I know, it’s Mother’s Day – but this one is a little rough for me, so please bear with some rambling. It’s the one year anniversary of my father’s death. And I still can’t believe that it’s true.
Literally, not a day goes by where I don’t absentmindedly think to pick up the phone and call him. Sometimes just to tell him something, and sometimes just because I’m bored and I miss him.
It’s been a really rough year. Anything associated with my dad seemed to come tinged with drama, and this has not been an exception. My relationships with his family, instead of growing stronger, seem to have become even unhinged, as I try to work through my own grief and somehow still end up as the center of support for everyone else. I’m consciously trying to take a step back from that role, and … it isn’t always pretty.
Mourning him is so difficult. My dad was such a polarizing figure, and people have strong emotions about him. And very often, I feel like I’m the only one who bears that burden. I know that’s not entirely true, but on some level – it is. We had a very complicated and unique relationship. He was more my friend than a dad in a lot of ways (although I’m realizing, now that he is gone, how much I really did learn from him – it’s so hard to accept that I can’t tell him that …) and in a lot of ways, I really was my dad’s best friend. It’s a heavy mantle.
I keep thinking about how much he’s missing. And whenever I do or experience something fun, I think about how much he’d love to hear about it, or what he would say. And I think that’s where I get tripped up. Because as my sister has pointed out – he’s not missing it. He’s dead. He doesn’t know he isn’t here. It’s really more about me, wishing he was here to share it. It’s a fine distinction, and I think it helps. When I think about it from what I would consider “his” perspective, I feel sad for him, and almost guilty that life goes on. When I think about how I feel about it — well, I mean – that’s just healthier. It also helps, because my dad was many things, but unpredictable wasn’t one of them. I can almost hear and predict, word-for-word what he would have said in almost any situation, and sometimes — that helps.
So, life goes on. And I’ll continue to try and untangle some of the messes he left, try to find ways to honor him as life goes on, and keep his voice in my head. But today, one year later? I’m just sad.