January 29, 2008
losing it
I am starting to forget things and I’m none too pleased. In the whirlwind that has followed my dad’s death, I’m starting to lose the details of our everyday in my own. The last things we said to each other. Why for some reason I kissed him goodbye when that was usually forbidden because we feared we’d get him sick. How we laughed so much before I left for the airport that his hospice nurse giggled along with us.

Friends joke that I need to document everything, whether it be by photograph or blog entry. It’s because I don’t remember. If it isn’t on some form of paper it mostly ceases to exist, unless in generalities.

I never want to think of my father without all the beautiful, unique details. The way he laughed with his mouth closed. That he hated all of my psych talk, that he read each and every owner’s manual cover to cover, that he would sometimes talk to the chipmunks in our New Jersey backyard. How you could bribe him effortlessly with a Snickers bar. That when he’d run you would always hear the refrain of loose change and tic tacs in his pockets. I need to take a couple of days to write these things down, before they are gone for good. I want no regrets.


Blogger Kelly said...

There will always be memory triggers. You may come to think that something is totally forgotten, and then you'll walk through a wardware store and smell sawdust and remember that you used to watch your pa work with wood... Or the chime of a train in Germany will remind you of his keys jingling as he entered the house.

Writing everything down will be great, but you could never forget. You never will forget.

Blogger Washington Cube said...

Having been where you are at right now, I would also suggest you photograph rooms the way they look right now in time, and go back and study some major news issues going on at that time. I know it sounds odd, but you do forget, because Sweetie, you are in stress from hell right now. I remember making such a list, and there was something going on with O.J. Simpson then, and you'd better believe I wasn't asking the powers that be why that diseased piece of flesh was walking the planet, but my mother was gone.

Blogger gorillabuns said...

Daily, you will remember something that will trigger you to smile and capture the memory in your heart.

The stress right now is making you feel like you are forgetting but you aren't. Your love him will always help you remember all of the special and loving parts of your father.

Blogger Gwen said...

I agree that you probably won't forget to the degree you fear, but maybe writing it all down will be therapeutic in a way you need.

Blogger Mamma said...

I understand. To this day, I still get whiffs of my aunt's wonderful perfume. I would swear that she's standing behind me. Now it makes me smile. Maybe she is.

Writing all those lovely memories down is such a great way to honor him, and to help you remember. It might be hard now, but these lists will brings smiles to your family when the time is right.

Blogger *~*Cece*~* said...

I really enjoyed reading this post.

Blogger Prettylyf said...

A life well lived they say is worth recording. I hope you sit down and remember everything and write it down before it's gone and I hope what you write stays with you always.

Blogger The Hotfessional said...

Do it darlin. We'll wait for you.

Blogger Jessica said...

I never remember things either. After my mom died I had to write some things down. And yes, I do have some things that I don't remember. However, it is amazing how the powers of our minds can bring back the most vivid memories (the ones that we thought were long gone) after the most mysterious trigger. Wish I could make it easier for you hon, I truly do. *hug*

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

I never bothered to write those kinds of things down. Maybe it's a Personal fault or foible, but will you really forget your dad running? or any of the other things? I haven't forgotten how my dad smelled in the morning after coming out of the bathroom (Soap & Old Spice) or the way he always tapped 'shave & a haircut after stirring his coffee (I still do that)

My Dad wasn't perfect and I bet yours wasn't either but we are all repositories of memories (if we are Lucky) If it Grounds you or make you feel better- do it!

Blogger KB said...

Yes, please share that with us. I would love to read it.

Still thinking about you daily. :heart:

Blogger Jorge said...

Write write write!

I want to meet this man, if you'll let me.

Blogger Wanderlusting said...

As cheesey as it sounds, even if you forget the details, they will always be remembered unconciously, in your heart and being. You will just know this.

Of course, writing down all your memories, abstractly, might help too, as sort of a tribute. It's not the same at all, but my dog died a few weeks ago (in a most horrible way) and I'm hoping to make an album dedicated to her ...so at least my mother will get some comfort out of it.

Blogger Blue said...

Gorillabuns is right---the smell of sawdust or cigarettes always brings my dad back to me. And yes, sometimes I smell it at home, even though no one has ever smoked there (I"ve lived here for 14 years). Those are times I know Dad's visiting.

Blogger Zachary Knower said...

Hugs to you Kris.

I don't have a lot to add to what others have said.

My dad died nearly three years ago, and my wife's father passed away this past Thanksgiving after a long protracted illness. We are both still unsettled from the voids in our life.

Time will help. So will writing and photographs and other things people here have mentioned (I have a picture of my Dad's office as he left it which I treasure).

