This time of year, for the last 5 years, I live in a headspace that is raw, with my feelings too close to the surface. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because I love cooking, entertaining, and spending time with those that I love. 5 years ago though a meeting with an oncologist tainted this time of year for me. She ended all hope for things to be different, all hope for time to change, all hope that there was hope. She was kind and I will never forget that. She was honest and too the point, and I will always appreciate that, even with what it started.
November 25th, 2015 I started grieving my father, not his life that had weeks left, but all of what would never be. We had an interesting, sometimes non-existent, sometimes very close relationship. I loved him, I hated parts of him, I yearned for a relationship that he could never fulfill. He was a good human being with a genuinely good heart, but he was broken, an alcoholic, a lost soul. He never knew how to be a dad, a friend sure, an enabler definitely. He was funny, immature, sometimes sullen, unmotivated but creative, caring but selfish, smart and yet dumb. Was he the best, no, but he wasn’t the worst. I know he loved me and my kids, the best that he could. There should have been more, there should have been time to change things, to give us time, to give him time. To give me time to change enough that I wouldn’t have to choke on the guilt that welled inside of me for our distant relationship the months before said oncologist meeting. I live with that guilt still, and I am sure in some capacity, I will carry it with me until the end.
So this time of year, that guilt and sadness becomes too heavy and clouds my days. His death date is different because although I hated to let him go, I knew HE was free. Free from a lifetime of feeling inadequate, free from feeling like the outsider, free from carrying childhood abuse on his own, free from the ravages of cancer. I am thankful he is my dad, I am grateful for the things that he taught me, I am sad that there wasn’t more time and I regret that things couldn’t have been different. I will carry the weight though, the guilt, what if’s, should haves, they are my scars and reminders.
November 25th, 2015 I will never forget you.