Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear Dad - Happy Father's Day

Dear Dad,

A year ago for Father's Day we gathered - knowing, but not accepting, it might be our last - and we made you a dinner that was organic, alkaline, GMO-free, and nutritionist approved. By the time the meal was ready, mom had to coax you from the basement where you were puttering around, because you didn't have an appetite and felt bad about not wanting to eat all the food we'd prepared in your honor. That made me want to cry more than anything. That you didn't want to let us down, after all the effort. If you only knew...

This year our world is so different. Worse in so many ways, better in some. I did nothing to celebrate except spare a few spiders' lives. You never really liked us to make a big deal out of commercial holidays anyway. I thought about you. I thought about what the day was meant to be. I wondered if maybe I should be more contemplative, or perhaps watch some home videos or get out pictures. The ugly truth is... I don't really want to remember right now. Sometimes I feel like if I let the full magnitude of this whole life and death thing really wash over me, it will completely swallow me and I will drown in uncertainty. I'm trying to find the balance between carrying you with me always, and letting go of all the parts that hurt. Right now it all hurts. Not everyday or every minute, but it somehow seems easier to just keep on pretending everything's okay, than to face the weight of reality.

I still wrestle with the fact that you're not here. Given the nature of our relationship, it's fairly easy to go a few days or weeks now feeling pretty "normal," caught up in daily drama and stress, before something acts as a jarring reminder. I try to tell myself this is a good thing. We are moving forward and keeping on keeping on, just like you would do if the shoe was on the other foot. But a part of me just has this deep well of guilt for doing all those same things. Guilt for not wanting to shed any more tears, guilt for getting caught up in shallowness and superficial "life" stuff, guilt for not honoring your memory more often and in more meaningful ways.

I think missing you isn't as easy as JUST missing you. For me it's also a whole lot of questions and uncertainties that I don't have answers or assurances for right now. It's simpler to just shelf the whole thing, and try to live life. But....

That seems so unfair. 

Unfair to all of the memories, and the love, and the years you spent dedicated to providing for me, guiding me, growing me. I haven't forgotten. Oh Lord, keep me from ever forgetting the good parts. That is so terrifying. I really don't know what else to do but just keep living, and hope the answers will come or peace will take their place. If you were here, I'd ask you - but if you were here, I don't believe I'd need to ask. 

So, Dad, I rescued a few spiders for you! Pretty sure you would have valued that more highly than most other things. I don't need a special day to be reminded I had a wonderfully complex character for my dad. One who valued even the tiniest spider's life. That fact is with me everyday, carved into my heart.

I love you, always and forever.


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