The call came May 19th. I knew when the phone rang that something bad had happened. One second in time my world changed forever. My dad, the first guy I ever loved was gone. What do I do, where do I go, and how do I go on, these were questions swirled through my head, and I just couldn't process them. All I knew was that I had to get to my mom, I had to take care of her. I would learn later that mom was feeling the same thing. She had to get to her children so she could take care of them.
I was 37 when my dad passed away and yet I felt like I was a 4 year old little girl that just wanted her daddy back. My dad passed away suddenly, so there was no warning that my life was going to change forever. My normal life was gone and it was replaced by what would become my new normal life. One without the man who had defined my life for so many years. I didn't want it, I didn't have a bad life, why did I have to go through the rest of my life without my him? More questions without answers.
We left the hospital and all I wanted to do was hide from the rest of the world, but that could not happen becaue we had to call the rest of the family, we had arrangements that had to be made, and we had to do what I call "entertain our guests". People came pouring in, with their condolences, with food, and with advice that was definately not wanted at that point and time. You have to eat, you have to get some rest, or my personal favorite, you have to stop grieving and take care of your mom. To this day I struggle with my feelings for person who had the gall to say that to me.
It was five days before we would have the funeral, and people were everywhere. I wanted so bad just to scream at them go home and leave us alone. Of course I didn't mean it, but it was just how I felt at the time. As more people arrived, what came with them were the many stories that they felt they need to tell us. What they thought would comfort us was in fact making me angry. They were talking about my dad as if he were dead. How could they be so cruel? I was not able to deal with the reality of him being gone forever and I just wanted to tell them to just shut up. Again I didn't really mean it, but it was still in my head. Sadly, I had the same feeling about my husband, I just wanted him to shut up and away too. He would try to comfort me, by saying things like I know how you feel, I lost him too. He had never lost a parent, and had no clue how I felt. I found myself taking long hot showers just so I could get away from him to cry. It kept him from trying to comfort me and saying something stupid. That was jusrt another one of those I didn't mean it things.
I remember the day that I heard the first rumor of what had happened to my dad. I was sitting in a salon getting my hair cut before the funeral, and across the room was a woman telling her stylist that my dad had been sick for a long time and that he hadn't looked good when she had seen him a couple of days earlier. As I turned to see who she was, I was shocked to find out that she was a family member. Of course I felt the need to set her straight and informed her that my dad had had a complete checkup three weeks earlier and was give a clean bill of health.
It turns out that the funeral would be the easiest part of my dad dying. My biggest life lesson came when I realized living really is the hardest part of dying, and living was not something I cared to do at that time. I just wanted the pain to go away and it wouldn't. In an effort to comfort us people would ask the stupidest questions, like how are you doing and make the dumbest comments like that time will heal the wound. The question just made me want say, how do you think I'm doing idiot, and the statement that time would heal the wound was just another stupid thing to say, It is my opinion that time is like a bandage that covers the wound as it heals, but you are left with scars that will last forever.
After the funeral and all the people had gone, I would see people going on with their lives and I just couldn't understand how they could go on with their lives when I am dying inside. This was what I call the leper stage. The people that knew you and had been to the funeral were now going on with their lives and if you saw them in a store, they would avoid talking to you because they didn't want to hurt you. What they didn't know was that I needed to talk about my dad, I needed to keep him alive and make sure he was never forgotten. It took six months for someone to ask me how we were doing.
The year of firsts hit hard and fast. The first holiday was Father's Day and it brought with it an emotion I never would have dreamed I would have. I was jealous of the people who had their fathers. Why did they still have a dad and I didn't? It was not fair because my dad was a great person, and great people shouldn't die. From that holiday on that first year we made a point to spend the first 30 minutes or so to talking about my dad and grieving together before the holiday celebrations began.
The first year also came with a new time schedule. No longer had we gone somewhere or done something on a specific day Everything was either before dad died or after dad died. I even dreaded the day when I would have to say my dad had been gone a year. For some reason that really bothered me.
Lastly let me say I know everyone grieves differntly, but that does not mean you are wrong, it is just our way of dealing with the death of our loved one.