Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Pain and Remembering Sneak Up On You...

It was over three and a half years ago when we lost my dad.

I can't believe it. How can that much time have passed? Some days, his presence still feels so immediate. Like I could pick up the phone and hear his voice. Ask him a question about that funny noise my car is making or see if his allergies are flaring up as bad as mine. 

Other days, he seems so far away, like it's been decades since I felt his hugs. 

Both kinds of days provide pangs of sorrow.  

It's hard to admit, but the majority of days, 3+ years later, are less dramatic. Not that I forget him, but just... go on living I guess. Days full of the day-to-day survival. Yesterday was one of those days.  

Until late last night. It was something stupid really. Watched an old episode of the X-Files on Netflix. I used to watch that show with Dad actually, but that wasn't the trigger. The show particularly weirded me out for some reason and included one of the characters losing her dad unexpectedly. Maybe that's all it took. 

After the show was over, I just felt kind of sad.  And my mind wandered. Wandered to all these people that I know who have recently lost a family member or close friend.  Wandered to my dad and how much I miss him. And the tears just started to fall, quietly (as they are now, while I try to write this). 

And my mind continued to wander, unbidden, into more worrisome places. The parts of your brain and heart where fear and sorrow dwell. Where you start to worry about those scary things you can't control. And my mind worried about not being there to see my children grow up. Not there for graduation or weddings or grandbabies. And then, perhaps even scarier, the thought of losing Mark, and facing all of those events without him.

[All of this happened in a manner of minutes]

It is irrational. It is unreasonable. It is certainly not productive.

But we all have these fears don't we? For most of us, they are buried deep down, arising only when reading a particularly tragic news story or when we lose someone we know.  For others, typically others who have lost someone very close to us, these issues may lie a bit closer to the surface. Yet, after a time, we bury them again.  And rightly so. 

The truth is, I might die tomorrow. Probably not, but I might. That's just the long and short of it. And worrying about it is not going to make one damn bit of difference. Odds are, Mark and I will both live long lives and be able to watch our children (and perhaps grandchildren) grow up.  Although we lost my dad at 54, his father to 92! We could have decades and decades together.

Or not. Other than generally taking care of ourselves, we can't control the "or not." That's life.

All I can do is live. Find that balance where I live like I'm going to make it to 92 (and plan appropriately), while still living like I might not - and not waste the time I'm given.  Isn't that our challenge? Everyone's challenge? Just another reminder to me to focus less on day-to-day survival (school-to-work-to-sports-to-activities-to-homework-to-bed...) and more on living and loving and appreciating this time.

It's a tall order.


  1. Very poignant. I have thought of you often, wondering how you've been since losing your dad. It's such a beautiful yet hard life.

  2. Wasn't sure what the right words are to put in the comment box for this post, but i didn't want to let it go by unacknowledged...so i'm just going to send you a virtual hug.