7 years ago today I was sitting at my desk at work when I got the call I had been expecting for weeks. Weirdly, though, it was unexpected. My brother had visited my Dad the night before and Dad had been weirdly lucid and healthy and he even considered that maybe he wasn’t actually dying, that maybe they had gotten the diagnosis wrong. And while we both new that one of the common stages of dying is a weird final rally, sometimes hours before death, we both found ourselves considering the possibility, “Wait. What if he’s not really dying?”
So, in some strange way, some part of me was surprised by the call.
“What? My Dad who is in hospice while his failed kidneys cause his ultimate death…actually died? Huh?”
I’m certain the nurse was perplexed by my shock.
The stress of trying to sell our house last year, and now again, has been some sort of weird grief trigger the last 12 months. I remember feeling like I was really missing him on the anniversary of his death last year, more so than usual, and basically that feeling never left. I think it was the combination of turning 40 and the stress of trying to sell our house on top of a job change last year but the last 12 months have truly felt like the first 12 months all over again.
Actually, more accurately, this last 12 months have felt like the first WEEK all over again. I’ve been crying spontaneously a lot more, I’ve been talking to him out loud in my car like he just died yesterday. I’ve been pulling out things that remind me of Dad and holding them tight, letting the waves of memories wash over me like a depressing cleansing shower.
Oh! And I’ve been looking for a therapist! Although, it may be hard to understand why I would need one.
AHHHH…sarcasm…an instinct stronger than grief.
Let me just say that Flash didn’t help this week (no spoilers!) because Barry time-traveled and got to see people who had died AND DUDE, THAT IS NOT FAIR. I WANT TO SEE MY DAD AGAIN. WHERE IS MY SPEEDSTER?
(Don’t worry…Irrational anger and jealousy towards fictional superheroes is going on my “List of things I should tell my therapist.”)
When I quick smoking back in 2003 I remember reading a pamphlet (remember those?) that said to do ANYTHING you had to do for the first three days. Eat, sleep, cry…whatever you needed to get through those first three days. Don’t worry about being healthy or active or productive, just get the toughest part of the physical heroin addiction beat and THEN get back to trying to live. This time around was almost as bad as last time when we dealt with the cocaine addiction, but thankfully we kicked stimulants aside.
That’s what I feel like March has been this year. I’ve just been struggling the whole month to keep my head above water. March is always terrible but this year it was incredibly hard and I just have to get through today and then maybe tomorrow I’ll finally feel better. Today, the anniversary of his death, is the last bad day and then I really need to try to clean myself off and rejoin the living again.
I just have to get through one more day. Then I can wash March and the terrible memories that always come with it, away. At least for the next 11 months.
5 thoughts on “Fresh Grief, All Over Again.”
I’m so sorry, Kim. March is almost over. I hope next month is better for you.
I’m sorry too. Hold on and hopefully you will start to feel better soon!
I don’t remember how I came across this poem last week. It was probably linked in a weekly round up, but it is beautiful. It describes grief perfectly. I am so sorry for the loss of your dad. I hope the fog you are fighting through lifts in April.
The Thing Is by Ellen Bass
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
Thinking of you. Here’s to April 1.
Kim,I lost my Dad almost 19 years ago when I was 34. He died in his sleep at the age of 54. The shock took months to get past, but it was my next birthday about 4 months later that I truly relived the grief all over again and it was such a heavy, heavy day. Something about not having my Dad on my birthday just took me down. Some things still trigger those moments, but time does help and I find that I think more about good and special times more than I did the first few years after I lost him. But oh what I would give to have a chance to talk to him. You are in my thoughts and I understand.