January 25, 2008
running the gamut
My emotions are scattered right now. Maybe not scattered, but not clear and distinct, and there’s definitely a lot of pulp. I’m in a constant state of irritability, the kind I feel when I’m trying to sleep and all I can do is toss and turn. It’s unpleasant to say the least.

Much of what I feel is anger. I’m angry that he is gone, and that now my mother must refer to us as three rather than four musketeers. I’m angry that these fools on Jerry Springer gripe and bitch about their lives while the beautiful, dignified gentleman that was my father never voiced a complaint. I’m angry that the aftermath has been nothing but forms and calls to newspapers and digging through files when all I want to do is curl up in a ball and try to remember as much of him as I can. I’m angry that his retirement was only six years long, and that for much of it he was hooked up to machines. That he never got back to Italy. That he had to drink his liquids through a goddamn straw and spend his last few days on this earth in bed. Much of it is selfish. I’m angry that my father will never see the joy of me falling in love again and the someday of me having a wedding. I’m angry that his presence at events will be replaced by discussions of fond memories and his favorite song. And I’m angry about the damn Super Bowl. That both of my father’s favored teams will be playing one another and he won’t be able to watch the splendor on the big screen television he only had for three weeks. I’m angry that I’m 34 years old and that my father is dead. And I’m furious that a life so consequential could be reduced to a legacy of left behind items in an instant.

I ache. I ache that the odd calm I see in my mother could only bless her after my father’s death, the only time in years when she hasn’t been worried about his oxygen being taped to his face during sleep and whether or not she should wake him from a nap to give him his nighttime meds. I ache that he spent the last years of his life sicker than anyone should be, and that he never griped about his situation, when I’m sure there were days he wanted to rage against us and the universe. I ache that he lies alone someplace in Virginia and won’t be cremated for several more days. And that I’m going on with life as best I can, finding laughter in half-hour shows and joy in exquisite flowers sent to the house. And I ache that I don’t feel him here, and that it makes me feel like a failure. People keep telling me that he’ll always be with me, but it doesn’t even remotely feel that way. It feels like he’s gone and that there’s a hole in our family. There is a sense of permanence to this that I didn’t think I’d feel. I don’t hear his voice, I can’t find his smell. I don’t see him unless I close my eyes, don’t sense him when reading his handwriting or cuddling under the quilt I last saw covering him. I don’t feel him here anymore. I wish so much that I could.


37 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

(((HUGS))) I wish I had more.

Blogger BethanyWD said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My written words may do nothing to ease the immense loss that you are feeling, I hope that somehow by sharing these experiences you will know that your readers are honoring your loss and, by doing so, provide you with some peace.

Blogger Reid said...

I'm only full of cliches now, but I wanted to leave a hug in the form of a comment. Thinking of you.

Blogger HKW said...

Anger is good after all your family has been through. There's no time table for grieving, no date you need to be ready to go back to work or laugh or feel better about anything. Just rest and take care of yourself.

Blogger Gwen said...

It all seems so fucking unfair. It's hard to work out the point of pain and loss in the big picture. Or the answers, at least, aren't much help in the moment. I'm so sorry, Kris, and am thinking of you all the time.

Blogger Alison said...

That hole? It won't always feel so big, but it will always be there.

Keep writing it out, whether you post it here or not.

Blogger Mia said...

Gone too soon - but much loved while he was here. Maybe that's why he didn't complain because he had a very loving family like you taking care of him.

::hug::

Blogger JsTzznU said...

I can feel your pain Kris!! I found out that my Father passed away.. Two years AFTER he died!

{{{HUGS}}}

Blogger Sizzle said...

most of us have no idea what to say when someone we care about is experiencing this kind of loss, even when we've survived it ourselves.

me included.

it's been many years since my dad passed and he is still with me in pieces but it's not the same. you're right. and it really fucking sucks.

xo
sizz

Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

Virtual hug, kris. It will get easier with time. I'm praying for you.

