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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

I just realized that I haven’t posted anything in almost a month. I have some catching up to do! March can be a tough month for me, though. Bittersweet. The sweet part is my Middle Child’s birthday, smack dab in the middle of the month, balancing out the bitterness with joy. I’ve blogged about one of the bitter parts before (https://juliabbb.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/march-8/) so I won’t revisit that right now. Today I want to focus on the other part of March that I think about on a regular basis: My father and his death on March 22, many years ago.

He’s been on my mind a lot lately. I never knew him, at least in life. Those of you who know me personally already knew that. He tragically died in a car accident seven months before I was born, the night before he was going to apply for a factory job so that he and my mother could get married and give their family a good start. That never happened. The circumstances of that night aren’t especially clear to me, but the fact is that he died, leaving us behind.

Do I think he wanted to leave us? No, absolutely not. From what my family tells me and from a poem that one of my cousins wrote for his funeral, I know that he was excited about being a dad, that he was planning everything out. It took a bit for him to get used to the idea of being a father, though. When my mom told him about me, he went to his grandparents house for three days to process it all. When he came back, he was ready to go forward with a family. I hold that little scrap of information dear and tight.

I’m not writing about him to elicit sympathy or to rehash sad old feelings. I guess I just still want to know him better and this blog is a great place to express that. I want to know if he felt the way I do at times, what he would think of the world today, how our family dynamics would be different if he were still around. I want him to know his grandsons. I think he would have been a cool grandpa. My boys are lucky: they had another grandpa, Marty Man’s dad, for a few years. They have my uncle-dad, my brothers, and cousins who have all stepped up to give them extended family closeness. I don’t think they know what they’re missing, but I had two wonderful grandfathers until I was an adult. I wish they could have had the same experience as I did.

I used to be a hot mess about him. When my mother told me about my dad, I was around seven years old and at first I was elated. I already knew that the step-monster wasn’t my real dad and all of the other kids had dads, so I asked my mom about it. I had also just learned the facts of life, so I knew with all of my seven-year-old wisdom that there was a missing piece. When she explained that I indeed had a dad, the big question in the back of my head was finally resolved, but then the realization that he would never be there crushed me, especially as my life got worse. All through my very roughest years, I used to pray for God to say that his death was a mistake, that he wasn’t really dead, sobbing in my bed for him to come back, thinking he would rescue me. My grandma had given me a lens from his glasses and I took it everywhere I went, wanting a piece of him to be with me all the time.

I had a lot of anger toward him for a while, too. I was mad, so mad at him for dying and leaving me. After all, if he hadn’t died, my mother would never have married the step-monster. Of course, none of that was his fault, but as a very angry and confused teenager, it made sense to me to place the blame on him. I wondered about him all the time. Did he crash on purpose because he didn’t want me? Did he not try hard enough to survive? Had he been on drugs? Was he drinking? Like I said, even today, I don’t know all the details. I don’t know if anyone does, but that’s not important anymore. I’ve worked through the whys and made peace with that. I’ve made my peace with him.

I really truly think that he is still here, still around me. Things happen. I’ve had dreams where he’s there for very short periods of time and in them, he’s told me things about himself that I didn’t know, things that later checked out to be true, such as the fact that he played guitar. A song will come on the radio, that I’ve heard thousands of times, but for some reason, I’m overwhelmingly moved to tears for no reason at all. Later, I find out that it was one he liked. I feel him around me. He may be gone physically, but I believe that his spirit is here.

My anger is long gone. My pain is much fainter. Talking about him, learning more about the person he was from my family and his friends helps. I wish I could talk to him, to have one short hour with him. I still have that frustration sometimes that I can’t pick up my phone and call him to tell him what his grandsons did or to invite him to Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it did when I was younger. I am a part of him, I have his hair, his eyes. Half of my very DNA is his and that’s saying something. I have a father. I am his daughter.

I don’t have a rhyme or reason to this post. Again, my dad has been on my mind a lot lately and I just needed to write about him. If you have a dad, hug him tight. Hold him close, tell him you love him. If you are a dad, do the same for your kids. They need you more than you’ll ever know.

 

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I was ready to post about another topic today, something light, but my heart is too heavy for that. You see, a friend of Oldest and Middle Child died and I just don’t have it in me to be flippant right now.

I don’t know any of the circumstances, except for that he was riding a motorcycle at the time, but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that his family is hurting, our band kids are hurting, many of them dealing with real loss for the first time in their lives. I didn’t know this boy as well as I do some of their other friends, but I saw him at all of the events: band camp, concerts, Homecoming pictures, and more recently, prom and graduation. My kids hung out with him, went to his house, did all of the normal things that teenagers do, and now, he’s gone. Just, gone.

It’s unfathomable really, when this happens to someone so young and full of promise. Death is a part of life, it’s inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less sorrowful or tragic, especially when it claims someone who’s just beginning his life, someone who could have changed the world. My heart absolutely aches for his mother right now. The thought of losing any of my boys terrifies me, it always has. It’s made me the overprotective parent and has earned me the title of “second strictest mom” (according to them) out of their friends’ mothers. I can’t even imagine what she’s going through right now, knowing that she’ll never again be able to kiss that sweet face, never hear his voice again. Her worst nightmare has just happened.

Again, death is a reality and in many cases we sadly accept it, as in the cases of old age or a long illness. But to have someone taken so young, so violently, so quickly, shocks us to our very cores, leaving us stunned. It always seems to happen to someone else, a story that we read in the paper, a blurb on the news. We shake our heads, murmur how horrible it is, and go back to our lives. When it happens in our circle, our family, it’s a different experience. It becomes intensely personal and we wonder how the world will ever go back to normal. It will, eventually, return to normal, but it will be a new normal, one with new perceptions and the reality that we are not invincible. It’s a sobering lesson.

In your prayers today, please remember this boy’s parents, his family. Please remember all of these wonderful, amazing, kids, his friends, who are grieving right now. Above all else, hug your kids today. Tell them that you love them. Show them that you love them. Life is too uncertain and there are no guarantees of the future for any of us.

Peace and love.

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