Monday, February 10, 2014

Three years

Has it only been three years?

Has it already been three years?

So much has happened that it has to have been that long since the last time he was with us, since the morning we spent around his bed, holding his hand, waiting, watching. So much that it must have been that long or longer even.

In some ways it seems like decades have passed.

In others, it seems like he was just here.

This is the first time that this day has arrived when my mind hasn't been occupied somewhere else, worrying about her, my mother, nervously wondering how she would cope with it all this time around. The first time without the phone calls and messages left and awkward exchanges and wondering if she really was okay and her never being even a little bit concerned about me and her minimizing whatever I was feeling because she always felt more, hurt more, needed more.

This is the first time that I can grieve for me.

Without the distractions.

Without being worried about someone else.

Without being told that my grief wasn't big enough.

It's calming, actually, this place that I am in now.

It still hurts, but the edges of the pain are dulled a bit. The memories come now and they wash over me and leave me with a smile on my face rather than the heartache they used to leave behind.

I have learned a lot on this journey through life without him. He taught me so many lessons, some of which I did not even realize at the time. Some of them are still coming back to me now, all these years later, like the one about spilling the milk. 

He taught me to be strong, to be resilient. He taught me to speak my mind, to lay out my arguments so well that people couldn't find the holes in them. He taught me to love music, to love the time I spend behind the wheel in the car, to love with my whole heart. He was the first to call me a writer, and I know he'd be prouder of me right now than anyone else could ever be.

I miss him. I miss him every day.

As I begin a new journey in my life, a familiar one, but one that I'm embarking on this time without him, my heart aches.

It hurts for all the things he won't be here to see, for all the moments without him. It hurts for the times he won't share with us.

Then a part of me knows that he is still with us.

He lets me know from time to time.

I have a feeling I'll be seeing a lot of him in the coming years.

I will welcome those moments. I will drink them in when they come. I will let the memories in, I will learn the lessons, I will be grateful for the chance to have been his little girl.

I miss you, Dad.

I love you.


  1. I lost my Dad last month. I can't imagine ever not thinking about him every single day. Hugs to you.

  2. You had a wonderful Dad. Take time to grieve.

  3. Your last line. That's the one.
    And here's to gentle healing...when it happens.

  4. My mom died 3 years ago this September. I feel sad that you have not had a chance to grieve, that you have been told that your grief was not important.
    I work in palliative care and there is something that surprises a lot of people about grief. There are no '5 Stages of Grief". Though Kubler-Ross, the woman that got us talking about grief likely meant well she really did not do a lot of research about dying and death. She actually only ever 7 people and those people were dying. She never interviewed family of friends. Sadly, people caught on to her theory and she ran with it. Now we use these 5 stages to explain everything from loss of a child to loss of a pet to loss of a job. Yes, we feel the 5 feelings but there is so much more to it and it is much more complicated.
    Instead grief experts are now looking at grief as a continuum. Think of the infinity symbol, the "8" turned sideways. It goes on forever and ever. When we are really hurting we are in the epi-centre. As we go about life we continue to go around and around. Some days or moments even we will find ourselves right in the middle again, with the pain that hurts so much we don't think we can breath. But then it lightens and we find we can breathe again. And so it continues for the rest of our lives.
    As for the feelings? One feeling in particular that Kubler-Ross failed to mention was the word "relief". When my mom finally died it was welcome. She had suffered for so long and was in so much pain. It was excruciating to watch. Thankfully I knew that relief was a normal feeling or I would have felt tremendous guilt for 'wanting' her to die.
    Anyway, be gentle with yourself. Whatever you feel is what you are supposed to be feeling. Most definitely take the time to grieve or it will end up hitting you in the form of depression, anxiety or sickness. Your local Hospice offers counseling as well. (Most people think that they just help the dying, They help families as well) I do not know where I would be if it were not the love and support I received through Hospice.


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