Grieving The Living

The trouble with grief is that it sidelines you at the oddest moments. You think you’re having a normal Monday night decompressing after the children have gone to bed and you click on a friend’s latest blog post about mourning the third anniversary of her father’s passing. At most, you expect to tear up and be moved by a post of this nature. After all, you’re not a robot. You care about your friend and her words. You can understand a person’s grief at the loss of her father even if your own is still alive.

And yet, what ends up happening is you not being able to finish the article without sobbing your brains out for a few minutes, chest heaving, gut clenching, heart aching.

I was surprised.

Let me clarify. I am aware of how grief works. That when you lose someone, sorrow and pain and loss can creep up on a person and stab you in the sides, catching you unaware. A random song on the radio or joke or a smell triggering a memory. A situation with your children reminding you of your own childhood. So, in the sense that I expected heartache to strike during unexpected moments, I wasn’t surprised at all. However, theory and practice are altogether different animals.

As many of you know, my father and I are estranged. I have not spoken or contacted him in three years. He has never met Gamera or Glow Worm and as far as I can predict or control, he will never do so.

He will never know the singular joy of being a grandfather to my beloved babies. He will never play and laugh and joke with my beautiful, silly children. He will never cuddle and cozy and tell stories and pass on his life experiences. He will never know. And I don’t know what is sadder to me: that he will never know these things, or that he doesn’t even care that he’s missing them.

I am angry.

Angry that my children will never know the comfort and joy of having a grandfather. Angry that my kids are robbed of one more person who should be in their corner, one more support in a world that can all too easily tear down. Angry that my father has robbed not only himself, but me and my children as well.

I am angry that I am still so, so sad. That my grief, which is normally dormant, has come to the fore, all hot and wet and full of snot.

I am angry that even years later, I feel as if my heart has been ripped from my chest, luridly beating, pumping out my life’s blood.

I am angry for all that could be, all that will never, and all that was.

I am angry that my father’s abuse and actions reverberate from my history into my present and my children’s future.

I am angry that I miss my daddy and that I still love him and that he still has the power to make me weep.

I am angry that all my tears are wasted on a man who has thrown us all away, like a pair of old, broken shoes.

I am so angry. And so very sad. And I can’t seem to stop crying.

That is all for tonight. Thank you for reading.

Grief on the Side

An old co-worker and friend of mine died yesterday morning. He would’ve been 44 in less than a month and leaves behind a wife and two teenage children. Although I knew it was inevitable (he had been in a painful struggle with cancer for a long time), it is still a shock to my system. (Obviously, my grief is nothing compared to his family and closer friends.) 

It’s a mixed bag, right? When people we love and care about die after suffering so much physical pain. On the one hand, we do not want them to be gone – for death seems so final to me (although the thought of a Heaven and him being in it brings me comfort). On the other hand, we do not want to prolong their suffering and pain. So though I am sad he has left us, I am relieved there was an end to his pain.

I must admit though, part of my grief (despite losing a friend who was a person who drew others in with his fun and positive personality – geez, even my attempts to describe him fall so flat, as if reducing him to a caricature of himself) is the thought of this happening to ME. I am sad for his family who are left behind, and I cannot stop thinking about ME. How I am so grateful that this is NOT happening to ME.

I am a selfish ass.

When I consider the possibility of my babies in a life without Hapa Papa, I can’t breathe. Not to mention just the practicality of WHO WILL PROVIDE FOR US? and OMG IT WILL HAVE TO BE ME!

Of course, my mind veers to the practical, daily providence side of things. Because to think too hard or too long of an actual LIFE without Hapa Papa, I just can’t. I feel an ache in the back of my throat and eyes just thinking about all the things that my kids (and by extension, my friend’s kids) will miss and all I want to do is cry.

After I heard the news this afternoon, I just stumbled about, letting my kids zone out on the iPad. All I could think about was how grateful that we were all healthy and alive and that I loved my kids. Of course, fast forward to this evening right before bed when I reached new heights (in terms of volume) of screaming and yelling at Cookie Monster and Gamera (POOR Glow Worm!) and I feel even more like a giant piece of turd.

I don’t know why the juxtaposition of these two events sits so heavily on my heart. I suppose it’s some trite message about how we never know when we’re going to die so we need to cherish the moments we have with our children.

Mostly, I just feel guilt.

But since I already wrote a post on being a monster, we can skip that guilt-fest for now. I think I am just going to chock all that yelling to misplaced grief, stress, and the sad fact of life for the moment. I’ll make better choices tomorrow.

At any rate, I miss my friend. We had somewhat lost touch in the past few years, but that did not dampen my love for him.

Rest in Peace, Nellie. My heart breaks for your wife and two beautiful children. You are with Jesus now and we are without you. Seems a bit selfish of Jesus if you ask me, but that’s just me feeling sad. You were one fucking awesome guy and it sucks that you’re gone. You are loved.