09 June 2009

Do you remember when we used to sing ...

You know how sometimes you’re reminded of something & then next thing you know it’s everywhere? Well, that’s been happening with me a lot lately. First it was with, well, one person from my past. I had a dream about him & then there were nearly constant reminders of him.

Now it’s someone else from my past. To be more specific, it’s my dad. I wasn’t intending to blog about my dad until Father’s Day, but then the reminders started. Granted, with Father’s Day just around the corner it’s easy enough. Every year around this time I think about my dad, along with the beginning of May which marks the anniversary of his death & his birthday, just a day later. Then there’s Christmas & various other occasions where he’s noticeably absent.

Maybe it’s because this year is particularly hard. I graduated from college, the second time I’ve graduated since he passed away. And then one of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family got married. My dad’s side of the family is huge, so we’ve had a lot of weddings. This is the first one since he passed away.

There were comments about how my brother looks exactly like my dad, something I had only discovered that week when I found an old picture of my dad growing up. The table of all my aunts & uncles was missing someone. But the hardest part had to be when they played Brown Eyed Girl. It’s a standard song played at wedding receptions, at least for my family, & it’s the song that my dad & I always danced to. It stung a little more when one of my aunts came over to tell one of my cousins, “this is our song for you” & she replied, “you don’t want me to dance with you, do you??”

It’s been four years & one month since my dad passed away. We had just seen him the day before to celebrate his birthday. I knew he wasn’t feeling great, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The next night when there was a knock on the door I knew something wasn’t right. My mom & brother had already gone to bed, so I went & answered the door. One of my aunts, one of my mom’s sisters, was at the door & it was clear that she had been crying. I let her in & woke my mom up.

I milled around in my room for a few minutes, waiting to let my aunt talk to my mom. I knew someone had died, that was the only explanation for her to come so late. I figured it was my grandpa. When I went downstairs my other aunt was there. As I came into the kitchen my mom turned & told me that it was my dad. I started crying immediately, but still couldn’t process it. I remember asking “what?” before stumbling into my mom’s arms to sob. One of my aunts asked if we should wake my brother up & the other said no, but I said we should because if I were asleep I would want to be woken up instead of waiting until the morning.

But I don’t really want this to be about how hard I took things. My point is, this is normally the time when I’m reminded of my dad, but it’s been amplified this time around. I said that I had found a picture of my dad when he was growing up. I had been going through everything in the eves to make room for all my dorm stuff. I found my photo album from the first five years of my life, which included some pictures of both of my parents when they were kids. I also found a journal that my mom kept while she was pregnant with me, plus some letters written by family members when I was born.

I can’t explain what it’s like to find something you had never seen from someone who’s passed away. Soon after it happened, I was given my dad’s Bible. Stuck in between the pages was a note to call me on my 13th birthday. I don’t remember how much I cried after finding that, so you can imagine finding an actual letter from him was even more. However, in the past few years I’ve made some progress & have learned to take joy in hearing stories about my dad, seeing pictures, & that sort of thing. I still get emotional (because let’s face it, I’m an extremely emotional person), but now I can do more than just cry sad tears.

It’s hard to say how I’ll react to the increase in ads for Father’s Day. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between markers & when they actually hit me. All I can hope is that I manage to dwell more on the positive memories than just the loss. Four years later, I’m dealing with things better, but sometimes there are moments when the wounds seem fresh again.

My dad battled with kidney failure for eleven years, one year longer than his doctor gave him. In case you’re looking for a new charity to take on, maybe you know a dad who prefers donations made in his name, consider the National Kidney Foundation. You can also follow NKF on Twitter @nkf.

1 comment:

  1. i'm sorry K. i think we all have those times of the year where nostalgia just seems to swallow us whole when we think of someone we've lost that we just miss so much. for me, it's november. it's just such a sad time of year-- i miss my papa dearly around that time. my grandfather, my papa, he was my rock. not the same, i know, but still, it hurts. big hugs to you. i'll be thinking of you.