There have been many times since I’ve become a Mom that I’ve surprisingly felt very young. Sometimes it’s when I’m getting sucked into the latest Teen Fiction. Other times it’s when I feel insecure with my appearance. I find myself saying, “Wow. Hard to believe I’m an adult. Much less – a Mom.” But these are always very brief and very superficial feelings. Nothing but a glimpse of a younger me.

But since Dad died, I’ve discovered a new range to that feeling. I’ll find myself talking to someone who lost a parent at a much younger age and I’ll think, “Wow. They had it much harder than I do.” I mean, I’m 33. I’ve been away from home for 15 years. While I loved my father dearly – he was not part of my every day life – making the grief easier. I’m an adult. The sadness is there (of course) but the coping is different as an adult. Right? I mean – I’m 33. It’s much easier, right?

Except…there are so many moments as I think about how much I miss him that I feel like a child. A tiny little girl left alone in her home without her Daddy. At least once a day (sometimes more) I feel this profound sadness that overtakes me in the moment. I keep myself distracted as much as possible, but at least once a day it sneaks in and I ache and hurt like I’m a child. I feel alone and scared. I want to wrap my arms around my knees and rock back and forth sobbing into the t-shirt I’ve wrapped over my legs. I just want to wail at the top of my lungs, “I WANT MY DADDY.” Because I do. I miss him so bad and it hurts still so much that I feel no more an adult than my daughter does. It is at these moments that I feel lost. And I just want to beg the universe to give my Daddy back to me. Back to the little girl left alone without her shelter and her protection. Alone in the dark with the boogeyman and the monster under her bed.

But then I shake it off. Because I am 33. And I have my own children to protect and care for. I dry my eyes and distract myself. Again. And hope that maybe the next time the wave of grief hits it will be easier. Because everyone tells me it will. Eventually.

22 thoughts on “Aged.”

  1. My dad died unexpectedly at the age of 49, and I was 19. If I’ve determined anything at all in the last 14 years, it’s that it doesn’t matter when you lose a parent – they’re still gone. I miss him terribly everyday. It doesn’t rule my world much like it did when his death happened, but even after all this time, I still tear up when I’m holding the grandson he didn’t get to know, or trying to explain to my son what a great guy his Grandpa was. Dads are dads, and the bond with a daughter is great. Take care of yourself!!

  2. I haven’t lost a parent to death, but I have lost my parents to their own narcissism (sp?). Sadly, I know exactly how you feel.

  3. When it comes to grief, I don’t like words such as “easier” and “harder”. It is all just “different”. I don’t think your grief is any less just because you are older.

    Wait a second. I just read HDW’s comment. I think she summed it all quite nicely, so I will just stop.

    Peace, Kim. Take care of yourself.

  4. Can I tell you all that feeling as vulnerable as I’ve felt tonight – I should NOT have watched “So You Think You Can Dance”! I cried through the entire episode. Let me just tell you this: My Dad would NOT be impressed with that. 🙂

  5. I haven’t commented in awhile, but you’ve been in my prayers since you lost your Dad. My father lost his parents when he was in his fifties. He grieved for years because, even at 55, he felt like an orphan. I’m really so very sorry for you. Hugs.

  6. Easier? Hell no. But there will be more and more distance between each wave of grief as time passes.

    I lost my dad when I was 2 weeks shy of my 16th birthday. I’m almost 31 now. Even after all this time, I’ll be fine for months, years, then something out of the blue will make me cry about my daddy.

    You almost sound as if you feel a little guilty about feeling sad when other people have lost their parents at an earlier age. Please don’t. He was your daddy, and from your descriptions, a terrific daddy. And you loved him. It doesn’t matter when you lose your daddy.

    Am sending you a BIG hug via the internet. And now I’m thinking about my daddy! Wah!

  7. I have never commented on this subject because I cannot fathom your pain. I wish I could hug you. It is just plain hard! I’m so sorry!

  8. Zoot, i am sorry. You are so young, I wish you could have had decades more with him. It will get better, then worse again, then better. Missing my grandma so bad, and I keep thinking how much grief (of a different sort 🙂 she would give me if she was here. She was pretty level-headed about this kind of thing.

  9. Aw Kim. *hug*
    Silly, but this reminds me of a scene from Grey’s Anatomy, just after George’s dad has died…

    CRISTINA: “There’s a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can’t be in it until you’re in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss… My dad died when I was nine. George, I’m really sorry you had to join the club.”
    GEORGE: “I… I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.”
    CRISTINA: “Yeah, that never really changes.”

    Not that I just shared a particularly CHEERFUL quote. Geez, Heather.
    But…I don’t know. It seemed to make sense, and I felt like I should share it.
    When my parents split, when I was 14, there was a lot going on and because of some mental health issues my dad underwent a major personality change, and a lot of the time I feel like I lost him then, even though we still speak (awkwardly) once in a blue moon. I know it’s not the same…but on some weird level, I think I have felt something akin to a small part of what you lost, and I just wanted to say that I am so deeply sorry you had to join the club.

