Technically, he passed away on a Wednesday - but when I think of when he passed away, I'll never forget it being a Tuesday morning getting the phone call from my brother & sitting in the hospital all day Tuesday... & it just happened that the day had moved on from one day to the next without us even being aware of it & then dad waiting until nearly sunrise before making that final leap into his eternal homecoming. So when someone asks me when he passed away, I have said over & over the 15th & 16th... it makes sense to me.
Anyways, it still feels both like yesterday & forever ago ....
Every day is delivering a punch to the gut on reality though that dad really isn't coming back.
Funny how you can live through seeing someone take their last breath & go through a whole funeral process & STILL feel like they are going to call you on the phone, or you still wait for an email or text & always wait to hear the voice or the laugh again.... it really does feel like a punch to the gut. No other way to describe it. Because every day, multiple times during the day, almost hourly, it takes the breath out of me & feels like an overwhelming weight on my body.
Or how I reference it, A.D. - After Dad.
Which I see the irony here.
A.D. in Christian belief is the time after Christ rose from the dead....
I could probably write a whole blog post just on that irony & the emotions behind that.
I have seen so many of my friends have fathers pass away & my response has always been, "I'm so sorry - I can't even imagine"... & its so unbelievable true. I could never have imagined how this feels. How this changes everything in your world. How empty a space can be.... I just never wanted to imagine it.
I always hear people say, its after everything slows down that is rough & I can attest to that. When death happens, so many people surround to comfort. So thankful for each person who did just that - however it looked. Reaching out with cards, messages, texts... & the people that came over & hugged & prayed with us, brought food, sat with us or even cleaned decks & houses & did laundry. Every little thing mattered & every presence was felt.
& then people slowly get back to routine & their own life, as they should & as things just keep moving forward & we're left behind trying to figure out what our real life looks like. How our forward seems so different than it did before May 15th.
People are asking me, How are you? How is your brother? How are the twins? & the one I hear at least a few times a day, How is your mom?
I can say we're all making it through.
My mom is obviously struggling. She's the one who, as we try to go on with our new lives & settle into new routines, her world is totally turned upside down. She's feeling the empty space of my dad being next to her beyond what any one else could feel. & that's what happens with over 55 years of being together looks like.
Tony & Juli, the twins & Ricky & I are doing what we can to try & fill spaces for her. We are trying to bring smiles to her face. Trying to make sure she's OK & making sure she's comfortable & has all she needs... but there's just some things we can't do for her like dad could. Even if she slept through a day & dad spent the day in the barn & they probably saw each other a few hours the entire day - they knew they were there for one another... & that's the hardest part for mom right now.
I can't speak for how my brother is doing. My brother is just a person who doesn't express a lot of his emotions anyways & I wouldnt want to attempt to put words in his mouth. I know he's still feeling the loss of dad though in so many ways. But men are just different how they handle grief & that's OK. He's taken on so much responsibility & I worry for him. He has such a supportive wife & his girls love him so much, but he still has that family & a home to take care of, & a hard job of his own & he's taken on doing so much with the horses & mom & dad's home... but he's not complained one time. Not once. He's figuring it all out & making it happen & getting things done. He is definitely stepped up to fill dad's shoes. I know my dad would just be so beyond proud of him, more than he ever had been, to see Tony in this role.
The twins? They have their moments. They are young & get to play their sports & keep busy with their friends & live the life of a 13 year old. But I see it on their faces when they come to dad's house & feel so deeply the loss. When I say that their Papaw was a part of their world, I cant even begin to explain how much that is true. Dad, in his worst pain days with knees or hips, would find a way to get to whatever his girls were doing. Nothing was better medicine in this world for him than those two..... They are just the sweetest souls - worrying so much about their Yaya & wanting to help her however they can.
Me? Like I said - everything just still feels unreal. I have watched videos over & over again just to hear dad's voice & looked back at pictures & can remember the memories in every one of them. It's EXACTLY why I take pictures... why I get on everyone's nerves about always wanting to capture a moment. It's times like this that they are PRICELESS. I wish I took MORE video. MORE pictures. There's just not enough.
|Dad's birthday last July|
In all this, I feel like I'm doing good at keeping a smile on my face - not being the person who you want to avoid because they're just going to depress you (even if my blog seems like that right now - but its my outlet, so bear with me) ... & then I feel guilty some times because I feel like everyone sees me with a smile on my face & then think, "Is she even upset about her dad passing away"... & then if someone sees me with a thoughtful or distant look in my face, I worry that they think, "oh, she's struggling" & then that just makes people feel uncomfortable & not know how to react around you....
that's the thing - there doesn't feel like a right/wrong way to do this. It just all feels messed up.
I guess it almost feels like everyone is judging how you grieve, if that makes sense. Like everyone is watching to see if we're OK or not... & I know that's a good thing - but I guess it's just try & live up to a 'standard' of grieving? Is that such a thing? I think there may be....
& the ironic twist on that is I'm sort of judging everyone else for their happiness. How messed up is that? I told Ricky one day while I was scrolling through Instagram after seeing family get togethers & graduation parties & birthday parties & just smile after smile after smile.... I nearly threw my phone & I told Ricky, "HOW IS EVERYONE ENJOYING LIFE RIGHT NOW?"... its like I want everyone to feel my ache. I dont see how everyone is out celebrating fun things in the world right now. Doesnt everyone know how empty the world is now?..... yeah - like I said - MESSED UP.
I keep thinking, I'll get back to things. Try to get back in my routine at home & exercise after work (Forget that I'm still not healed up from my surgery) & just trying to settle back in all things usual. & even here on my blog, I think, I'll just do a some of my regular blogging - like doing a 1-second video of my month or documenting my life in One Sentences at a time, or do a post on what I'm "Currently" doing ... & then I think, "none of it matters".... at least right now, it doesn't. My view is just so different right now. My one sentence a day would be "Missing my dad" every day - my Currently would be "Thinking about my dad"... my 1-second videos would be of my dad's barn without my dad in it every day.
... I know life will settle back in, but for now... I just can't. Simply, just can't.
It's crazy to look around & see so much of my dad in my life. & not just the idea of life - but my literal life. The things I see on a daily basis. My surroundings. - The book shelves he made me in my library - the shelves he made for my Beauty & the Beast collection - the pictures of him on my walls - the little gadgets he'd buy me "just because " (why did you buy me a hand held can opener dad?) & of course, all the cards dad gave me. I have a HUGE stack of cards that have come in the mail the past 2 weeks (THANK YOU TO ALL WHO SENT ME LOVE!!!!) & on top of them is the card my daddy brought me just one week before he left us, when he brought me my Hershey pie to make me feel better after my surgery. It's the last card he brought me... & it was a funny one. He was so proud of it because it had a dog in a cone of shame trying to get through a doggie door & it said, "You'll make it through this" .... that's my dad.
I see him & still feel him everywhere....
I hope that never goes away...
but for now, it still just hurts & feels unreal.
& we're trying to get through each day.
One at a time.
Welcome to A.D.