In the past year, a lot has happened to me. All the small things seem insignificant compared to the loss of my beloved father. As the year mark of his passing approaches, I wanted to document a few of my thoughts and feelings. Going through the grief process is incredibly wild - exhausting, frustrating, uplifting, and blessed all rolled into one. While my intention for this blog is to remain generally lighthearted, I think it is important to not only document these life changes, but also to help others going through the same thing. No one grieves in the same way, but maybe something I've experienced can help you.
If you're wanting something less serious, skip this post. As I write more entries about grief, you will be able to locate them at the top under "Non-Mommy Gets Serious."
It's been a little over a year since I unexpectedly lost my dear father. I wanted to write about it on the anniversary of his death, but the week of the anniversary of his death was extremely difficult for me. I think that I cried more that week than I had the past year.
The past year has just been surreal. It's really odd to understand that someone you love is really and truly gone. The reality sets in. If you're walking through a journey of grief, you may be wondering what it is like a year later.
First of all, you cry less. You still cry, but not as often. I find that on days where I am very stressed or tired, I think about him more and become emotional. A year later, you find that little things catch you completely off guard, and sometimes, they will make you cry. Recently, I was in church and a song my father sang often was played. I've heard it a thousand times, but I started bawling like a baby (even though in just a few minutes, I would have to go up in front of everyone!).
I also had an odd experience recently. I noticed that someone was staring at me. I had no idea who she was. She finally approached me, and asked who my parents were. I told her, and she smiled broadly. She grew up on a farm near my father and attended a one room school house with him. She recognized his face in mine. It was difficult to swallow the lump in my throat.
One year later, I dream about him a lot more. I remember, vividly, the first time he was in one of my dreams. I saw him, and I couldn't stop crying because I was so happy to see him. I didn't tell him that I was crying because he was dead, and he didn't ask. I just remember sobbing with joy. Later, I had dreams where I would be speaking to him on the phone and I'd ask him where he was. He'd never answer, just say "It's three o'clock. I have to go." Someone later asked me if 3:00 meant something, but I don't think it does. Now, a year afterwards, I dream about him fairly regularly, but it's not me searching for him, or crying as much.
I still think that I see him, occasionally, but not often. This makes me sad in a way, because it's like I am accepting that he's really gone. It almost makes me feel guilty somehow, but I couldn't tell you why. Every once in a while, though, I'll see a man that looks like him and I catch my breath.
It is easier to talk about him a year later. It used to be that talking about him would send me into a very sad state, but now I can speak about him without crying (for the most part - although I am crying typing this). I still refer to him as alive every now and then, but less than I used to. Again, this makes me incredibly sad and feel guilty.
It's been one year and I have about the same amount of desire to visit his grave as I did when he was buried - none. I don't know why, but I don't really care to go to his grave. It doesn't feel like I'm visiting him when I am there. In fact, I think I've been there maybe twice since he passed away. Sorry, Dad, but you're not there, and I don't really want to hang around your headstone.
I have to take a moment to brag on my mother, too. My mother has been incredibly strong. I am so proud of her. I cannot imagine having to live her life without my dad. But she is moving forward, finding a path that works for her, and I am daily amazed by her ability to keep going. If my father were here, he would literally be crying and telling her how very proud of her he is. Well deserved praise indeed.
A year later, I have found that I have made it. Even as an adult, I could not possibly imagine how I could live without one of my parents. Now, I've done it. It's not perfect, but I made it. You can't expect everything to be ok. It will NEVER be the same, and I still have to face a very sad prospect of life without my father. It is still going to hurt, and you wish that everyone could keep his memory alive forever, but by God's grace, you will make it through.
A year later and I still would absolutely love to hear his voice one more time. I'd love to have him hug me so tightly, smelling like soap and toothpaste. I wish he were here to give me a hard time about owning a Mac, or about how messy my car is, or telling me corny jokes. One year down, how many more to go?
(I'm listening to this song very, very often right now. Reminds me of him. About three minutes in, it really gets to me.)