Archive for September, 2013

Not just a long hiatus

As time goes on, I find myself missing my father more and more. Rarely a day goes by when he doesn’t cross my mind. We never spent much time with one another. Sometimes, months would go by before we would get together, which was fine with me because he mostly drove me nuts. So, maybe that is why I now find myself missing him so regularly. I’ve finally realized that this isn’t one of our long hiatuses. No, unfortunately, it is something far more permanent. The pain I feel when I realize he will never again make fun of me for listening to The Weepies is just as acute as when I realize he will never see me married. I guess this is the perspective that finality brings- that the little things are only “little” for their commonality, not their worth. In hindsight, all my memories of him are precious, even the ones I once thought I’d rather forget.
I’d never lost anyone close to me before my father. At least, not once I could fully grasp what death really meant. This isn’t to say that my father’s death took me entirely by surprise, despite the fact that it was unexpected. I’d written his eulogy in my head dozens of times before, back when I thought his most likely cause of death would be suicide. Honestly, I should think my late Aunt Carol for saving me from that particular tragedy. If she hadn’t taken that step first, I’m sure my father would have done more than just consider it. That said, while his death was heartbreaking, the circumstances could have been much worse. The fact that he died happy, rather than hopeless, is a source of bittersweet relief for me. It is both a balm for my grief and an irritant. I’m glad he died happy, but I would have much preferred him to live happy.
I like to think I’ve handled his death as well as a death can be handled. I finished out the semester, helped clean out his house, I didn’t break down at the funeral, and the strange neurosis I developed (where I thought every message or phone call was a notification that someone had died) didn’t last long. This might have partly been in thanks to the incredibly vivid dreams I had about my father shortly after he died. (When I could finally get to sleep, of course.) There were only three of them, but all of them involved me explaining to my father that he was dead. By the third, he finally seemed to understand, but his unhappiness was palpable. While I realize that these dreams were my method of coming to terms with what happened, and once I had, that they weren’t needed anymore, I still miss them. They felt so real. Interacting with a figment is better than nothing, I suppose.
Still, despite my perspective of dealing with his death well, I can’t with honesty say that I’ve so much dealt with it so much as I’ve done a damn good job of avoiding it. I plastered up the space he used to hold with rationality and distraction. Intellectually, I allowed myself to accept that he was gone, and gone for good. I likened his passing to a corrupt hard drive, and imagined he would find it fitting. I took superficial comfort in the law of conservation of energy, while ignoring the fact that there is no relief for grief in protons and electrons. I acknowledged that his passing was a shame, but I rarely allowed myself to actually feel how goddamn shitty it was that he was gone. I tricked myself into skipping all the steps before acceptance, saying I’d gone through it all in my head many times before. And yes, I do accept his death. I can’t not. But I did both of us a disservice when I didn’t allow myself to experience the anger, frustration and grief of his passing, simply because I grasped the immutability of his passing.
Now, though, I find myself missing my father more and more. Rarely a day goes by when he doesn’t cross my mind. Very slowly I am allowing myself to remember him, and miss him. I’m letting myself feel angry, and I’m letting myself feel sad. Because that is what he deserved, and it is what I deserve as someone who loved him.

I wish you were here pops. I miss your face.

I need new words saved

My old phrases of melancholy,

Withered vines and

Grey skies

No longer apply.

The taste of dust,

The waste of time,

Ruts and rust and dirtied skies

All of these I’ve left behind.

The ubiquitous blossom

Has finally thrived.