Yesterday morning was rough. The realization that I wouldn't speak to my dad hit me pretty hard. I remember being young and waking up with the full knowledge that, yes, today is my birthday! For the past decade or so though, it doesn't dawn on me until the first time someone says Happy Birthday. That was my fiancé yesterday morning, as soon as I woke up, with a hug and a kiss.
It didn't matter that I was prepared for the fact I knew he wouldn't be calling. I shouldn't say that, I don't know what it would have been like if I hadn't at least thought about it beforehand. Regardless though, I did the manly thing...Went in the shower where no one could hear and cried. The future Mrs. knew though, she always does, and it carried over to the bedroom, where I sat on the edge of the bed with a towel over my head.
I feel like the milestones and annual gatherings will be the worse this year, as each of those passing days will be the first without him. I am unsure though, that in time, I will be better able to deal with this.
A few years ago I was in the Long Branch area with my two children and decided to stop at my grandfather’s grave site. I was very close with my grandfather, he was the man that had nurtured my imagination, turned me on to science fiction and fantasy books, watched cartoons with me as a child. As I walked to the location I was telling my children stories about the man they never got to meet, but would have loved them very much. I can do that because I know this to be true. My grandfather would have adored my children, much the way he did me, when I was young.
As we wrapped up, I walked them back to the car and asked them to wait for a moment. I went back to the grave (it wasn’t that far from the car), and spoke softly to him, letting my sadness of the fact he could never hold them out. It was probably the first time my children saw me cry. My daughter was too young to remember that I reasoned, and my son had an understanding of what was going on.
When my father passed, I pulled my children from school to let them know. I did this for two reasons. First, they deserved to hear it from me, and no one else. Second, I had to leave for Atlanta and did not want them to worry about me while I was gone (my son does that…worries, something I would give my right arm for him not to do at such a young age). I told them that it was ok to be sad, that it was ok for them to cry or yell and scream or do whatever they needed to do to get the hurt out.
My son opened the window in his room and screamed. He was sad and frustrated and angry. My daughter stayed with me and asked me if it was “Ok to cry, like that one time, at the place with all the graves.” She had remembered that, it had stuck with her.
The saying is that “Time heals all wounds,” but I don’t know if this is the case. My daughter hit the nail on the head, I still deal with the emotions the death of my grandfather bring up in me, and that was 16 years ago. There is no telling how those emotions about my father will manifest for the rest of my life.
"Time hides those wounds," would probably be a better saying. Time and the mundane tasks we go about in our daily lives cover and hide and distract us from our emotions. But the mind never really lets those wounds heal. At least, not for some of us.