I have been avoiding this post, I really have.
January 25th, my dad died. He wasn’t sick or injured, he wasn’t suffering from a terminal disease… he just went to bed on the 24th and never woke up.
There is something you need to understand about this: my father was a good man. Good nothing, he was great. When I think back to anything bad he ever did, anything that could make the hurt less, it doesn’t exist. Yes, I was mad at my father in high school, but who wasn’t?
He never hit me, or ignored me. He never abused me in any way. Yes, he was often at work, but if I needed him, he would find a way to be there: birthdays, concerts, graduations, parties… he would do what he could to make sure he was there – and not just for me, but for the family.
My dad was my hero – is my hero, and if there’s one thing that I know for sure it’s that if I ever marry someone, they will have a hard time living up to all the expectations I will have of what a husband is supposed to be.
I miss him. So so much. Everyday in fact. But usually it feels more like he’s just at work than gone forever. I don’t know if that’s healthy coping or not, but it is what it is.
But sometimes I can’t not feel that loss, and it is the most devastating feeling I have ever known… I used to have nightmares about my dad dying, and could only imagine what it would actually feel like. I never told anyone this, but when I was a little girl and had those nightmares, I’d sneak into my parents room… I’d never tell them what the nightmare was though…
So here I am, living my nightmare – and it sucks. I went out last week with the intent of having a good night, and when I should have been happy, when I was in a place I was used to, in an atmosphere where I used to feel comfortable, I ended up having an emotional breakdown, and cried so long. Between the patience of a friend, the bathroom, and the streets of the lower east side, I spent about 2 hours crying, and probably an hour just zoned out.
You don’t know how and when and why it’s going to to hit you. I still don’t know why I broke down then, and I wish I had an answer, but the pain is just… indescribable. I could try to be poetic about it and ask you to imagine a hollowness in your soul, as though something was torn away … but that doesn’t do it justice, and my dad would think I was being maudlin and tell me to knock it off.
I cry a lot nowadays, and have dreams about my dad that almost feel like salt being rubbed in an open wound. It’s hard to explain to someone that I’m exhausted and in a bad mood and in no position to work because I had a dream about my dad. But I do sometimes, and as nice as those dreams can be, I still wake up, and I remember 6am, and the phone call, and how my mom sounded. I remember the last thing I said to him, and the last time I saw him alive. I begin to dread the rest of my life because I don’t want to spend it missing him. I instantly get bitter at everyone who still has a father: my classmates, by co-workers, my friend who is getting married whose father gets to give her away.
I wish I had found the love of my life, so we could have been married and I could have danced with my dad at my wedding. Barring that, I wish I had been a stupid teen and gotten knocked up so he could have been a grandfather – he would have been a wonderful grandfather, and though he never put any pressure on me to do it, I think he was looking forward to it.
I wish I could give everyone a hug who has ever lost a parent, because I knew that it sucked, but I never could have imagined how much. When you build your world around someone, and they’re suddenly taken away from you, it’s like no matter how hard you try you can feel yourself unraveling.
I will be fine, my father gave me a great sense of humor to carry me through the hard times, he left me a great and supportive family that I truly love. But it hurts, a lot. And when the time comes, and I am truly sorry that it will, I will be here for you, for the hugs you will need, for the hands to hold, for the silence, and the laughter; for anything and everything.
So all of my thanks, and heartfelt appreciation, and love to all of my family who have been there no questions asked, but especially to my friends who aren’t blood, and therefore not obliged to deal with all my shit.
Adrienne and James, thank you for being my extended family, for never pushing me to talk about it, but being there if I need to. For being the first connection to the outside world. For the party you threw for me that I didn’t know was for me. For always helping me laugh. Even though you don’t know it, you guys have been such a rock for me.
Natalie and Milosz, it has been such a great thing to hear all about your wedding plans. Your craziness (Natalie!) has been really entertaining, and I am so looking forward to celebrating your wedding. You guys always give me something to look forward to – shopping, museums, parties, drinks, movies.
Kaylyn, what can I say? You have been so good to me, even though I don’t call you so much. I’m so sorry your father died, but I’m also thankful that you’re in my life and have gone through that. I see you and how you live and what you’ve accomplished and it helps me not cave in and disappear. Sarah (pushing up roses) this goes for you too – sometimes all I have is twitter because it’s three in the morning and everyone is asleep, and when you reply I know you know what I’m going through and there’s a moment of solidarity that I can’t explain that helps me.
Matt and Roger, you guys are the nicest. Always trying to get me out, but giving me space. You don’t treat me differently because of my dad, it’s like the whole thing never happened and I can forget about those problems for the night.
Christina, Fran, and Trish, I know we’re all busy and don’t see each other a lot, or talk a lot, but you guys… you know I love you right? Like Natalie’s wedding, I’m always excited to hear about what’s going on with you and what’s coming next, because it helps remind me that life goes on.
And Jay. Man, I’ve already thanked you and apologized to you for the other night, being the aforementioned person whose shoulder I cried on rather unexpectedly. It’s not as though you’re a big part of my life, and, to be honest, I didn’t even think you liked me at all (more like tolerated that weird girl, cause hey, she’s a fan… and maybe that’s true, but let me pretend for a moment). But it’s important for you to know that that moment mattered. Letting me cry? Being a pal like that? There are seriously only a handful of people who have ever been there for me like that… and I’ve mentioned them all here. For reals.
But now there’s Chinese food for dinner. And I DVR’d the new Legend of Korra. And I have finals to prepare for.