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A Year Later, A Decade Wiser

March 6, 2018

“Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.” – George Eliot

At this precise time last March 6th, I was at work awaiting word from my mother on the progress of my Dad’s bone spur removal surgery. Never in a million years did I think that by 9:30 that night, I’d be living in a world without him. In the coming days I heard from friends who had lost one or both parents before the age of 40. “The hurt will never go away, you’ll just get used to it” or “You’ll go through the stages of grief when you least expect it. Maybe not all five of them, but it will happen.” Those words, while greatly appreciated, also held no context for me. People said I’d go through an anger stage which I found ridiculous. I’d never be angry at my father for dying. Then one day I found myself in the back of our office taking a metal baseball bat to a stack of old VCR’s while tears of anger and frustration flowed freely. So much for not being angry. They said I would go through a bargaining stage. I scoffed. Me? Bargain? I don’t bargain with anything. Well, at least until I found myself at Gallup park promising the Universe I’d become the male version of Mother Theresa if it would just return my dad. They told me that I’d go through a stage of depression. No big deal, I thought. I go through winter depression every November-February I pull that shit off like a champ. Until the day I found myself sitting in a mental black hole and unable to function. They told me that I would go through things that I’d not understand until I actually went through it. That part I understood. In a lot of ways it was like going through cancer. Until you actually go through it, you will never fully understand.

I think to me, the weirdest thing about my father dying, is trying to reconcile the fact that one minute my father was holding on to my arm, the next he was gone. Everyday I walk into the office that he worked at and sit down at the desk that he sat at. On the walls are the pictures he had from his football days at the University of Michigan. Everywhere I go I see traces of my father. Sometimes I’ll be minding my own business and suddenly the image of him falling to the floor will smack me in the face leaving me angry and teary eyed. Sometimes I’ll walk into a place that he used to frequent and I’ll find myself reliving conversations we had. It’s hard to fathom the fact that he’s not physically here anymore. It confuses me and often times leaves me baffled because he had always been here and now…

It’s been one year to the day since I lost my dad and yet I feel like I’ve gained a decades worth of wisdom in that time. At the end of the day there is no rhyme or reason to why he died. The only thing I do know is that every day I am surrounded by him. Whether it’s memories or pictures, or even the faces of friends he had, he’s always here. And that’s the thing isn’t it? I don’t know the meaning of death. I don’t know why it’s a part of life or what mysteries it contains, what I do know is that while my dad is no longer here physically, he’s still here in many other ways, and in a lot of ways that makes it better because whenever I miss him, I can close my eyes and take myself to whichever memory I want to be lost in. I guess in philosophical terms, that makes him very much alive.

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