Almost a month ago was the anniversary of my dad’s death. I wrote several entries that I had intended on posting that day because a week out, I felt compelled to write and share. But the closer the day came, the more I pulled back. 8 years without my dad felt significant to me. It’s not so much that 1 year or 4 ½ years didn’t, or that 10 years won’t, but I felt I had gotten to a place where I could talk about it differently because I had learned how to process it differently. The first draft I wrote was raw and would probably hurt my family members to read. The subsequent drafts were less-cutting and read better, but lost a sense of realness and honesty. It occurred to me that I wasn’t ready to write as big of a piece on the subject as I had set out to. What I wrote was for myself (even though I don’t have the urge to read it again anytime soon), and I ultimately came to the decision that I couldn’t manipulate it to be for anyone else, nor was I ready to share what I had originally written.
And actually, that happens a lot when I set out to write a blog entry, regardless of the subject matter. When I created this blog, I created it with what I thought was a clear sense of its content, as well as a clear sense of my target audience. Now I’m not sure, as there are things I feel I need to write about and sometimes feel compelled to put in a public forum which have nothing to do with the base description at the top of the blog.
My time at my current school and likely some of my jobs is coming to an end within the year. I’m not sure what is next, and that’s exciting and also scary. I struggle with that, as I’m sure most people would. It occurs to me, though, that one of the things I struggle to reconcile is making life-altering decisions and moving forward without my dad. This is a funny thing to me, because at a certain age, one’s parents are not a significant part of a decision-making (at least not in this society). There are exceptions to the rule, but I have been taught and allowed to make school and career decisions without regard to how anyone else feels about them, and without considering exactly far away I may have to move away in my pursuit of them.
Yet and still, I would do just about anything to be able to consult with my dad. It is not so much that I feel he would have better things to say than the people who are alive and well around me; it’s just that I’m so curious as to what he would think. Some days it is heartbreaking to realize that I have lived more of my adult life with him than without him, and no matter how long I live, this will always be the case. In 12 years I will have lived more of my life without him than with him, which is hard to think about.
This is perhaps the crux of what it is to miss somebody; they can no longer help to weigh in on your life, or be a witness to it. The problem with death (besides that it is a fact of life) is that it is incredibly difficult to understand. I was there at the time of his death and yet the idea of him being nowhere to be found is still hard to accept both logically and emotionally. It is unreal to accept someone’s departure from existence as we know it—that’s why many people say they often pick up the phone to call their loved ones who have died and then suddenly remember (as though it’s easy to forget) that there’s no one there anymore. I haven’t had that specific experience, but there are several other triggers that still catch me off-guard.
I’d like to think that I know what my dad would say if I could talk to him about everything that’s on my mind right now, but I just don’t know for sure, and that doesn’t sit well with me.
I feel only slightly compelled to end this on a lighter note, but honestly, I don’t have one. I think there are simply times when you need steep in sadness. For me, even in my excitement for what’s next, that sadness is the space I’m in for now.
I do love this song, though, and since I’ve listened to this song a lot lately, I thought I might include it. If you are at all unfamiliar with Mariah Carey’s low register and/or Stevie Wonder’s music, you should watch. I watch this often when I’m feeling down, no matter the reason: