I’m not going full-on dark, but I realized this morning that it was the day my Dad died. And because I like to make up my own language, Deathiversary is what I call it. The thing that sucks about getting older is there become more deathiversaries than birthdays and anniversaries. I know, cycle of life, blah blah blah. Anyway, I want to talk about my Dad.
My Dad was a big guy. Not just tall, but a big voice, a big smile. Hell, he practically had big hair the way it was a shock of silver with a big wave in front. He used to tell me constantly that we only have 1440 minutes in each day. Of course he also used to tell me that I really needed to master the art of timing….something which I still struggle with. It’s been 16yrs and I can still hear him in my head. I know he watches me—oftentimes shaking his head and muttering “You know better, young lady”.
I wrote that last year. In this past year I have learned a lot about my father in every way possible. My mom now has no problem trotting out tidbits of marital shit she and Dad went thru, and some of his less flattering personality flaws. I’ve also spent some time in therapy talking about my father, my upbringing, and how it all factors into the anxiety ridden goddess I am today.
It’s not that I’m not still sad my father is gone. I am. I always will be. And I will always be angry that he didn’t take care of himself to be around to meet my children and help me navigate adulthood. What I find now, is that I need to find the place where all that meets up with the new knowledge I have about the kind of person my father was and how that factors into the kind of person I want to be.
I found a quote last week that really hit me in the gut:
The person you were at 22 does not get to decide who you have to be for the rest of your life.
Read it again. Just one more time and really think about what that could mean in your life. I moved to Atlanta when I was 22, I started my corporate job at 23. Should that version of me still be the one running the show? I sure as fuck hope not.
Read that one more time, just for good measure.
The day of my father’s death is a reflective day for me now—time to take inventory of what I am doing, if he would be proud(if his pride would matter to me), and to just generally think about things. All the things–the kind of parent he was, as well as Mom, and how I stack up.
I lost so much the day my father died. I lost a sounding board, a shoulder to cry on, someone to lean on, and someone who always called me on my bullshit. It’s important to me to clarify who my father was TO ME. Learning that he was abusive with his other children and stepchildren was tough, because I thought it changed my relationship posthumously. Obviously this is crazy: How could it when I was never afraid of my father? He was tough, but I was his redemption, a late in life child. Unfortunately he was big on secrets. There are so many secrets in my family that sometimes the secrets do have secrets of their own. I was raised without being told I had two other sisters, without being told my gramps wasn’t my biological relative, without being told which family members are gay, without being told a LOT of pretty important things. And you know what? I figured out all that shit on my own.
The day my father died I really had to grow up. Yes, I was a “grownup”, living with my boyfriend(now hubs) in Atlanta at my corporate job, but losing my dad rocked me hard. Then I learned to bounce–to keep my chin up and remember that it’s just a bad day, not a bad life. I’ve been bouncing every since, and I suspect I have my father to thank for that.