It’s been many days, a few weeks, since Dad died. I try not to focus on dates or count days so I don’t get hung up on how long it’s been. What I do know is that this is the longest I’ve gone without talking to him, hearing his voice. No off-the-cuff, unadulterated remarks. No clever responses. No discussing current events. No astute answers for all of my questions. No wise, kind, funny, gentle words. I find myself wanting to pick up the phone to share something with him but immediately give that thought a u-turn. I don’t want to fall all the way into the chasm in my mind where he doesn’t exist in living terms. I stop short and redirect.
I’ve had people ask me if it was a relief when he died. I thought I might feel that but I didn’t. Disintegration is the best word I can find. I never felt like anything I did for Dad was a burden. I wanted to do anything I could for him and make his life the best I could for as long as I could. I knew that what I did for him I “got” to do. I knew the day would come where I would no longer get to.
It’s weird being in my folks’ house without him. Walking through the dining room, coming around the colonnade to his chair to see his surprised and smiling face, announcing “Sarah’s here!” without fail, usually followed by “How’d you get in here?” only to find it empty. Void of his daily newspapers, the ones on his left were read and those on his right, yet to be thoroughly examined. No articles cut out with his Swiss Army pocket knife that I got him, waiting to be shared with me. His little radio he used to listen to local football games has been put on a shelf in the basement.
When people ask how Mom and me are doing, I tell them a vague truth. We’re sad, adjusting, grieving, trying to take care of business and trying to find our way. Dad had many things taken care of but there is still much to do. There was no funeral or services of any kind as was Dad’s wish. He didn’t want to take anyone’s time especially for something like dressing up and being sad. Our days rolled from his death right into days that are empty of him, no pomp and circumstance. There was only reading of cards which have now stopped arriving.
There is much to do these days, just different. It’s surreal how I can float in the abyss of an existence without Dad but then be bombarded with the glaring reality of things to take care of, manage, navigate for Mom, my brother and myself. I attempt to give whatever feelings I have space to exist and be acknowledged although the flood I expected has yet to visit me. I find things every day I’m grateful for and to laugh about but that doesn’t diminish the heaviness the envelopes me. Death is a part of life and I’m grateful I got to see him to the end instead of the other way around.
9 thoughts on “Time, Grief, Finding My Way”
Hi Sarah, I want to thank you for your candid discussion of the struggles and joys in your life. I know we haven’t spoken in years, but you frank discussion of tough topics has impacted me and I feel I still know you.
As a result of your posts, i have reexamined and improved my relationship with my parents, who, thankfully, are still with me.
Thank you for being a strong voice that requires those of us without words to think!
Keep fighting the good fight.
Kevin Thomas Kevinthomas66@gmail.com
Hey Kevin, good to hear from you. Thanks for letting me know you’re out there and for reading. I’m glad you’ve still got your folks and that you’re appreciating their presence. I appreciate your kind words. I hope you’re smoking cigars, driving convertibles and kicking ass at a great rate. ~Sarah
I’ve been thinking about you, Sarah! Your blog posts are so genuine. We should schedule some time soon. Sending you a virtual hug until we see each other in person. Love you!
Thanks, babe. Miss you!
Sarah, I have been thinking of you and your Mom and family and wondering how you are doing. Even when our loved ones are suffering it’s never easy to say goodbye. Life won’t be the same without your Dad, but he is always with you. I’m sure things are hectic now but if you would like to get together sometime, it would be great to see you. Take care and please give your Mom my deepest sympathy.
Carol, always so good to keep in touch! I would love to see you soon. The next two weeks are packed but check in with me to get something on our calendars after that.
I will touch base with you after the first of the month. If there is anything I can do to lighten your load, let me know. Cooking, cleaning you name it.
Hi Sarah – I am thinking of you and your family! I appreciate the candid comments. Too many times we keep this to ourselves and it can help with the healing process. Keep writing and remembering all the great things about your dad.
Sarah, as I read your words they take me to the place I struggle with daily. Everyone says, “it gets easier, be grateful for the time you had, celebrate the memories”…logic demands this to be true, however, my heart hasn’t caught up to the logic. Losing both Dad and Mom this past year has created a void so deep it leaves me breathless. Like you I pick up the phone to share a moment then reality strikes. My heart and thoughts are with you…hugs and punches