Saturday, September 12, 2009

Like The Dead Leaves of Autumn

If I may speak just a bit on my most recent tragedy... and in so speaking... it might give my heart a short reprieve.

Mom and I talk on the phone nearly every day and have, since June. I spent a week with her in July (in Alabama). It was painful going back home and dad not being there.

I listen while she talks about things like the headstone she chose for dad's grave and wanting to be sure we are all okay with it, his notebook of songs she discovered while going through his things, his clothes that were packed to give away, etc... and all during our conversations it's "You know, when your dad was still alive."

I want to change the subject to something else, anything else... but I listen and try to give words of encouragement when needed although, to me, the words fall lifeless from my tongue like the dead leaves of autumn.

I know my dad is gone and he isn't coming back. I accept that... as long as I'm not reminded of it, as long as I don't look at his photos or hear in conversation that he is not with us anymore, as long as I don't recall any of the last six weeks of his life that I spent with him, getting to know him better than all the years before, as long as I don't recall the pain he was in or the look in his eyes on the few occasions when he thought he was leaving us, as long as I don't think about how lonely he seemed as he lay dying... as long as I don't give my mind any quiet time to think at all... and, as long as no one tries to tell me things like, "You know your dad wouldn't want you to feel sad." He is gone, I miss him and I feel sad.

I never knew he had such blue eyes or such big hands. I never knew he had such a tender heart or felt such emotion. He was just my dad. He was also a preacher for as long as I remember. That's where his heart was, in preaching. I respected and loved him and I always knew he loved me but I seldom felt especially close to him... not until those last six weeks.

Six weeks! What happened in all the years before, that kept me from really knowing him or sharing a close father/daughter relationship?

Even though those last six weeks seemed the most difficult of my life, I thank God for them. Every day, I thank God. At least I had that.


Widow in the Middle said...

Those six weeks you shared together were gifts to both you and your Dad. It must be so hard for your Mom right now. I have found that focusing on the special memories/good stuff instead of the loss, takes away some of the pain.

Anonymous said...

I will try typing through my tears. Reading this, Im reminded of my mom, her cancer, the months I took care of her, our conversations, the love. I agree with you, this was a gift from God.

My advice, if I may be so bold...feel what you feel, on days you want to cry, cry...laugh, laugh..when you feel mad because he is gone, feel mad. Allow yourself to remember when you want, and dont when you cant.

Thank you for sharing your heart, it has touched mine deeply.

2busy said...

What a wonderful blessing you had in your second chance to get to know your dad before he passed. As the raw pain diminishes, you will remember that time with a smile. It sounds like he was a man of great faith, take comfort in his faith.

4evernite said...

Widow, That time was a gift to us both and I will in time, I'm sure, focus more on the good memories. Thank you so much.

Steven, thank you for crying with me, I haven't had much of that and it feels good. Your advice is most welcomed, just having someone tell me it's okay to feel all those emotions. I find much comfort in your words.

2busy, my dad was indeed a man of faith and I find great comfort in that and I know in time I will look back on some of those last days we had together and smile. Thank you for your words.

Thank you all.

Steve Julian said...

It's difficult to respond to something that is so personal and heartfelt.
It's a hard thing to face death, when it is someone we are so close to and love very much.

Ekanthapadhikan said...

I lost my dad when I was just 13. But Thank God! Till then I was very close to him and he is still the best thing that has happened to me. And God did spare me the pain of watching him die old and ill. He came back from work one day, fell sick, was taken to the hospital and poof... It all happened so fast. He had a massive heart attack!

And yes. It's your right to feel sad about such a loss. You better don't hold back your tears!!! Those are the last of anything of purity and from your heart that you can offer him!!!

AmyK said...

I too say you need to allow yourself to feel all of the emotions. My lost my Mom 3 years ago 9/26... so this month is hard for me. The first 6 months, I was numb. The pain doesn't go away but it does find a place to live so you can be ok. I hope as the weeks and months pass that you have someone you can talk to about the little things even, like thngs your Dad said, or did, that can make you smile again.

TechnoBabe said...

It sounds like you are still grieving. There isn't a time limit for grieving. You just keep working through it. Writing this post is a good thing. Good for you to acknowledge your feelings. You had a father who was present in your life growing up and an example to you of a caring father. And you had special time with him the last six weeks he was here. From my perspective you are so blessed.

Anonymous said...

My father-in-law passed in January and the conversations we've had on the subject since then.... sometimes they go along the same track as your posting. It's like people have already said; grieving happens at its own pace.

Thank-you for stopping by my place and commenting - and for giving me the opportunity to follow suit.

4evernite said...

Steve, thank you so much for commenting.

Ekan, your words are so very encouraging. Thank you.

Amy, "The pain doesn't go away but it does find a place to live" what nice words to leave me with. Thank you SO much.

Techno, Thank you. I feel very blessed to have had that time with him.

Mathew, thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words.

Thank you all.

Breadwinner Wife said...

I know this is such a life-changing event, losing a parent and a spouse, in your mom's case. I know she must appreciate having your ear.

Rainysoul said...

First off, a hug for you **HUGS**.

Second, perhaps your words are like the dead leaves of autumn. That fall to the ground. The shelter and keep safe some of the seedlings that fell before them through the winter. They change to fertilize, and encourage new growth, and give back from whence they came. I think if your words are only as good as the "dead leaves of autumn" that would be a grand thing, and if they're only just slightly better then much more great.

Angelica Bays, said...

So many wise people have spoken that I will just add my wishes for your continued healing and growth. I know that your Dad would be proud of you right now.

4evernite said...

BW, it is most definitely a life-changing event. Mom has her children and we have her. That in itself is a blessing.

Rainy, thank you SO much for the hug and for your thoughtful words of wisdom and comfort.

Angelica, thank you so much for your kind words. Much appreciated.

Thank you all.

Betty said...

When I start feeling sad about Dad, I just remember Margaret's dream and picture it in my mind and I know he is so happy. My grief for Mom is so strong because I identify with her and know how she feels. She needs to talk about Dad for that keeps him alive in her heart. He will forever live in our hearts as Ritchie still lives in mine.

4evernite said...

Betty, remembering that dream helps me too. I'm glad Margaret shared it with us.