  10. I think you are doing great. My mom died in March and there are still days that all i want to do is pile up all the duvet’s in the house and just hibernate with my photo albums. Other days I am okay just to think about the happy times.

    It sounds like you have your head on really straight about it though. You are still going to work, still taking really good care of your kiddos and you are maintaining your own daily functions.

    I think it will be a year before we are all better, but please know that your grief is your own and it doesn’t matter if you are 33 or 13, it is not going to hurt any more or any less. Please give your self a little break, you did a great job getting through it and you are doing better each day.

    will be thinking of you…

  11. I’m crying with you. I don’t think it is any easier to deal with as an adult. I lost my grandmother who raised me when I was 18, which was more than 20 years ago, and I still think about her constantly. I find that as time passes the grief isn’t easier, but it is less frequent. Hang in there.

  12. FWIW, the way you’re talking about your missing your dad reminds me of Seamus Heaney’s more recent work. He observes that once your parents are gone, there’s nothing between you and the stars.

    But you, you’re between your children and the stars. Parenthood keeps you grounded, a little bit.

  13. Thanks for being so honest! Hang in there, I am so amazed at your openess for sharing to us out here on the internet! Zoot you have guts and I know you Dad would be proud of that!

    I don’t think any one cares that you cried though so you think you can dance. Plus the girl, (Mary?) judge ALWAYS cries on that show. so no judgement here!

  14. It is totally normal and acceptable to have those kinds of feelings. I have those some days, wanting my mom and I too am 33. However, I can still call her. I seriously don’t know what I would do with myself if I didn’t/couldn’t.

  15. Just the other day I was doing something and wondered how you were doing. I’ve been following your blog (which is great btw) but I still wondered how YOU were doing.

    Hang in there! They do say it gets better so I’m hoping it happens for you soon.

    Take care!

  16. My sister was 39 when dad died (not her biological dad, but her dad all the same) and I was 3 months (exactly 3 months actually) from turning 21. We both cried. My brothers are 7 and 12 years older than me, and they cried (I’ve never anyone cry like that).

    Age doesn’t matter. When it comes to parents you are always little. You grow up thinking your parents are God, and nothing can go too wrong when they are there. Part of that stays with you and when the day comes when they have to leave life I think a huge part of the shock is ‘oh my god, who is going to protect me now?’ no matter what age. The person who’s been there and protected you since the day you were born is not there to do it anymore. It is ouchie.

    Speaking of dads… I got my wedding license the other day in the mail, and the signature on it looks just like my dads signature. I actually thought at first that they had copied my dads signature on there for some reason. But then I realised he had just blessed my marriage. (I shall now go to bed and CRY.)

  17. My father died when I was 34, and a wise friend told me, “It doesn’t matter how old you are when your dad dies, you become four again.” That’s certainly how I felt: like a little kid at a shopping mall who couldn’t find her dad all of the sudden, but the only problem was that he was gone forever.

    It does get better; it fades into the background somewhat, but it’s always there, IMO.

    Just recently, I’ve found myself having the kind of intense crying fits that I used to during the first six months after my dad died, and because I can be obtuse about why something is upsetting me, I only recently realized that it could be because Father’s Day is coming up. Uh yeah.

    (Crying fits: they usually occur in my car–private space–and usually consist of thinking “I want my dad back” over and over, and sometimes even saying it out loud.)

    LOVE the picture, Zoot, and Heather’s Grey’s Anatomy quote sums it up exactly:

    GEORGE: “I… I don’t know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn’t.”
    CRISTINA: “Yeah, that never really changes.”

    It doesn’t change, but it does soften a bit.

    Good dads stay with you forever, even when you can’t physically see them anymore. He’s still with you.

    /off to blot my face dry…subject hits way close to home…best of luck to you as you move through this

  18. I have read your blog for several years and commented from time to time. I just wanted to say I know how you feel as I am sure most people do when they have lost a parent to soon.

    I lost my dad 7 years ago and I am now 32 and the frequency of the punch in the stomach feeling has gotten less frequent however it hasn’t gone away totally. I am sure you know the feeling, like the wind has been knocked out of you. It usually happens to me at the most odd times when I least expect it.

    I have found as time has passed it’s the times people don’t talk about that make me miss him most. Everyone thought my wedding day was going to be hard, not having him there. In reality I was just so excited to be married to my husband it overpowered my sense of loss. It’s the quite moments when I want to pick up the phone to call him and tell him something funny that happened or ask for stupid advise, that’s when it hurts and the realization of the loss is there.

    I don’t want to be sad or morose I guess what I am trying to say is they will always stay with you and the missing will always be there because they where amazing people and did such and amazing job at raising us to be who we are today and I have found I just wish he was here still, to see me now.

    I don’t want to put words into what you may be feeling, I just felt as though I could relate. I hope time heals for you 🙂

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