Awww Kris, I wish I had some words of comfort for you. I can feel your pain in your words. Virtual hugs to you.

Blogger Rosie said...

I am so, so sorry to hear about your dad. I know how hard it is. Hang in there, it will get easier. Time heals all.

Blogger Nic said...

You have every reason to be angry. (((hugs)))

Blogger Blue said...

(((((hugs)))) like the others, Kris, I have cliches too. I'm grateful for shock though, it protects you when you're most vulnerable. Alison's right, write away.

If you can get any of Avery Moody's books on life after life, I'd strongly recommend reading them. They were the only thing that kept me sane when my Dad and bf died (same year).

Blogger gorillabuns said...

i hate it that you are hurting. i wish there was something i could do for you!

Blogger hotdrwife said...

... it doesn't feel like it now, but again, you will hear his voice, you will remember his smell. You will see him in places you least expected to.

My dad died (just about) 13 years ago. I was wondering through my old house and opened up, of all places, our furnace room. And I found a note taped to the wall with his handwriting on it - something about the last time this or that was changed. And I sat down and had a moment. It was so nice to find some tangible part of him again.

I, too, had to do all the formality stuff with lawyers and such. It's an awful process, and I'm sorry for ALL the pain and hurt you feel.

Blogger Jorge said...

Hey there Lake Ontario,

What I will say may sound cliched, but it's what I believe in. It's just my way of reaching out, but you already know that.

So here goes.

He will always be with you in the obvious way. You mentioned it already. The memory. Memories can be hollow, empty things. But only if you let them. Memories feel much fuller when you put more of you into them. I know if your dad was alive, knowing what you know now, you would probably give him the most "you" you could. But really, nothing is stopping you from doing that now.

Of course everything feels empty right now. Such is the way of everything. Everything always feels more of the opposite of whatever is not there. People always talk about the calm before the storm, but the calm after is more powerful, in my opinion. There is always bewilderment when something ends, or passes us by. It might last a moment, or it might be longer. In any case, it's there, and it feels like a wall. But it eventually crumbles.

Maybe you can look at it as him collecting his thoughts. Trying to figure things out. He's in a new state of being. Being in any new state takes time because you need to find the information booth and get a map so you know how to get around.

Or maybe you can look at it as him checking in to a better place. A place with people that don't start wars for no reason. A place where people need no sleep if they don't want it and last call never comes, and Diet Coke fountains line the paths.

No matter what you believe, you will find a way to cope. You're not alone. You're blessed with more than a family that loves you. You're blessed with being more than "the Three Musketeers".

I mean, really, you are probably the leader of "the Thousand Musketeers" for all of the love and support that i know people are giving you with all of their hearts.

No matter what you believe, I believe that your dad has two big screen televisions (one for each team), and he'll be watching that game. And that he's smiling at the fact that you miss him, and that you're angry on your and his behalf. And that no matter what he's done in your eyes, one of his greatest gifts to all of us posts semi-regularly in this here space.

Love,
The Canadians

Blogger Della said...

There was a Christmas that I didn't feel the presence of my Daddy around, I later came to find out that the part of my family that I do not speak to anymore (looooooong story) was in the midst of some major shit hitting the fan...I laughed because he probably needed to be watching over them instead of me then! Call me crazy, but I do feel times when he is around! Maybe he is looking over someone who needs him just a little bit more right now. He'll come around and you will feel it. Have you ever seen the movie What Dreams May Come ? For some reason, despite some pretty dark themes within the film, I found comfort in watching that movie...I know it just a movie...it helped me. I was only 33 when he died suddenly. My Daddy wasn't perfect, but he had a heart of gold...and I married a man who is very much like he was.

Now the wound is fresh, and you're rightfully hurt, angry and left feeling bereft. But hopefully soon you'll realize that you had 34 wonderful years with your father.

My father died when I was two. I held onto that anger and frustration for too many years. I took it out on others and was angry that they didn't appreciate their dad or that their home life seemed so happy. Finally, I was able to let go of it when I began to read his letters to me telling me how much he loved me. It helped knowing that I wasn't alone, and that once I had been truly loved.

