When my father died back in January, I was surprised at how well I took it. The tears were there of course, especially the morning he died and at his memorial. But otherwise I had all this grief stuff figured out, man, emotionally in-tune with myself and all that good stuff. I was a goddamn guru, I was thinking of starting up my own line of self-help books. But the reality is…
I miss my dad. A couple years ago I would have sworn I’d never say those words.
And then, two months ago, the dreams started. I rarely remember my dreams, at least usually, but these were so vivid. And they weren’t pleasant. I didn’t dream of my father resting happily in the afterlife, or even something so innocuous as simply seeing him in an unrelated stream of dream imagery. I was reliving my mistakes, my regrets.
I wasn’t a good son to my father. He was too depressed, too pessimistic, too stubborn. In short, he was everything I was, everything I hated about myself. So when a few years back he wanted to go on vacation with me, just him and me, I hedged. I made excuses, told my mom I didn’t want to be alone with him, until he finally gave up. I wish so much that I had gone, that I had made the effort to be with him when I had the chance.
I was so angry at him for so long, and now that he’s gone I don’t even remember why. All the anger and frustration, it died with him.
Death is the focus of so many of humanity’s religions, why people die and what happens to them afterward, but maybe that’s the wrong question. Maybe death is for the living, a way to remind us of what’s important. To wipe away everything that clouded our love for each other, all the petty frustrations of our daily lives. I only wish it didn’t take someone dying to remember the love.
Now that he’s gone, I realize how much he loved me and everything he did for me.
He was one of my biggest fans, right next to my mom, and he always wanted to read my stories. Even when I was twelve years old and writing terrible fantasy stories, just god awful stuff and he loved it. He praised my imagination and encouraged me to keep writing. In his final years he’d always ask what I was working on, and I told him about all the half-finished stories I was always saying I was working on. Even stories that were nothing more than an outline in my head, I’d tell him that I was working on it.
“I’d like to read it when you’re finished.” He’d say.
But I had plenty of time. There was no need to rush.
Now he’ll never read the stories I’ll write. Never see my name in print. He’ll never read my blog again.
I’ll never see him again.
I just lost my father three weeks ago. Although people often experience grief differently, I can relate to some degree with what you’ve written. I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I’m a Christian, but I also agree that the consequences of death are often for those left living. It can refocus and teach us, as you said. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my grief, but I’ll learn to live with it. It permanently changes us. May you find peace. Thank you for sharing.
I’m so sorry for your loss, I wish I’d responded to this earlier but this was such an emotional post I just put it on here and then just… didn’t come back to the blog for a while. Hope you’re doing okay!