Holding 38 Years Worth of Memories in My Heart, And Moving Forward.


I haven’t written about him because I can’t wrap my head around the fact that he is gone.

I haven’t allowed myself to believe it. That way, I don’t mourn. I’ve done this before. I know how to get around it. I know how to block out things in my mind, like losing him, and fill them with other things, like work, home, projects, working out, planning events, stacking a schedule so thick I don’t see my kids awake for days at a time. This is how I work through it.

And I’m starting to see myself on the other side of it. I’m coming out of it. It’s like that postpartum haze you don’t even know you’re in. You have your baby and you don’t even realize you’ve been a depressed, psycho-mama until you see yourself on the other side of it. You see a picture of yourself with your 6 month old baby and you say to yourself, ‘Damn, I remember that time. All frumpy with an extra 30 pounds, so lonely and depressed, longing to do anything other than empty the dishwasher and wipe someone’s ass. But I didn’t know it then.’. That’s where I am now. Coming out of my postpartum haze.

People often say there are so many similarities between birth and death. In some ways that is true. In the way that people around you lose all sense of what is appropriate. No one knows the meaning of intimacy and privacy anymore. Unless you are a spouse, sibling, child or parent of the person dying (or spouse of any of these), really, just stay home. Everyone has great intentions. But nothing hurts worse than seeing your parent rot away from the inside out. Discolored, stinking, rotting flesh, fevered. Nothing hurts worse except when others see him like that.

Then there is that beautiful moment of relief when they finally pass. Like a long, exhausting birth, where everyone has worked so hard and you just want it to be over. And then that moment, when it finally is. Over.

I have so many wonderful memories of my dad, when it was just us. And I think I will keep them all to myself. And hold them in a private space, never to be shared or touched.

My mom and dad had a tumultuous but extremely passionate relationship. They were either fighting hard core or so in love I could see hearts in my mom’s eyes. In the end, the pain of infidelity outweighed the infatuation. They loved each other. They were both good people. Good people with no role models of how to make things work or what a real marriage is supposed to look like. A place I often find myself in now.

My dad had this thing. This thing that I can’t put into words. It’s a thing in his genes. My oldest brother has it. His oldest son has it. I have it. My son has it. It’s a way. I wish I could explain it. It’s a legacy. Maybe that’s why I can’t let him go. Because he does live on.

Today, I am planning a return to his house for the first time. This day, this blog, this return is my first attempt to move on holding him in my heart and accepting his physical absence.








10 responses »

  1. I’ve known you all of my adult life and you definitely have “that thing”…your parents were so lucky to have you as their daughter. I wish you peace and I hope your memories comfort you as you deal with the pain of this loss. I’m always here for you. Xoxo

  2. Oh Steph! I am moved by your words and really regretful that I haven’t said more to you about it all. I am sorry! You are a great woman and I hope the memories can guide you through this next stage…

    (see, even I still don’t know what to say…)

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