in his scent and sobbing into his chest asking him what I was going to tell my little boy who absolutely adored him. I remember running my fingers through his hair, and how incredibly soft his hair was. I would have stayed there forever if the hospital would not have made me leave. I do not remember leaving the hospital or the ride home. I know that I put on my Dads coat and hat that he wore when he was brought in to the hospital and curled up in bed with my son.
I do not remember much of the next few days either. I vaguely remember talking to my Pastor, but I do not recall how I made any of the choices for his memorial service. I have very little recollection of my Dad’s visitation service. We were at the funeral home for over 6 hours that day, and I can recount maybe 2 or 3 memories from that day. I can count on one hand the number of people I remember seeing. I do not even remember leaving or how I got home. I know I got up and spoke at his memorial service, but I have no idea what I said. My mind has completely blacked it out.
I have learned that my Dad was loved beyond measure…
There were over 500 people who came to pay their respects to my Dad, and I continue to receive messages and run into people who tell me how much they loved him, or how funny they thought he was. He made a lasting impression on everyone he met. Growing up my friends always flocked to our house to hang out, and I now know that part of the reason was because I had such a cool Dad. A bit bruising to my ego, but I couldn’t agree more! My Dad took a genuine interest in everyone who crossed his path. It showed in his life, and continues to show in his death.
I have learned that God is still good…
My Faith is, and has been, a huge part of my life for a long time. My Dad nicknamed himself my “church buddy”, as he loved coming to church with me, as long as I did not go too early. He was the only one there when I made the decision to go in front of my church and confess Jesus Christ as my savior, and was later there with the rest of my family when I was “dunked” (as he liked to say), and baptized. My Dad accompanied me to Christmas Eve service in 2017. He made the decision to light a candle, declaring Jesus as his savior in a special prayer. After he blew the candle out, I told him that it was the best Christmas present he could ever have given me, because I now knew someday we would both be in Heaven together. I had no way of knowing that in just over a month that is exactly where he would be. God did though, and I believe God gave me this one final gift so I would have peace of mind knowing that my Dad is in Heaven. Knowing that I will see my Dad again, brings a little light into the dark.
I have learned that I am my father’s daughter…
I am stronger than I ever knew I could be. I have learned to believe in myself as my Dad always believed in me. I have learned to stand up for myself above all else, and to never let anyone dull my shine. I have learned that I am smarter than people give me credit for; even myself. I can do anything I put my mind to. My Dad may not be here to give me his daily motivational speeches like I used to rely on, but he did such a phenomenal job of helping to build me up to the woman I am today, that they are ingrained on my brain.
I have learned it is okay to move forward…
I will never get over the loss of my Dad. The pain and loss I feel today is as big as it was the day he died. I do not believe time heals all wounds, but I have started to think more about how grateful I am to have had such an amazing father instead of how sad I am to have lost one. How grateful I am for all the precious time we spent together, and the unbreakable father/daughter bond we shared. How grateful I am that my son had such a generous, silly, loving PaPa, and that he has so many awesome memories of him. How grateful I am that my sister and I were with him when God called him home, and he was not alone or suffering. I am grateful that I still have my beautiful Mother who, although dealing with the grief of losing her husband of over 50 years, has been there for each and every one of us. How grateful I am that I now have this beautiful guardian angel shining down on me, protecting me, my son and the rest of my family.
Until we meet again my father, my Dad, my “buddy”…. My Daddy