I last posted a little over a year ago. The day after I posted was the we brought my daddy to the ER and were first told that the probability that he had lung cancer was very high.
Three weeks later he was gone. They didn't even get a chance to do the tests to confirm the cancer. We would never have imagined it would have happened that way.
In some ways the last time I posted was the day before everything changed.
I think before then I never truly thought my father (or my mother) could actually, really die. The night dad died we went up to be with mom who was already at the hospital and to "see dad" one last time. I'm not sure my mother had ever seemed so small as she did on that night.
The next few days were filled with plans that there was not anywhere near enough time for us to complete because all kinds of people wanted to come and see us and be with us. A lot of the things that we put together to say goodbye to dad seemed just wretched and slap-shod though I'm sure that the people at the visiting hours and funeral didn't realize or thought they were very nice. Sometimes the kindnesses of people were overwhelming... and sometimes what people thought were kindnesses really weren't.
The people who knew my dad from work but didn't necessarily know us were probably the least painful... they had great stories that we would never have heard otherwise and what they had to say to us wasn't trite crap. One of them told us how he'd miss hearing dad crunch is vegetables in his cube in the middle of the morning for example and so many of them commented on his expertise and his calm gentle demeanor when they would call in with technical problems. It was wonderful hearing how respected Dad was. Also, recently we heard that they named their annual horseshoe tourney after him because he used to kick everyone's butt there just like he did at our family cookouts.
When it came to condolences what was the most painful were the ones from people who wanted to relate... but really didn't have a relatable experience. i.e. losing your parent when you are in your late 40s is VERY different from losing your father when you are in your mid 20s. It is ALSO very different from losing your grandparent who was in their 80s.
I don't want to belittle anyone's pain but it's different. We were all cheated out of what should have been my dad's retirement and the last quarter of his life.
Now, when my grammy Claire and my uncle pete and aunt pat died it was incredibly painful, but they had all had nice retirements and got to see their their grandkids/nieces/nephews grow up and even know their great grands. It was NOT the same.
I didn't realize completely why what I knew were meant to be kind words soo pissed me off but one of my friends months later who had lost her dad around the same age hit the nail on the head saying that most people don't know how to relate to having lost a parent before the age of thirty unless it's happened to them. I definitely appreciated that people were trying to be comforting and understand and share with me but.. geez.
Negativity aside.. a lot of people were really kind to me, and succeeded in their efforts. I was lucky to have some very good friends who really supported me.
The past year has been really hard. The holidays blew. When summer came it brought a whole new depression because dad so enjoyed the summer and planting his garden and mowing the grass and grilling and eating outside each year. I became obsessed with genealogy after finding and going through my grandmothers/meme's/great great aunt marie and uncle jeff's photos in storage in the garage.. which brought it's own bittersweetness as I realized how few of dad's childhood stories I knew. Sometimes I like to think of my research on my meme and pepe's generation as learning about dad's first family. I like to think he is now with the people he loved before we were his family and so I want to know everything about them.
A year later and some days I miss my dad so much and some days it feels like I have just seen him or I forget that he's gone, because, really? how could my dad possibly be gone? He's not. At least I don't think so, not really.
To anyone who offered condolences.. I did appreciate them. I appreciated the extension of friendship and care, I appreciated them then, I appreciate them now, but appreciation and love I might have for the person offering the condolences aside .... most condolences are really fucking terrible.