My dad died 13 years ago. That seems so crazy to say or to even write out. So blunt and impersonal. I have been told that because so much time has passed I should stop feeling weird on August 1st especially because I have lived more then half my life without him.
I received my first kiss, graduated both high school and college, and I have been married all without him there so you would think that after all this time this day wouldn’t effect me. But it does. How can it not? When someone dies that day in history is stamped in your brain like a birthday. That day is there and try as you might to forget about it and to not think about it, the truth will always hang around like a stray cat. Even if I don’t cry about it as much as I used to, actually today I didn’t cry at all, the reality that my dad passed away on this day 13 years ago remains the same.
Loosing someone is never easy and for me grieving is a lost art. I have lost love so much in my life that I often feel like I have forgotten how to grieve. How to understand the power of loss.
My grandpa died the day after my husband met him for the first time. He had been sick so it wasn’t a complete surprise but it still felt weird knowing that David and I were the last to see hime, with the exception of my grandmother. There was so much going on in my life at that point. I was rejected by a church for being with David, I had school finals, and I was working. Not to mention the family drama that came with the loss. It has never been said and maybe it is because my family doesn’t see it or I have just placed myself in this role without being asked, but I am the one that is there for my family. The shoulder to cry on and the ear to listen. No one knows this, until now, but when I found out that my grandpa passed away I never cried. Not once. Because my mom was broken and my cousin was hurting. The family was fighting as families often do and I was there to listen. When they asked me to break the ice and be the first to speak at the funeral, I did. The day after the funeral when my family asked me to pray over brunch, I did. I am not complaining nor am I angry I am just explaining my process of grief. I don’t fall apart and very rarely do I cry in front of people. I remember after my grandpas funeral folding some laundry in my room when David came in. He asked if I needed a hug and I said I was fine and I continued to match my socks. He walked over and hugged me anyways and he held me there for a long time. I asked what he was doing and he whispered “it’s your turn to grieve” and for first time I did.
When you loose someone at a young age, I was eleven, it changes you. It grows you up and smacks you in the face. It says, be tough life is hard. It makes people see you differently and the world you once knew fades away like steam. My parents had been divorced my whole life so it wasn’t like I lost a father I saw everyday. Doesn’t mean I loved him any less but it’s different when the parent you lost was only someone you saw every other weekend. He even lived three hours away. It makes you wonder what life would have been like if he had lived with you. The questions you would have asked if only you had known. When dad died I lost a whole lot more then a father. I felt as if I lost a family. With my parents being divorced it made it almost impossible to spend time with my dad’s side of the family. Not without trying of course.
For a long time all I could ever feel was fragile. Like I was broken somehow. But over the years as memories fade and distance between past and future prevails your prespective changes. Loosing someone becomes more like a fact then a memory. It is no different then saying, “My favorite color is yellow.” As awful as that sounds. It is true in a way. For a long time I viewed myself as fatherless but as I grew I realized that I may have lost my biological dad but I had a man in my life who raised me. We often fought, he told me I deserved better, that I was smart, was mad when I wore too revealing clothes, was there to hug me at my graduation, told me he was proud when my college degree came in the mail, he gave me away at my wedding and picked a song for us to dance too. That sounds like a father to me. His name is Bud (yes I know and trust me he is as hillbilly as his name). All jokes aside, I loved my dad more then anything and I still do. Losing him is one of the hardest things I have to live through and I miss him everyday. I often wonder who he would be today or who I’d be. But, the thing with grief is that over time it seems small and distant. Doesn’t make it less real or significant but it is smaller in a way. Like its there in your memories but you have learned to live strong despite the loss.
I guess there is nothing left to say but, “Cheers to a good life, a loved life, and I will forever miss you dad, today you are remembered.”