The last two days have been gray. I mean that very literally…rainy, cold, and overcast. Since the seasons are changing and the trees are losing their leaves, even the vegetation looks gray. Even the few trees that are covered with vibrant leaves some how seem dulled by the rain and the clouds. Gray. I’m not sure if this is what put me in my own gray mood emotionally, or if I was headed there anyway – I’ve managed to have some very sad days amidst brilliant blue skies and sunshine – but during these last two days I’ve felt just as gray as the skies have looked.
I finally emailed my Dad’s oldest sister yesterday. She lives in Knoxville and was a very important part of our lives during Dad’s last two months on earth. She is a nun so her religious and spiritual position allowed her to be a source of counsel for Dad, no matter how distant religion was in his own life. I know that those last two months would have been a lot harder if it had not been for her, on all of us. She has gone out of her way to stay in touch with my brother and I, she has sent emails and letters and gifts to help us in our grief. My brother and I have both sucked monumentally at responding back to her. For the same reason…there are just so many words to say to her and we still don’t know how to say them. So – after she inquired with our Mom this weekend to make sure neither one of us had moved before sending us something she brought back from the Holy Land, we both decided we needed to email her. And while we sent two different emails from our own individual voices, they both said essentially the same thing: We love you, We thank you, and We miss you. We really miss Dad.
That email that I typed out in the wee hours of yesterday morning seemed to act as a thief of any joy I may have had for the rest of the day. Just having to reach deep to send her the sincere email she deserved, it opened up so much of the pain I try to push down every day. My brother and I talk often lately because we fear we may be past to point of acceptable public grieving, yet we have days we hurt so much we just have to talk to someone. It’s usually a text that says something like, “Really missing Dad today.” Just sending that out in the world for the other sibling to see, it gives us a quite a bit in the way of solace because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the other person completely understands the pain we feel.
So…that email put me in a funk yesterday. It did the same for my brother. I just ended up having one of those days where every little thing reminded me of how much I still miss my Dad and how unfair I still feel it is that he is gone. He’ll never know about LilZ’s play, NikkiZ’s first soccer season, and he’ll never hear AndyZ’s laugh. While logically I understand that life just isn’t fair…there’s no mandatory balance anywhere to keep order established. Emotionally? I just find myself angry that he didn’t get to do the things and see the things he deserved to do and see. He raised two kids alone. If anyone deserved a very long and very healthy life…it was him. Yet – every day things transpire in our lives that he’ll never know about. Things we would have enthusiastically called to tell him about, or asked for him to come witness himself. I’m certain he would have planned to be in Tucson in December to see MrZ run his marathon. I know he would buy tickets to LilZ’s first theatrically performance. He would have come to soccer games and probably helped coach on the nights we needed him. He would tickle AndyZ mercilessly.
But he’s not. He wont. Ever again. And the last two days this has just consumed me.
I woke up today and things look like they’re going to be gray. Again. I feel like it’s hard to get out of these emotional ruts, these downward spirals of grief, on any day. But when Mother Nature won’t help me out with some sun? It’s not even possible. So, I’m setting out today – now that I’ve gotten some of the grief out on this blog (Another thing as instrumental to helping me heal from Dad’s death is was through every pregnancy loss back in the day of Reproduction Hell) – and I’m trying to force some sun into my heart. Two days of this darkness is enough, for no other reason than I’ll gain the other 15lbs I’ve lost back just by eating as I tend to do when I’m sad. While there’s something to allowing yourself those days of grief as part of The Process, there’s also something important in realizing when you’re heading towards dark places that aren’t good for those around you. Much less for yourself. I’ve been in those places before and I don’t want to return…Thank You Very Much. So, I pull some of the things Dad himself taught me about spirituality and emotional health and how it affects those close to us, and I buck up. Today I try to use my memory of him as strength to pull me out of the rut I’m falling in instead of letting my grief over missing him push me further down into it. I think he’d like it better that way anyway.
I’ll cry a little bit more, maybe send another text to my brother, and I’ll start my day over. Have the second cup of coffee…take a deep breath…and find the strength to be the wife and Mom my family deserves, that my Dad would want me to be and I’ll do it because he did it. And he did it amazingly well. I’m confident that there is no greater way to honor a brilliant parent than trying to be as brilliant of one yourself.