Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This isn't a day I really know what to say, so I usually just don't say anything at all. 
I've started and gotten halfway through this post a hundred times, here and in my head the past two days. 

It's hard to know what to say.  It's hard for me to write this because part of me really doesn't want to share anything at all.  I've been on my own all day and that's the way I handle these things. 

I know I'm not the only one who's hurting, but with the multitude of Facebook posts of yellowed photos of happy little girls with curls and dads with striped shirts and bad haircuts, I feel a little bit alone.  I don't know what that's like. 

Sometimes I think it'd be easier to talk to other people who have lost parents on days like today, but I don't. I don't know the way it feels to have someone there one day and not the next, and I don't know what it feels like to watch death slowly creep in and take someone, either.   

I just know it as a hole.  Something that should be there that isn't.  
I've come at it thousands of different ways, and I should be good at handling it after having it there with me my whole life, but one thing I can tell you is that grief isn't temporary.  It's there. It's there when you feel it and when you don't. 

I don't think I'd have started writing this at all if it hadn't snuck up on me a week or two ago at a relative's wedding. One minute I was on a trip, taking pictures, and the next I was watching the bride dance with her dad feeling the kind of pain that makes it hard to breathe.  And I didn't see it coming, and I didn't like that I couldn't control it, that it came so out of left field, and that it just hadn't gotten better already.  Because honestly, as an adult, shouldn't I have seen it coming and been able to just push it off?

When I was a kid, I made up stories about spies and dreamed of unlikely returns. When I was a teenager, I wanted to learn.  I felt like I couldn't know who I was if I didn't know who he was, even though the more I heard the wider the hole seemed to tear open, and the angrier and sadder I got knowing more about who I'd missed.  I was jealous that everyone else had stories- relatives and aunts and uncles.  They had encounters and I had ideas, and that was never going to change. 

I wanted to be like him, but when I was, and someone noticed, that hurt too.  I read thing he wrote and dreamed of places he'd loved.  When I first got to Colorado, I couldn't stop staring.  I felt like the better I knew the place the better I'd know him.  When I saw my first mountain I felt like it was something that we could share, because I knew it was something that he loved too, and I knew that I was somewhere that he had been.  That trip was with the school, and I worked hard to hide everything I was secretly trying to process, save from a few people. 

A few years later I went back to Colorado as a newly minted "adult" to stay with a friend.  The plane landed in Denver as the sun set over the Rockies, and I cried. I felt like I was touching something I couldn't touch anywhere else. 

The truth is, all these years and I still don't know the best way to deal with it. 
All these years later and I still lose "control" over it, even as an adult. 
Sometimes it's something I barely think about, and ten seconds later I'm setting my jaw against a complete breakdown.  Sometimes I see someone with their dad and I get angry or jealous, and I know it's not rational, but it doesn't make the feeling go away. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't feel the way I feel, like I don't have the right, or it's not important, because I was too young to know what life was, let alone death.  Sometimes it feels good to know that I was so, SO loved by my dad, even before I understood what that meant, and sometimes it makes me sad that I never once got to run up and hug his neck and love him right back. Sometimes I'd give anything to remember, and other times I'd give anything to forget. 

This time I'm writing this because I don't know the right way to grieve. Nobody does. 
I don't understand how anybody else who has lost someone they love feels, and nobody else understands exactly how I feel about my loss. 

I've had to learn that it's ok to have my rituals and it's ok to have my radio silence.  It's ok to allow myself a moment of anger or jealousy or just cry. I've relearned in the course of three weeks that as far removed as you feel from it, loss can sneak right back up on you and tear down all the fortresses you built to keep it out. 
And that sucks. It sucks that it's a part of who you are from that point forward,  and you can't change that.  

I don't have it figured out, and I don't know that I ever will. 
Some days are better than others.
This isn't a better day. 
But there's other ones coming. 

Maybe no one knows how I feel exactly, and maybe I'll never be able to explain it, but I know I'm not alone.
I'm not alone, and that's enough. 
And that's why I decided to write this.
Because you aren't alone, either.

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