I have no idea what to write for this. Thursday my father passed away. It’s been a long time coming. I know i’m grieving, but it doesn’t ‘feel’ like grief. I don’t know if it hasn’t really sunk in yet – or I’m ok. I’m not as lost as I thought I would be. I don’t feel as much pain as I thought I would feel. I feel, empty and sad but for the most part I can function in my daily life. Woke up and was ok – I went to my son’s mother’s day thing at school Friday morning, then work. Saturday, I went to the Mothers day at Tae Kwon Do Sunday was Mother’s day with Hub’s family.
I can tell that I’m…. off. After spending time around people – I feel the need to withdraw into myself and find something to keep me busy that isn’t around people. I find that being around people is exhausting. Hiding and internalizing is how I handle most things and I just want to sit and work on whatever project I am doing be it at work or home. I don’t want to talk to people or make chit chat, I don’t want to hear one more I’m sorry for your loss. I feel I have no where to recharge .. or time to. There is always somewhere to be or something that I need to get done. I don’t have time to dwell, remember, or to grieve.
Years of grieving:
Shortly before I found out I was pregnant, I found out my father was given 6 months to live with stage 4 cancer. This was not his first go around with cancer.
This, wrecked me. My father and I have always been close.
Life with dad:
One of my favorite things to do was to make him uncomfortable with ‘girl talks’. I don’t know why I enjoyed watching my father – who was a guys guy squirm like that. My father never changed a diaper, did not lift a finger to clean the house, never did laundry, and wasn’t one to look after the kids or really interact with them till they were old enough to do chores around the farm. He never played with any of my siblings according to my mom. So, I don’t really understand what perverse joy I got from trying to push him into doing things he hadn’t done with the older kids, or have embarrassing talks with him.
I did get him to play a couple hands of gin, he taught me to play poker, helped me practice baseball, took me fishing. I made him help out around the house when my mom would go on trips with her various groups. Once I tried to get him to talk about boys and sex and periods once — that… was a riot and a flop.
One time mom had been gone about a week on one of her trips and while she was gone I got him to start putting his dinner plates in the sink after dinner instead of leaving them on the table for me to pick up. When she got home, she was floored her first night back to watch him pick up his plate and put it in the sink. She asked me how I got him in one week to do something she had been trying to get him to do for over 30 years. I told her, I asked him to put his plate in there as he passes it to leave the kitchen. When he didn’t, I let his dishes sit there and just kept piling them up until he did it on his own. Dad almost always picked up his plate after that.
I think because of this, we had a pretty close relationship growing up. My mother and I had a contentious one. The whole – people who are too similar butt heads thing… oh that was us. Dad however, would talk with me over an afternoon of stacking wood, pounding fence posts, or whatever other chores about getting along with her, and what he thought of it all.
Dad was a man of few words. Never emotional ones. No, ‘I’m proud of you’, no ‘good job’, no ‘keep up the good work’. Never I love you.
Subtle dad…. real subtle:
I have never heard my father tell my mother ‘I love you’. I never saw dad give mom a hug, or a kiss. He never showed ‘love’ in the traditional sense. He was always very subtle about it and you sometimes really had to look to see it.
We went camping every summer, and traveled quite a bit. By the time I was a senior in high school, I had been to 42 of the 50 states. Mom loved traveling and seeing new sights. Dad did not. Dad did spend hours driving the camper/rv/truck to various locations because mom wanted to go. He figured out driving all these different RV’s, how to take care of them, winterizing them, etc — because he loved mom.
We ended up getting six extra years out of dad. They weren’t his best years. The chemo took its toll on him. It advanced his Parkinson’s at a very fast rate. In the space of two years, his Parkinson’s advanced about 40 the dr. said. He went from showing no symptoms – to barely able to eat with silverware and walk. Eventually it became to much for mom. She isn’t a spring chicken. Her health is going down as she ages. She had emergency bypass – which saved her life as she had a widow-maker according to the dr.
Eventually mom had to put him in an assisted living facility – and things got kind of rough. Dad, never really adjusted to life there – he just wanted to be home. He couldn’t however, understand why mom couldn’t take care of him. His dialysis had problems. His glaucoma got worse. He was mostly deaf. His dementia started setting in. He started more intense dialysis — 3 times a week.
Eventually costs became a problem so mom was able to get him into a state program that helps pay for assisted living – and he got into a great facility that he liked.
He has been touch and go the last couple years really. He stops dialysis – but then usually after one or two missed visits – he would start going again.
I think, all this has helped the grieving process — maybe? Maybe I’m fooling myself and it just hasn’t sunk in yet. But if you know someone is on borrowed time you find ways to make your peace. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, just perhaps grieving over time, means not melting down.
My last gut punch and break down happened about a year ago, dad called to say goodbye. For the first time I heard my father tell me he loved me, and he was proud of me. And he loved hearing about my son, who carried his name. It was also the last time I heard his voice. This sent me into another tailspin for a few days and I was a bit of a mess. It made me realize I still had a lot of ability to grieve left.
The last time I saw my father, was shortly after Mr was born. As soon as we could fly him, we flew to visit them so that they could see their grandson. The last memory I have – is my father holding my son, as that was the picture I took right before we had to leave to catch our plane home.