Sunday, June 27, 2010

Community Garden at 22nd and Como in Minneapolis

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

5 years later… Fresh Grief… Father’s Day

Every year since my Dad died I think, it will be easier this time. It’s not. The day approaches, the anniversary of his death, and I find myself getting quieter. I go inside myself and I grieve like it happened yesterday. It has gotten so bad, that I would like to skip the entire month of June. Which is kind of tough as my birthday is also in June.

It starts really with Memorial Day when I remember his service to his country. Dad was a mechanic in WWII. He loved to tell us stories, mostly of the men he served with. I don’t think he saw any combat action. About 3 years ago I was in my home town on Memorial Day weekend. But that wasn’t what I was there for. I had gone down to see my Mom in the nursing home. It was about the time when she realized that she would not be going home again and was very depressed. I couldn’t talk to her as she was not accepting her new reality. We sat mostly in uncomfortable silence. When I left town I drove by the cemetery. On an impulse, I drove in intending to stop by my Dad’s grave, except, I couldn’t find it. I wandered around for about an hour, without success. I found out later that I was very close. But I think my grief was blinding me.

My birthday comes and goes. I no longer really feel like celebrating it. I used to celebrate it at the farm with my parents. Every year my Dad would tell me about the day that I was born. He was out working in the field, cultivating the corn. It was a field across the creek, with mile long rows. When he got to the end of the row, he had a good view of house. My Dad had told my Mom that if she needed to go to the hospital that she should park the car by the pasture fence and he would come home. The way he told it, when he saw the car he drove the tractor home “road high” and then drove my Mom to the hospital. I never tired of hearing that story. I miss it.

And then there is Father’ Day. I wrote his eulogy on that day 5 years ago. His funeral was the Monday after. It is hard to escape the constant commercials on TV of Father's Day sales. I am even getting emails. Last night I turned off the TV and instead turned to music. But, there was no escape there either. Without thinking, I played "Tears in Heaven" by Eric Clapton. Tears were shed.

The records show that my Dad died on June 17th, but in reality it was a couple minutes before midnight on the 16th. I was there. When I heard his final breath, I took his hand. I felt him leave.

I still feel his presence at times. I don’t recall exactly when it began, but I kept seeing the numbers 1:11 or 11:11 on the clock. I would be alone, but I would feel something nearby. I made the connection one day while watching Montel Williams. He had a psychic on who was talking about the spiritual power of the number 11. I knew at once it was my Dad. I took comfort in his occasional visits.

Grief is individual to everyone. When I am consoling friends who have lost a loved one, I tell them there is no right or wrong way to grieve. But, I never expected to feel it so fresh every year. I don’t know, maybe it is the close proximity to Memorial Day, my birthday and Father’s Day. But, every year it is like it happened yesterday.

Labels: , ,