My dad took his life, a year ago ,yesterday. I can tell you now ,that I was in complete shock for some time, to function after he died. As I mourned and remembered him yesterday, I experienced this dull pain all day and it felt when I awoke, that someone had sat on my chest.
I had decided to take the day off from work, because I didn’t know exactly how I would feel. I went through photo albums in the morning from my childhood and happier times for my father. Suicide is difficult to process because it happens immediately, there is no time to prepare for them leaving this earth and having rational thoughts about why and time to process that they will be moving on. It happens and you are left to put the pieces together. I feel as though I have lived on the grief ladder all year, climbing through shock, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. That is the big one, accepting the loss.
I definitely wanted the day to hold meaning, but this isn’t a birthday celebration, it’s a deathday and to my knowledge there is no form of celebration for that. I decided to drive to see my oldest daughter and granddaughter. There is something magical about babies, their smell, smile and innocence that envelopes them. Copeland let me hold her for hours, she just seemed to melt in my lap and let me absorb her love. I am so grateful for her! This past year when I have had to go through dark times, Copeland’s energy and love has seen me through, almost like a direct link to healing. While I held my granddaughter tight and wished my dad could have met her, my daughter and I reflected on the person my dad was, while listening to Abba. My dad was goofy and would dance around the living room, shaking his hips to the sounds of Abba growing up. My daughter glowed as she recounted my dad calling her,” Hotshot”. I was a single mom to my oldest daughter until she was five, and my father was very close to her. In a way she lost a lot more than her grandpa, she lost her daddy too, or the only one she felt that way about. It is so strange how when someone you love dies, it is really only the positive things, you really remember, at least in my experience.
I had made plans after school ,to go with my younger two children to visit the site, he was layed to rest. We stopped to get him a beer before we arrived. My dad loved to sit outside in the gazebo he built and have a beer. We arrived feeling pretty sad and the weather was a perfect gray with a few drops of rain to let us know we weren’t alone in our grief. We slowly walked back to the car, remembering his red, white and blue ballon release at his memorial the year before as we looked at the sky in longing.
We left the church that held my dad’s remains and at this point I had decided we are going to celebrate my dad. So we went to his favorite restaurant and ordered steaks and lobster tail. As I sat across from my kids we talked about memories of my dad, and all the time we got to spend with him. A older man approached our table and talked to my kids with the same silly ,demeanor my dad would have used. It really felt like my dad visited us in this man, he gave us a hug and returned to his table where his wife scolded him. He winked at us and said loudly ,”thanks for the conversation. ”
I am so happy I acknowledged this day. There was no better way to spend it, then remembering my dad for all the amazing qualities we have because of him. My children’s love for him is heart melting and I really wish he knew how much he meant to everyone. I decided I will celebrate his birthday and the day he left this earth every year. I miss him so much! I am grateful for all the lessons he taught me. Rest in peace pappa.