It’s been a year since my dad died. 365 days.
One year ago, on the night he died, I wrote down what I was feeling. I’ve been reluctant to publish these thoughts, but it seems right, it seems fitting to share them now, 365 days later. I hope you’ll indulge me.
I’m publishing this as written. I’ve made no edits, so please forgive any awkward syntax or repetition.
My dad died today. More accurately, it’s 3:30 in the morning and my dad died yesterday, but I’m hoping you’ll forgive me the semantics.
My dad died. Even now as the words flow from my fingertips they don’t seem real. This is the kind of thing that happens to other people, not to me. If you know anything about me, you know that my dad and I had a tumultuous relationship; too much pride and stubbornness and not enough grace. There is lots of blame to be doled out for the way that our relationship ended up, something I’m sure I’ll be working through in my mind for weeks and months and years to come. I loved my dad, though. I’ll never have those “daddy’s little girl” stories that some girls do, but I loved my dad. In all that has happened in the last few hours, that fact has never been closer to my heart. I loved him. I loved him. I loved him. I loved a man that was broken and damaged and hurting and suffering and fighting a battle he would eventually lose. I loved him despite his weakness and his selfishness and despite his sometimes inability to express his feelings in a positive way. I loved him for the man I knew he was, the man I knew he could be. I loved him.
I know that in days and weeks to come, I am going to absolutely drown in pity. I’m going to be inundated with well-meaning friends who bring love and help and food and the eternal question – how are you doing?
I’m not sure what I’m going to feel when the sun rises, or once I get some sleep. But I can’t help but think that what I feel right now, this moment, is really, really important. I don’t know why. Maybe it isn’t. But this is what I’m feeling.
I’m feeling numb.
I’m feeling angry.
I’m feeling incredulous.
I’m scared to go to sleep, worried that I’ll wake up tomorrow and this won’t be a dream.
I feel guilty, like I should have noticed something was wrong, done something different.
I feel the pain of loss.
I feel worried about the future.
I feel grateful that I’m not going through this on my own.
I feel for my mom, who never expected or deserved to be a widow at the age of 59.
I feel like I’m falling.
I feel overwhelmed.
I feel blessed to have the two most amazing neighbors in the world: one to take care of things, and one to take care of me.
I feel nervous about the calls I have to make tomorrow.
I feel tired, oh so tired.
I feel ashamed.