On Anniversaries & Milestones

As I sat down to write this post, I just now realized that tomorrow will mark 10 months since the unexpected death of my father. Ten whole months. It’s simultaneously been an incredibly long and also painfully quick ten months, and it’s hard to believe it’s already November.

That being said, I’ve been trying to equip myself with plenty of self-care tools because I know the next two months will bring a lot of anniversaries. A lot important dates, milestones.

  • Later this month, I turn 28. It will be my first birthday, in my entire life, without my Dad.
  • Thanksgiving, while not a holiday I’d typically celebrate with him, will be my first without Dad.
  • Christmas Eve – which will mark one year since the last time I saw my Dad alive. We went to his apartment last Christmas Eve and I spent three and a half hours putting together a TV stand that my sister and I bought him. Little did I know that would be the last time I would see him alive. I wish I’d taken more photos of him, of us, together.
  • Then Christmas, the first Christmas without Dad.
  • Then December 31, which I believe will mark a year since the last time I spoke to my Dad. I think I called him; I remember hearing that he’d left work early a few days prior because he supposedly wasn’t feeling well — so I called him, while at the arena, waiting for a game, and said (half-jokingly) “Should I be worried about you?” I’ll never forget his nonchalant attitude, his affirmation – “No, no, it was a misunderstanding, I’m fine.” Just a few days after that conversation, he died.
  • January 1. A new year, 2019. A calendar year in which my Dad has never, and will never, be alive.
  • January 4, which will mark the one-year anniversary of his death.
  • January 12, his birthday. He would’ve been 61. Also, the one-year anniversary of his funeral.

Also – no specific date, but hopefully very soon we’ll be able to finally close my dad’s estate.

I’m trying to prepare myself, as I know these days will not be easy. Maybe they won’t be as tough as I’m thinking, but I can’t know until I’ve reached them. So I’m trying to take care of myself and do what I need to get through the next few months. I’m actually heading to a “Grief and the Holidays” meeting/workshop this coming week that I hope will give me some skills/tools to deal with everything.

I just have to take it one day at a time.

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Checking In…

Yesterday marked since months since we lost my dad. (There I go again, using that cliched language). It has been a tough six months, the longest and yet the shortest. The time has flown, in a way. I can’t believe it’s been half a year. At the same time, it feels like so much has happened since then.

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Two Months.

It’s been two months since my father passed away. The grief is still so fresh, in many ways, and stale in others. I keep finding new ways to miss him, new moments that come up in my day-to-day life that I wish I could share with him.

My father’s death pushed me to quickly consider things like the afterlife. It’s one thing to think about heaven in general; to think about what happens after someone dies. It’s another to lose a loved one suddenly, feel left behind, and wonder where they are now, where their spirit is. There have been moments where I say to myself “I wish Dad could see this.”

In my head, I know, or maybe hope, that he is seeing all of this. That he’s somewhere he isn’t feeling any more pain, that the hacking cough he had for years due to smoking is gone, that the aches in his varicose veins don’t trouble him anymore; that he’s watching us, and will see us as we grow over the years. That he’ll be proud of us, just as he was when he was still physically with us.

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What Grief Looks Like

We’re 17 days into the calendar year, and I’ll be the first to admit: it’s been an awful one so far. I’d give almost anything to go back to the late days of 2017 – even the first few days of 2018. The days when my father was still alive.

This has all been incredibly unexpected, heartbreaking and difficult. I didn’t expect to lose my father, just days before his 60th birthday.

Isn’t it funny how we say that? We say we “lost” someone when they pass away, as if they can be found. As if they just wandered off in the grocery store and they’re three aisles down, looking at the macaroni and cheese when you’re in the bread aisle. Maybe some people would say we use that terminology because these people never truly leave us, that they’re always just around the corner, watching. I don’t know.

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