Category Archives: Dad

Cheaper than therapy

It’s been almost a year since Dad died.

It is inconceivable to me that the planet has continued to rotate and has actually gone all the way around the sun since then. Time didn’t stop. The world just went on as before. But not really.

My dad is gone. I don’t know where he is really. He may be in heaven, whatever that is. Maybe a fishing hole in the north woods? On a little boat with good cigars? At the final clinching game of the Cubs World Series? In his big recliner with his many children and grandchildren running around him? At an all-you-can-eat buffet at a casino?

Or is he nowhere? Just gone. Or is he all around us? Or in us?

I don’t know. I wish I did. Then I could know that I’ll maybe see him again.

I take meds now. The original dose made me numb. I couldn’t cry even if I tried. I cut it in half and now, if I concentrate, or if I write, I can bring my feelings out for air. I am glad I finally found this outlet. Or re-found it, I guess. So I may be writing again.

I had a few dreams a week or so ago, and Dad was in them. He wasn’t a main character, and the dreams weren’t about him, but he was there. He was a benevolent presence, encouraging, comforting. I felt relaxed, calm, happy with him around. I felt like I knew where he was, and that he could find me if he wanted to. But I couldn’t find him at will, I could only hope for him to pop up from time to time to make himself known. I could live with that. Begrudgingly.

Times when it is very quiet and I’m alone are hard. I think too deeply and I cry. The relief is welcome, but I am left drained. I am doing the work. Still.

Dad did the work. He worked hard, and he did it for us. He wanted to be alive for us. I thanked him for his work, I praised his effort. I reassured him that it would be worth it, he would be better than ever by Thanksgiving. I wanted to believe it so badly. But each ‘episode’ killed another piece of his heart muscle. He was running on fumes and will at the end. Even Greg, the strongest man I know, who exerted every effort and devoted every waking minute to Dad’s loving care, couldn’t keep him alive.

It was beyond our control and our powers. Dad was taken in his sleep. I hope it was instantaneous and that he didn’t have to fight. I hope it was easy at the very end. I feel bad he was alone, but he was in his bed, in his home, with the people he loved.

I can only hope for such an exit.

I miss my dad. I love him and I miss him. And that is all.

Seventeen days

Is seventeen days a long time? Or the blink of an eye?

Should I be well on my way to getting back to normal or should I still be waist-deep in grief? Is there a middle road for mourning?

One thing I did find out: the grief process is not linear. It does not progress in an orderly, predictable fashion. It is messy and capricious and well, cruel. One day I get through only crying once upon awakening. The next day, it starts the same way, but the crying continues all day. Sometimes I don’t even know why I’m crying. Then I remember.

And sometimes when I have a series of consecutive hours during which I don’t think of Dad because I am so freaking busy at work, I feel ashamed and guilty. I don’t want to laugh, or smile, or feel happy. I know it’s not rational to think that if I hold on to the grief, I’ll hold on to Dad, but that seems to be what my subconscious wants to do.

There’s no book for this! No instructions! It’s not fair!

Little Susie wants her dad back. She wants to feel his hugs and hear his voice and smell his stinky cigar. She misses his love.

Susan the adult knows she has a daily life to resume and family needs to attend to. She knows she will always carry Dad in her heart wherever she goes, and she is filled with comfort and consoled by her wonderful memories of Dad.

I know millions of people go through this and come out okay. And I know I will someday too. I just want to have Dad back in my life. And to be happy again.
But I know I can’t have both.

I know I can’t rush this. And I can’t wallow in it. All I can really do is get through it. I keep a little bubble around me to protect my fragile body and soul. It’s getting a little bigger. It incorporates my home, my family, and now some of my work. I am thankful for comfort, but I warn people that I don’t want to talk about it or I will cry. They seem to understand.

I think of Dad when I see patients at work. How he used to get so angry when the nurse took out his IV, how grateful I am he didn’t have a lingering illness, how I don’t have to think about putting him in a nursing home, how he won’t have to suffer like many people I see at the hospital. I am so happy he had a peaceful death. At home, in his bed. Not in the hospital, violently.

I know I will see him again someday. I just wish he didn’t have to go.

Sorry about the venting. But it helps me. Thanks.