My Dad's birthday was a few weeks ago...and yesterday was Father's Day. He hadn't wanted to celebrate either of those things lately, but maybe this year would have been different. Maybe we would have done something together, the way we used to--perhaps a sushi lunch in Portland, or a trip out to Smutty for some kite flying. Maybe we would have gone out for ice cream and, faced with 50 exotic flavors to choose from, he would have picked French Vanilla. Maybe he would have come to my house and let the kids make him a cake, even though he didn't like cake and would have preferred lemon meringue pie. Maybe.
Right now, as we head into a beautiful summer, I'm reminded to focus on the amazing way he lived his life, and not the sad loss that was his reality at the end. I'm grateful that, at his Celebration of Life, who he was became so apparent and the incredible depth of his talents and personality came shining through. My dad touched so many people's lives, and it was really nice to be surrounded by people who remember him the way he was before depression took him away.
I've spent the past few weeks thinking about this juxtaposition, this seeming incongruity between who he truly was and who he became. I've been wondering what would have happened in my own life if I had zigged instead of zagged at
different points. And what it comes down to is that any different turn would have put me
somewhere else and I'm so, so, so very happy with my life right now. As an example, I
think all the time about where we would be if Sophie had lived. To have her live, however, means recognizing that I probably wouldn't have Evan and I
almost definitely wouldn't have Jordan. And my life would be SO horribly
incomplete without them that in a strange, sounds horrible kind of way,
I'm okay with her death. My father is gone--and as horrible as it is, the possible inheritance (assuming the house sells!) will
open up a HUGE world of travel that has been knocking on our door
for AGES. Megan has wanted to go to Scotland since she first learned
about castles. Erin wants to see Mt. Everest. Even...well, Evan just
wants to travel the country and see all the baseball parks--but that is
still something! So I know know know that I'll look back at this twist and be thankful. I know Dad is much better off now than he
has been the past few years. He had SO MUCH holding him back. So much
that he wouldn't or couldn't change, and that is all gone now.
And while I'm still sitting in a place of pain because of everything that could have, should have, would have, I also know it will get more integrated with time. I know this. I've walked this
road before and I am intimately familiar with grief's path. My biggest
hope is this--that in time, when I look back, my dad's death won't be a
simple zig or zag...that it will be a significant life-changing turn for
the better that I can look back on with the same yes my heart is broken AND it is FILLED TO THE BRIM with gratitude-type thoughts that I have about Sophie. My dad
gave me so much in life and I want to make sure I come out of this fog
of death a better person, as a final gift from my dad.
All that AND, I wish I could stop crying because he is gone.