I wasn’t going to write. Or blog. Or think. I wasn’t going to. It’s a fucking date on a calendar and giving it this much power is stupid and silly and getting very old. And in year 12 without Dad it is different than year 6, year 3 or year 1. People say time heals. I guess it depends on your definition of “heal”. The pain is less intense. Less stabbing. Less gut wrenching. But that’s it. That’s all that changes. The first few years are shocking and just trying to breathe. The next few years are trying to breath deeper and learning to live a “new normal”. And the long run is….well…I don’t really know what it is. Im in it. Im in the long run. Im over a decade past losing my Dad. Most of me thinks I should be over it by now. I don’t cry much about him. I don’t even think about him some days until well into the afternoon.
Its funny…when he died he was 53. I thought that was so far away for me. I was 33. The closer I get to 53, the more I realize how incredibly young it is. My Dude is 52. And it doesn’t escape me how weird that is. 53. I think of all of the ages I have been. And the fact that at any age, any day, anytime, I could have my last day. And so could you. We don’t get to know ahead of time what age that might be.
My dear friend lost her 25 year old sister last week in a tragic car accident. I cannot begin to imagine the pain her parents are in. My heart hurts so much for whats ahead of them. I don’t think the pain of loss differs depending on if your loved one suffered for quite awhile and you knew it was coming….or it came so suddenly you stopped breathing in an instant. I don’t know. I don’t think it matters.
So I keep telling myself every year that I will NOT allow August to be sad. That I have moved on and healed and I can be happy. And all of that is true. I have moved on. I have healed some. And I am very happy. Doesn’t matter. I realize at year 12….it doesn’t matter. I wrote a blog once about broken hearts. Its like a beautiful brand new vase. Your life. And as you grow in years and encounter love and people your heart will inevitably break. And not just once. It will break and heal and break and heal. And just like a broken vase…you can glue the pieces back together but you will always see the seam, the scar where it broke. What I know at 12 years out is…YOU CANNOT UNBREAK THE BROKEN. You can fix it, you can glue it, you can counsel it and pray for it and turn it so the back where its broken faces the wall…in hopes that no-one will see it. But its still broken. It will always always always be broken. You can never unbreak. Its true with arms, legs, hearts, vases & trust. You can wear a cast and mend the bone, date again and learn to love, glue the vase, and try to trust. But it doesn’t make the break go away. It happened. It happened. And it CANNOT unHAPPEN.
I suppose life after loss is about learning to live with the break instead of hiding it. My Mom moved a lot after my Dad died. She said she was looking for something that wasn’t there. That makes so much sense to me now. Grief is ugly and sad and messy and makes no sense and has no time limit. It affects every single solitary aspect of your life. Your marriage, your parenting, your decisions, your trust, your ability to love. And maybe I spent a bunch of years looking for something too. That wasn’t there. I could say those years were wasted and I regret them and could’ve met Dude sooner, been a better parent sooner, moved on sooner, maybe fixed my marriage. I maybe could’ve. But I didn’t. I wandered and flailed and veered and swerved and drifted. Lots and lots of people have lost their fathers. What the fuck is wrong with me that I let it affect every part of who I am? Hell…..I don’t know. I don’t know. I suppose even the smallest of events can change a person. And this was far from small.
12 years out I no longer analyze why. Or how. Or what if. Or maybe I should’ve. Or pretend to begin to think Im ever going to be the same. I tried for YEARS to get back to her. The HER before 2006. It took this long to realize she died that day too. There is a road I tried to travel that would have been the road I traveled had he lived. I tried to make it the same. I tried. But standing on the edge of a cliff trying to DEMAND that a road appears is slightly insane. And you can wish for it and hope for it and pray for it until you’re blue in the face. And then….in year 12…you stop staring off the cliff and begging for a road to appear where it just isn’t. And you turn your 45 year old ass around look at all of the other roads…..and pick one. And you quit trying to fix the broken vase. It broke. It was so very sad. So very unbelievably heart wrenching, gut punching, life changing sad. And there is absolutely NOTHING you can do about that. Except hold the broken vase, learn to love it broken, turn away from the cliff’s edge, and decide to move….in the DIRECTION that was meant for you to move.
I miss you, Dad.
Stood alone on a mountain top,
Starin’ out at the great divide
I could go east, I could go west,
It was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
And my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singing’
Bob Segar, ‘Roll Me Away’