If you would have told me a week ago that I would lose my dad, I would have told you that you were full of shit. And I would have been wrong. Looking at the wrinkled prayer card from the funeral home, parts of me still can’t believe it. Or I just don’t want to. This week has been surreal, to say the least. Eye-opening. My dad wasn’t invincible, like I thought for all these years. I’m wrong left and right here. And, as it always has been with me, I hate being wrong. I want my dad back. Not just for me, but for Jonathan and Melissa as well. I want my mom, Judi, to have her husband back. Just for a little while longer. Maybe so he could go to the doctor. Maybe so he could tell us to “get the hell away from” him (those who knew him knew that he didn’t mean that). Maybe so he could spend more time with his grandchildren. Or maybe because I’m being selfish.
Everyone said to me that he didn’t suffer. While that may be true, I keep thinking about those final moments of his life that he did suffer. Suffer through the pain and the loneliness, not being able to say goodbye to his family. I’m fully aware that he didn’t suffer for a long period of time and I’m grateful for that. I really am. To me and to many, he just looked like he was asleep, not withered away to nothingness and unrecognizable because of some illness. I’m grateful for that too. I’m torn about having another “angel” watching over all of us – I’m getting tired of losing my loved ones. I know this may sound childish, but I’m going through a lot of emotions right now and I’m having some trouble sorting them out.
I want to thank everyone for coming to the visitations and the funeral, for their kind words and prayers and just being there for my family. My dad’s passing may have even opened up some doors that were closed or slightly ajar. I appreciate all of you for taking some time to reach out. And I’m sorry if I’m rambling – I just have a lot of thoughts going around in my head right now. I know this isn’t “bloody Shakespeare” (a wink to those who know where that is from), but I just needed to get it out.
I don’t want to tell anyone how to live their life, but if I could ask for a favor, it would be this. Hug your parents. Hug your brothers and sisters. Hug your children. Hug all of your loved ones. Hold on to that hug just a little longer than normal. Tell them that you love them. You really have no idea how long these people will be with you physically.
I was talking to my forever friend, Rachael Ane earlier. I told her I had an appointment to go to that I just didn’t want to get ready for. But then I realized that I still have to live my life; people are depending on me. I can’t just be on pause forever (and this applies to those times in my bipolar cycle too.) I will still mourn – and knock back a few Jacks – from time to time. I might be happy and in 2 seconds flat, my eyes will be welling up with tears.
But my dad – he would be mad as hell at me if I didn’t push through and keep going and do what I need to do. He’s still in my mind and I can hear him pushing me to snap out of it. Just like I heard him on the day of my Aunt Cynthia’s funeral, where I was a pall bearer. I was crying my eyes out and he came up to me and said “Can you handle this?” I nodded quietly as tears streamed down my face. He asked me again, almost barking it out. “CAN YOU HANDLE THIS?” I wiped my tears away, looked him in the eye and said “Yes”.
That has stuck with me for over 12 years now. I will never forget his stern guidance to do what needed to be done.
Yes, dad, I can handle this.