Of which we do not speak...

A little over six months ago, I lost my father.

This is not going to be a post about that, because I am not there yet. In fact, I don't know where I am most of the time. My grief feels like something pretend, something that isn't real yet. 

From moment to moment, I catch myself feeling normal. I am in the middle of making PJ breakfast or fighting traffic to get to work and the world feels as it should, which means my father is in it. But then, triggered by nothing more than one breath to the next, I remember.

When that happens, my grief turns to cement, literally weighed down inside of me. I can talk about how much PJ reminds me of my dad when he's doing his math homework. I could talk about how much he would have loved the Eagles Super Bowl win. I can talk about how much he loved science, even though in the end, science is what took him from us sooner than his cancer may have. I can say these things with light in my voice, with love in my thoughts.

The kicker is that I know this is not healthy, that to keep all of this inside of me can equate to actual physical toll on my body (see the amazing TED Talk by Ash Beckham). I know that there are people who want to help. I know that shutting down when things get bad is stupid at best and insane at worst. I know. I know that is this not the thing to do to protect myself and yet this is what I do to protect myself. I can not talk about my grief. All those things, the math and the Eagles and the science are things I might have talked about when we still had him. My grief is that cement inside of me, a million pounds of it, and to start chipping at it feels dangerous, reckless. If I keep chipping at it, there really will be nothing left when it is gone. To hold it feels like holding on to my dad, a feeling that is stupid and sane at the same time.

The sane part knows that my Dad would not want me to go down with the ship. Even though my Dad was a man of science and math, there was also a bit of the poet in him, and I think it's that poet that connected him to his high-strung, sensitive daughter, even when the scientist wished I had majored in IT instead of social work. His duality in his existence allowed him to be proud of his do-good kid and still wish she had chosen an educational path that would not leave her on a steady diet of ramen. The problem solver in him would know that I need to face my grief. The insane part of me knows that to face my grief, to let it air out and then heal, means that I will have come to terms with losing my father. And that seems impossible, so I will continue on in this weird, self-imposed limbo.

“For now is my grief heavier than the sands of the seas, she thought. This world has emptied me of all but the oldest purpose: tomorrow's life.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune  


1 comment

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

No words to offer, just wanted you to know I see you.