On losing a father, six months later

It’s been six months. A lifetime ago, or maybe yesterday, I lost my dad. Sometimes, I get really good at focusing on daily routine instead of what’s missing. Other times, it feels as if the daily routine is only a veneer. A pretense. A child playing make-believe because I’m supposed to be an adult.

I received a card from my mom recently, and she signed it Mom. Not Mom and Dad, but Mom. After checking my mailbox, I sat in my car fighting helpless sobs. I kept telling myself, “Stop crying. I’m going to stop crying. There’s no need to cry.” I argued with myself as the tears refused to cease. It was such a tiny thing, but I always took it for granted. Every holiday meant a card signed Mom and Dad. I might not always have been happy with my parents, but they sent the cards.

Sometimes, I want to wake up and no longer be the daughter who lost her father. I just want to be me, ordinary me who will have an ordinary day. Sometimes I actually forget, for a moment or an hour or perhaps a whole day.

Then something will remind me of my dad, and everything floods back.

I wonder if Dad…oh, wait. I can’t ask him.

Dad would know the name of….oh, yeah. Still can’t ask him.

Wouldn’t Dad like to know that I…oh, that’s right.

The recent publication of Freiya’s Stand has brought education closer, and I find myself defensive when educators are criticized. The phrase that makes me see red is, “Those who can’t do, teach.”

I don’t mean thoughtful, intellectual critique of a simplistic statement said without thought. I mean fire-in-the-belly, hot-under-the-collar indignation that anyone dare to malign my father’s life work.

My dad did a lot of things, including teaching and training future generations of teachers.

He was a good man. I hold onto that when I feel robbed of an adulthood without a father.

On good days, I find myself wistful when people my age or older (sometimes decades older) speak of their (living) parents or even grandparents.

On not-so-good days, jealousy rears its ugly head.

Grandparent? Ha! That’s nothing compared to losing a parent.

I shove the uncharitable thoughts away as fast as I can, but the damage is done. Comparison is the evil, divisive tactic of a small person. I fight, but sometimes the urge is overwhelming.

Everyone’s grief is valid. Everyone’s pain is real. Everyone, not just poor little old me, has difficulties. How dare I think otherwise?

But the childish whisper in my heart refuses to be silenced.

We were supposed to have more time.

I’m grateful my father died in strength, and that I didn’t have to watch him suffer the indignities that would have killed his spirit. I’m grateful I got to say good-bye, and that the generosity of loved ones made it possible.

I’m grateful for so many things, but the heart-call remains.

You left before I got to know you, Dad. Not as a daughter depending on her daddy or an adolescent fighting with authority, but one adult to another.

I thought that I, the girl, would care for my parents in their old age.

That’s no longer an option.

What now?

 

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6 thoughts on “On losing a father, six months later

  1. Laurel Lasky says:

    I’m sorry your still in the grieving process. There is no time limit. I still get the urge to pick up the phone and call mom. I still have dreams about her. I lost my sister 22 years ago and I have her picture hanging on the wall. I still have conversations with her and dream about her. I still occasionally cry over the loss. I’m just thankful for the memories. I feel your pain. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. abby says:

    It’s been much longer than 6 months for me….I now think there will always be triggers that make the grief wash over you. Yes, it does get easier to remember with a smile instead of a tear..or sobs…but the tears still come. HUGS…abby

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  3. Sherilyn says:

    My father was a historian by avocation. He and I would go ’round and ’round during election season, pulling up historic references to bolster our arguments. I miss him so much during this election! The urge to call him is ever-present. He died six years ago this December. I call my stepmom instead. It doesn’t stop my missing him, but it does allow me to get to know the second great love of his life better. It’s not consolation, but it is something of a comfort for me. Grieving ends when it does. I don’t know when that is, but I do know it’s different for each of us. Love you, Ana, and empathize greatly.

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  4. awesomesub says:

    Hi Ana, I am sorry that you could not have more time with your dad. That there are people speaking so unfairly about something which was so important for your dad is outrageous, and it is awful how they hurt you with their thoughtless comments.

    I am with Laurel on that there is no time limit on grieving. One of my hopes is that the many good memories you have about your dad help a little when the pain you feel is overwhelming; but this is not always the way things work, is it? We had a very difficult time when a friend of mine died three years ago. And even though there are the good memories, thinking about her takes me on an emotional roller coaster ride with a lot of tears. Sometimes I feel like memories help, but sometimes not really. I’d say there is no right and wrong way of dealing with grief, and it is not like you can put it in a box and be done with it. No, it takes time, and everybody has to find their own way of dealing with it. Sending good thoughts your way. ❤

    Hugs and love

    Nina

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  5. rozharrison says:

    Sending huge (((Ana))) the loss of a parent is so hard and, as has been said above, there is no time limit on grief. Sending positive thoughts and strength your way.

    Hugs
    Roz

    Like

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