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.
Oh, my friend, I’m sorry to be the one who brought your grief to the surface, but I’m honored that my piece connected with you. This is beautiful and powerful, too. I can imagine your loss is quite different than mine, but loss is loss and it’s painful and enraging and raw. I, too, have an estranged family member and I think these things all the time. My cousin lived down the street from me until recently apparently (I didn’t know until I saw her walking her baby…oh and I didn’t know she had a baby the same age as my daughter) and she made no effort to contact me. She didn’t come to her mom’s funeral or my dad’s…it’s crazy how the living can be dead to us too. Sending you love.
HUGS!! Please don’t be sorry. Your piece was beautiful and real and powerful. Your father was a good man and deserves all the honor and remembrance and grief. I’m so sorry about your cousin. It is indeed crazy and sad. Much love back to you.