So cry now. Grieve. Get mad. Punch your pillow and scream as loud as you want. But know that eventually it will get better. No one will ever be able to take away those 34 years of memories.

*Big Hugs*

Blogger KB said...

That made me cry. For you. For your family. But, most of all, for your dad and what he didn't get to experience. If nothing else, it just reminds me to live life now the best that I can.

Love you, lady.

Blogger Tracy Lynn said...

I know. I feel the same. And the hard part for me is...well, everything, really.

Love you.

Blogger Paige Jennifer said...

From one kid with a sick parent to another - ditto.

Blogger shannon said...

man. I just read this. So sorry to hear it.

Blogger Lola Goetz said...

aw honey. so, so sorry. you're in my toughts constantly. sending hugs your way. love ya.

becky

Blogger Blue said...

Jorge's right, and I'd like to add that as long as YOU live and breathe, Kris, he's alive.

Blogger Maiden said...

i'm truly sorry to hear of your loss. things really will get better with time, you'll see.

you are *so* fortunate for having been blessed with such a wonderful father for 34 years- and him with you as a daughter.

Blogger Randy said...

One of the things that makes dealing with grief so difficult is that it asks of us two conflicting responses...memories make us ache with longing, yet we're terrified of forgetting. Eventually, you'll reconcile the two, turn a corner and start moving on. For now, go ahead and cling to the memories that cause you bittersweet pain. In time, they'll be sources of gentle peace.

Blogger Kelly said...

Oh Kris.

You will feel him. You will. But when you really need him, though. Right now you have your family right beside you, and oodles of support trickling (or flowing) in from across the country and continent. When you need him most (maybe it'll be next week, maybe it will be in three years), he'll be there. And you'll know.

We love you, dear friend.

Blogger Kindra said...

I am normally a lurker but I couldn't help but to tell you I am soooo sorry for your loss. There is no rules on how one should feel during a time like this.

It's been 6 years and I still don't know if I have finished grieving. Hang in there!!

Blogger t2ed said...

The only thing you can do is make sure you tell the rest of your family that you love them as often as you can.

Blogger Canaan said...

You write about this so honestly, I wish I could have been that brave. Instead, I didn't blog for over a month, not wanting to try and put in words how I felt.

I felt the same way - no matter what you believe happens in an afterlife, 'he is always with you' just doesn't comfort at all. Because they aren't, they aren't here to hug, kiss, smell, smile at, laugh with and call just because. And, it sucks. It's not fair.

Often, I felt like I wished I was a little kid and could just fall down and throw a hissy fit and cry out how unfair it is. We're too young to loose a parent, a good parent, and they were too young to loose their battle with illness.

Blogger Ripe for Reading said...

You may not feel it, but he is with you.

May your heart grow lighter and your smile return soon.

Blogger Dawn said...

I, too, am so very sorry for your loss. I went through this same gamut 7 years ago when I lost my nana, the pain - the ANGER - still lingers sometimes, at all the lost opportunities. I wish I could help you. Truly, I do.

Blogger DirkStar said...

Nice blog and beautifully written...

Blogger Grampa said...

You must take this loss into your self transform the loss into words, for then, he will no longer be lost, but a part of your creation and with you forever,

Blogger hilary said...

Kris, I'm so sorry for your loss. Everything you wrote, so eloquently, mirrors what I've gone through the past year after my grandmother (who raised me)passed away. I still feel it every day.

I'm not going to tell you that things will get better, or that the pain will fade, because that would just be condescending.

The only advice I can give you is to take care of yourself. And don't forget to eat something every day.

"We get through life scathed and unscathed in our own ways."

Blogger The Secular Friend said...

Reading those words made my bitter, cold heart grow three times it's size. I kinda cried, too.

I wish there was something I could do or say. Know that all of us are thinking of you and wishing you the best. Hope you're feeling just a little better.

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