Dad, Grief


Today is (would be?) my Dad’s birthday. I thought about doing a “Dear Dad” entry like I’ve done before, but that always rings a little false since I don’t believe in any sort of afterlife.

I used to pray a lot back when I was a believer, and I miss that feeling of just talking into the void. Some nights I start…and think, “Hey Dad…” but it just feels weird. Same as when my faith was fading and I would try to pray. When you don’t believe? You just don’t believe. And pretending doesn’t do anything for me.

These last few months I’ve been more stressed than usual, sleeping poorly, worried about more than usual – and thinking about talking to him just reminds me how much I miss talking to him. Then I end up just crying from the pain of losing him all over again.

He’s been gone over 5 years now, but at night, when I’m alone with my thoughts and that hole in my heart? It feels like it was only yesterday.

There are still so many things I long to tell him. From science news like the success of the first launch of Orion, to family news like Donnie’s new job. Man…I know he’d love to talk to Donnie about that…there are so many stories Donnie comes home with and I know my Dad would have loved to hear them. I think he would have been a software developer if he had been born in our generation, the logic of coding would have totally appealed to him.

I think the thing I wish he could see the most is E as an adult. He has turned out to be such an amazing man. Dad would have ADORED his since of humor. He would have laughed his ass off at this tweet:

He would have been fascinated by his college and the artsy-fartsy nature of the student body. Dad would have gone to the big competition of battling musicals in February and would have ADORED the battling cheers/chants/songs of the night. He would have been as intrigued by Greek Life as I have been and would have been amazed that E held down 3 jobs last semester and still ended up with good grades. Dad didn’t really know my other two kids, but he knew E and seeing the adult he turned out to be would have just blown his mind. He would be beyond proud and that’s probably the thing I regret the most that he can’t see.

Of course he would love our adventures in fitness and my trail running. Dad was an outdoorsman, hoped to hike the AT some day…but I don’t know if he ever knew about trail running. He was a 5K’er himself…ran that distance several times a week up until he got sick. He would have loved for me to show him some of my favorite trails. He also would have been at Donnie’s Ironman, covering the entire 16 miles on foot with me as we spectated the entire day.

I miss him terribly. I still cry regularly over the pain of missing him. Time does make things easier. I can think about him and not hurt every time. But, man, especially lately when I’ve just been so tired and stressed…I just miss him so much still. Some days I just need him to be here, to talk to me, to hug me, and I feel like if I cry hard enough…maybe he’ll come back? I guess the child in me is still banking on some sort of movie magic in my life that – if I need him enough – will give me just one more moment with him.

Alas, there’s no movie magic in my life. He’s gone. While he was alive, he and I took turns forgetting each other’s birthdays, but in the years since he’s been gone the birthday hits me like a ton of bricks every year. I wish I could forget it again, honestly. Especially weeks like this one where I’m stressed and tired and just an emotional basketcase to begin with…his birthday does not drift gently. It slaps me in the face with the painful reminder than the man who raised me is gone and my two younger children will never even know him.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Sometimes I’m really mad at you for leaving me so early.

Dad took selfies long before it was cool.
Dad took selfies long before it was cool.

7 thoughts on “Birthday”

  1. This is so hard, yeah?
    I’m sorry you are missing him so much right now, but grateful you had such a wonderful life with him while he was here.

    Be gentle with yourself, ok?

  2. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Dad. I understand about sometimes wishing you could believe in an afterlife. I feel that way for my kids. My mother in law died last year and for my kids it is still very fresh and painful. She and I weren’t close so I feel guilty about that. I wish I had great advice but I don’t. I’ll be thinking of you today! Our dad’s share a birthday. Although he had a close call last year, my Dad is still alive. I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when he is gone.

  3. It is hard when they anniversary/birthday’s come up. It hasa been 10 years this year since I lost my mom. I can admit I’m struggling. She would have loved my son and his accomplishment that he has had in the past 10 years.

    All I can say wrap yourself with the love of family. Do something small that your dad would have done when you are child with your kids. Explain why. Hugs for today and the rest of the month.

  4. Mom died March ’09 (10 wks before my son was born so I always know how long it’s been by how old he is.) February will be a year since Dad died. I do have faith but it is still hard. People always ask if it gets better and I just tell them it sucks, it never stops sucking but that the sucking becoms less overwhelming as time goes on.

    The hardest part (and what makes me cry every time) is that my son will barely remember my dad and never knew my mom. They were pretty awesome people (and parents.) They aren’t here to share in any of those major milestones with him.

    Just to say it sucks and you get some remote hugs.

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