Today is, well, quite frankly today is a day I’ve been dreading for a while. It’s the one year anniversary of the day my Dad passed away, and I’ve been dreading it because it feels like it should be the end of my grieving period.
When he passed away, so many people said and did such sweet things for me and my brother. Some sent flowers, some brought food, some sent cards. One of the cards someone sent me said something that’s stuck with me. It said, more or less:
“The first year is the worst, because it’s filled with all those firsts without that person. Gradually, though, you’ll feel the sadness subsumed by the happy memories you built together, and thinking of the person you lost starts making you smile rather than cry.”
This person, Wes’ uncle in fact, is more or less correct. The first year was hard, and there are very few days that go by where I don’t hold Aidan close and smell his little baby head and ache because my Dad won’t ever get to meet his grandson. But, I don’t spend nearly as much time crying as I used to, and in fact can now share stories and memories of my Dad without misting up.
For example, while on vacation it was massively windy and my nieces and I, together with their parents, dashed outside to fly kites. As those brightly colored kites took to the sky, it reminded me forcibly of how my Dad used to fly kites with me and my brother on the beach. I smiled at those memories while my kite took to the sky.
Still, as happy as I am to coexist peacefully with my memories once again, I’ve been dreading this day. While I know intellectually that I’m only one day farther away from the last time I saw him than I was yesterday, now that it’s officially been a year since the last time I saw him, that day feels a lot farther away. Does that make sense?
It’s just hard for me to get used to the idea that as time inexorably marches on I’m only going to get farther away from him. It’s just feels disloyal somehow, to be moving on. I know that’s silly, and that it would be unhealthy to hold onto my grief, but I’m loyal to a fault and have never been the kind of person who lets go gracefully.
My little brother, Nick, is on the left with our Dad in the middle and Wes on the right.
So that’s where I’m at. Wes has been forewarned that this was going to be a maudlin day, so he’s prepared to come home bearing pizza and cupcakes, and then to turn a blind eye while I eat my weight in said pizza and cupcakes. I called my brother a couple days ago, and we shared some memories and generally agreed that we wish he was still here but that we were glad he isn’t suffering any more.
My little brother is an awesome fellow, actually. You guys would like him. He’s getting married in October, so Wes and I will take Aidan on his first plane ride and watch my little brother tie the knot. Even though Dad won’t be there, I plan to say to my brother what our Dad said to me right before he walked me down the aisle.
And that’s how life will go on. My brother and I will be there for each other, our spouses and families will be there for us, and we’ll keep being a family. My Dad would be proud, I think.