A Grief Rut

I really enjoy going through my Facebook memories every day. Sometimes I get a giggle from baby photos of my kids, sometimes I remember the chaotic times of E’s high school theatre life, sometimes I notice patterns that need breaking (jokes about being “lazy” need to go the way of comments about being “fat”), other times I see how different our lives are from yesteryear, but most of the time it’s just a nice reminder of the ebbs and flows of life. Something much needed during this time when I feel like we are in a “low” and the “high” seems out of reach.

From February through March, however, there’s always periodic messages from 2009 that remind me about Dad’s final months. He was hospitalized with kidney failure on February 10th and then died in hospice March 31st. I didn’t post a lot back then on Facebook, but every few days there’s a small note from that time…often just about traveling or asking for prayers…and it puts me right back there quicker than I can say, “Miss you, Dad.”

It tends to keep me in this weird place this time of year. And I know it does this, and yet I still do it every morning. Still scroll to see if there’s any message from 2009 to spark up that grief again. It’s like I want that feeling of loss fresh in my heart.

Or something.

I don’t think I do this every year, honestly. I think this year I’m missing him more (I have a funny feeling I say that every year) because there is so much going on right now that I’d kill for his counsel about. Or more, I’d kill for his comfort about. He always had a way of making me feel like everything would be okay…no matter what. And maybe I’m missing that terribly right now as I navigate the mine field of my life where there is potential catastrophe with every step. There are the days where the steps have triggered explosions I don’t know how to clean up and there are days where the anxiety of the potential has me frozen in my spot. And in both situations? I long to be able to call him. I’ve cried more over the last few weeks, just begging the universe to give him back to me, than I have in the last 11 years since he died.

So maybe that’s why I make sure to check my memories every day. To connect with the Kim of 2009 who still had him to talk to. I wish she had taken advantage of that more. Maybe thought to ask him more parenting questions. And more relationship advice. I wish she’d stocked up on comforting words from him so I could use them now, after he’s gone.

Who am I kidding? Dad’s final weeks were spent frustrated he wasn’t dying faster. He was in no mood to be giving me a future of platitudes to hold onto. Seriously. He was a perpetual grump once he made the decision to die, THAT IT WAS NOT HAPPENING ALREADY.

It’s a tough place to be with a loved one, in case you’re wondering. Trying to figure out how to spend your final days with a person you love who is just constantly irritated they haven’t died yet.

ANYWAY…

I look at those damn Facebook memories every day to keep him fresh in my mind and I don’t think it’s doing me or anyone else any damn good. He’s not coming back to counsel me, his memories are not even helping give me comfort from the past, it’s just this thing I do every morning…like picking at a scab just to watch it bleed.

And because he’s fresh in my mind every morning when I scroll through memories, I think about him all day and do things like search my inbox for past emails from him, or search is name/face tag on my Google photos. I’ve basically been immersing myself in reminders of him every chance I get for the last three weeks and I guess I’ll just keep doing it until the anniversary of his death passes at the end of March? I mean, is this cycle/resurgence of grief sustainable for that long?

I don’t know. It’s just where I’m at right now. Stuck in a grief rut. One I’m not sure I even want to get out of.