Today, my dad would have been 66 years old. By some measures, still young. I’ve dreamed of him a lot lately, but then last night’s dream also included my mother and Katie Horner, so I’m not spending a lot of time interpreting things…
I miss him. I think of him every day, and now, with this gift of time, I have more perspective, a better understanding of how you do continue to live when you lose someone you love. The first months, I was convinced that without grief, he would be gone. Somehow, losing the daily sobbing would make him fade, disappear. Then in the next wave of months, it felt like I’d been sentenced to a lifetime of wearing fractured glasses. Impossible to see anything the way it used to be, frustrated that others were blithely continuing their own existences, angry that nobody understood and everyone wanted me to be Over It. Guess what? You don’t ever get Over It. You get Through It. And it ain’t easy.
Last night, as I waited for sleep to come (and bring me both my parents plus a local meteorologist), I thought of how the gaping chasm of grief has become a fissure of melancholy. Bittersweet and deep, but it is something to be acknowledged, even appreciated, not fallen into. Today, even now, as I give voice to these things, I will weep, because the sorrow never goes. But those days are not everyday anymore. Instead, on the ‘regular’ days, I’ll smile, a melancholy or secret smile to myself, when I say something he would have said, or laughed at, or been angry about, or railed at the idiocy of, and we share this. Inside me. When he was alive, he was outside of me, and now in death, he is in my head and my heart. Instead of always mourning, I get to celebrate what we shared, what he taught me, the gifts he gave me. I’m grateful for those who’ve walked this path before me, who shared their perspective and wisdom, because even though I didn’t necessarily absorb it at the time, I put it in my pockets, tucked it away, because I’m a gatherer and a collector, and I knew it would be good to have down the road. Time. How greatly we want it to stand still, to not have anything change, to stave off death, loss, sadness. Yet time is what gives us relief, peace, perspective and appreciation.
Instead of just mourning his memory today, I celebrate the man who gave me so much, and even in death, still laughs when I do.