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.

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10 Comments:

Blogger azsky13 said...

I gave up trying to sleep around 5:30 and got up and wrote this instead.

June 16, 2010 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger Madabip said...

Mary, I loved this piece so much. You have written so beautifully of the love relationship between you and your dad.

My dad's birthday was yesterday (6/15) and I didn't realize until late last night that was the reason I was down yesterday. He died six years ago next month. I used to call him when I was driving home from work. I miss doing that.

I'm sorry June is so tough for you, but I get why it is. Also: Happy birthday to you, my friend.

Karen

June 16, 2010 at 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Julie Mangano said...

Very poignant and terrifying at the same time, for I know I will be this way when I lose my parents. We almost lost my dad five years ago to a brain infection, and life during that time was nearly unbearable. My heart goes out to you at this difficult time of year.

June 16, 2010 at 10:25 PM  
Blogger azsky13 said...

Karen~ Thank you, maybe next year we can support each other through this. My Dad's birthday is July 8th. But this time before Father's Day is the hardest.

Julie~ When he died, it all happened so quickly. There was no time to prepare, but I don't think anyone can really prepare for it. But for now, just love your parents while you can and you will have no regrets.

Thank you both for your comments.

June 16, 2010 at 11:05 PM  
Anonymous BeckySain said...

Thinking of you Mary. You will get through it and you will be ok.

June 16, 2010 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger azsky13 said...

Thank you Becky. Yeah, I will. Was a little sad, but just before Midnight had a peaceful, warm feeling envelope me. He is in a better place and is no longer in pain.

Mary

June 17, 2010 at 12:05 AM  
Anonymous amy said...

Mary, opening up your heart and sharing this story about your connection is such a beautiful way to honor your father. Keeping you in my thoughts and heart.

June 17, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Nolan said...

Beautiful post.

June 17, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger azsky13 said...

Amy ~ I think the writing itself is therapy. Sometimes I just can't sleep until I do. In the past I would internalize and it played havoc with my health. Thank you.

Kathleen ~ Thank you for reading it and for your comment.

June 17, 2010 at 9:18 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

What a great piece Mary. You will get through this, as I know you know, but right now I'm sure it is just hard. I don't have a real relationship with my father, I envy your (and others) great stories, something I will never have. In some ways I think I mourn the loss of my father - we were very close when I was little. It has unfortunately been a very big hole in my life, as I think every girl needs their father. But anyway- that's not the point, the point is, I am glad that you have all of these wonderful memories of him, and that you sense him near you / with you at times. These in themselves are precious gifts that not everyone has, of course this too probably doesn't mean much right now, as sadness is stubborn. But I am glad and comforted in the knowledge that you have these gifts from your father. I will be thinking about you. xo

June 17, 2010 at 1:53 PM  

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