And I wanted to add one other thing: You'll see your dad again....in your dreams. And I mean that very literally.

I dream about my Dad from time to time, and it's amazing how much I remember afterwards. Sometimes I get two or three dreams in a week, sometimes none for a few months. Sometimes the dreams are sad or frustrating; other times, we're laughing or solving a problem together.

But one this is common to all of them: regardless of what happened in the dream, when I wake up afterwards, his presence envelops me powerfully. I truly have to remind myself that it was only a dream. And even if it was a sad dream, having had him there, so present, so real, is euphoria and fresh wounds all over again. And SO worth it. It's like having him back for a day.

Hang tough Kris. And know that you honor your dad every day by being who you are. You're a part of his legacy to the world, and all of us readers are grateful for that.

Blogger Grampa said...

Yes, write, write stories, write memories, write poems - my father says he's yet to read a poem worth a shit written by someone who was happy.

Just remember, dear, greiving is a process and, for some of us, it takes longer than others.

Blogger Ryane said...

Well, my comment is pretty much the same as everyone's....definitely write down as much as you can. I don't think your memories will ever really go away, but they do retreat into a quieter place and get harder to access, so written memories help. And I say just do it off the cuff...get a notebook and as the memories crowd in, jot them down...no grammar, no thought...just write down everything as it comes to you. I think you'll be surprised just how much you remember...

I also think you should keep your journal next to your bed, and when you wake up, if a dream is fresh, jot it down, as well...I have remembered some very interesting things that way. Be well, Kris... =-)

Blogger Laura said...

My Grandfather died of cancer. I thought for a long time that I'd never be able to have good memories of him again. But I do. It's much harder to remember him at the end now. All of my memories are full of how he was before he was sick.

My Dad died a few years ago too. It's funny how often some little thing my brother or one of my sisters will do or say and we just look at each other and laugh cause it's something Dad would have said or done.

I don't miss him but I haven't forgotten him.

Blogger Sizzle said...

thinking of you.

Blogger ChiaLynn said...

Nothing to say that hasn't been said, but that's no reason not to say anything.

I drop by here now and again. Usually, you make me smile. Today, you made me cry. I lost my best friend in November. I hadn't seen him in years, though we'd talk on the phone. For weeks, I felt his fingers touching my face - they were always so cold.

I want to tell you that you won't forget, that you'll feel him with you again when the grief isn't so raw, that if some memories lose their focus, it doesn't mean they're gone... But of course I can't know how you'll grieve, and I haven't yet faced the loss of a parent. So I'll just tell you I'll be thinking of you. And I will.

Blogger egan said...

Late to the game here, but so sorry to hear about your dad. It's very obvious how much of an impact he had on you by simply reading these past four posts.

Those memories are golden and will be with you forever. Best of luck sorting this out in the next few weeks/months.

Blogger just me... said...

Kris- I have read your blog faithfully for the past few months and am so sorry for your loss... I lost my Mom, my best friend, 5 years ago. She, like your Dad, endured pain and suffering that no one should, and did it with a smile on her face- we always said she should win an Academy Award for her 'acting' as if everything was fine.

Reading your posts since he's passed, I find that you are going through many of the same worries and feelings that I had. I,too, have tried consciously to make provisions for my own forgetfulness, not wanting to forget the important stuff, the little stuff, well... everything.

Here's what I've learned... right now what you are doing is helping you cope, so do it. Write, journal, hoard photos, his stuff, his cologne, whatever you need for comfort. However, trust yourself and trust your heart, that he is in there... he can't/won't be forgotten. Trust in that. Here's why... (and its eerily comforting)

Shortly after my Mom died, I was sitting alone, crying (I still do this frequently 5 years later) and I thought to myself, "I am going to forget... I was 29 when she died, I have a whole lifetime to live still and she won't be here... I'm going to forget her, she is going to fade away..." and I was so, so upset thinking this. Then, I heard something. I AM NOT KIDDING. Not clearly, and so I tried to stop crying and listen closer and at the same time, I got goosebumpg and felt like I was being covered in a blanket to take off the chill... it was really comforting, but then I heard 'it'; or 'her' or...somebody. SOME VOICE said, "you could never forget because I live in you. I made you, you are a part of me forever... you'll never forget"

Aside from being freaked out, I was greatly comforted. And its true. We are our parents. Its their legacy. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future you find yourself reading every owner's manual cover to cover, or talking to chipmunks too... and you will smile fondly, and realize that you could never forget. You are partly your father. His greatness lives in you, and believe it or not, he will never leave your side.

I recommend reading "One Last Time" by John Edward. And read, "The 5 People You Meet in Heaven" by Mitch Albom...

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