There comes a point in grief when you know that if you don’t move forward and get back to ‘normal'( which by the way has changed forever), You will stay in mourning and essentially carry a corpse who never asked to be carried. And maybe that’s harsh or too raw but it is the only way I can put it. My dad is dead, something I am still not used to. He would be in pain to see any of us so desperate in our movements due to his absence, he would say to us to throw down his corpse and celebrate his spirit and move forward.
But how do we move on?
There are days, as I have discussed with my mom, days where I feel like I have a handle on all of this. I’m doing the ‘normal’ things. My house gets cleaned, my kids get fed and all the day is done with no effort and I smile and laugh. Then there are days like yesterday, where everything feels like extra effort.
Yesterday I spent the day out with my husband, kid free, with friends at a record store. It was a lot of fun and much needed. Even though I was having a good time, I could not get Dad out of my head, it wasn’t his death that bothered me, it was his absence. I have accepted his death but I realize I have yet to accept his absence.
Being around people and music brought Dad to mind. He loved people and he loved music. I came across a reel to reel of Credence Clearwater Revival at the Record store. Immediately I thought of him and I almost bought it , like it was a piece of him I could purchase. I smartly did not purchase it. Later, out behind the store, a friend of mine started talking about an old friend of theirs who was a Vietnam Vet. His nickname was ‘Handsome Jack’. My dad, a Vietnam Vet, created an ‘alternate personality’ he called Jack. ‘Jack’ made the bed, did the dishes and posted little funny quotes on his facebook profile. It sounds nutty and perhaps my dad was a little off the curb from mainstream society, but ‘Jack’ was something we all loved, and Dad got a kick out of using the name for the hell of it.
So where am I going with this?
I guess my point is this, just when you think you have a handle on something, you realize you were only holding on to the skirt-tail. How quickly it rips from the weight of that which you had no idea you were carrying. Dad is everywhere.
But, we move forward. At some point we decide to either live in mourning the rest of our life, or we somehow move forward until the pain becomes a little less and the little reminders of Dad, instead of bringing us to tears, will bring us to laughter and smiles. I see it happening now, it’s just a little slow coming.
One thing I have learned through this is that there is no right ‘way’ to mourn. There is no instruction manual for the appropriate response or guide on how long we should wear our sackcloth of ashes. There is also no instruction manual for moving forward. We don’t know how we do it, we just do.
My good friend Terri Rousey gave my husband and I a card when we had our daughter Hattie, inside the card was advice that I have cherished. Though it was meant for child-rearing , I think it applies here. It said that you do what you think is right, and when that fails, you do the best you can.
Well, I am not sure what’s right at this moment but I am doing the best I can and for now at least, that’s okay. For now, I’ll ride those skirt-tails and perhaps soon I’ll have hold of the whole damn skirt.