Losing a Parent to Cancer: It’s Been 5 Months

For once, I feel like I’m not filled with words as I sit here, ready to try and write out how I’m feeling.  It’s the night before the calendar marks five months since I lost my dad (although I’ll be posting this in the morning – on the actual day), and if I’m being honest with all of you – which I’ve always said I would be – I’m feeling angry.  I’m so mad at how much I miss him, how much it feels so real, how it’s gotten that much harder as time has gone by, and how desperate I feel just to have him back again. It’s hard being amongst society with such a heavy pain, I have to tell you.  My grief counselor made such a good point about those who are mourning;

wouldn’t it be wonderful if we still treated death like we did in the olden days? Wearing a band around our arms which told those around us “I’m hurting. Please be gentle.”  

It’s not that I’m walking around on eggshells and can’t handle when the city gets a bit dark here and there.  But one of the hardest parts of walking through grief is feeling so alone throughout the process because no one’s discomfort is exactly as yours, and feeling uncomfortable letting those around you know that you’re dealing with one of the worst kinds of pain.  You know what I’m talking about, right? When you check in at the gym and you have a frown on your face. The receptionist says, “turn that frown upside down! No one likes a grump!”  Now while I’d like to knock him in the nose and tell him I’m grieving and having a particularly hard day that day, no one wants to just come right out and say what the reason is behind our facial expression. Sometimes, something so intimate that requires words spilling off of your tongue is just too much, and at times, it just doesn’t feel right.  Now if we wore something on our arms like they used to, it’s a symbol that goes without saying.  One that allows you to just be.

I think a lot of my anger comes from my recent successes.  I’ve had a lot of really great things happening over here in this little business of mine, and I want so badly to be able to call him and tell him about each and every one, just like I used to.  He was always the first person I told.  It’s habitual.. I’ll still reach for my phone, even look under his contact knowing full well no one will pick up the other line.  I get so close, and I’ve even allowed myself to hit “Call Daddy” – with no response.

It’s moments like those, like these, where my heart catches in my throat and I feel like I can’t breathe; where life all of a sudden seems so incredibly long.  

And while I know in a couple of days I could, and hopefully will, wake up feeling okay, down to my very core – just grateful to be his daughter, tonight and most likely tomorrow.. I grieve outright. I sit on my couch and wonder how this could have happened.  I mourn him, and I allow myself to do so – fully, completely, selfishly.

I hope that there is a piece of this that helps any of you going through grief – remember that you are allowed to feel those dark moments, to be angry and confused; frustrated and completely heartbroken.  Your life will be compiled of days and weeks where you feel like you’re on the craziest rollercoaster.  One day, your hands up in the air, smiling from ear to ear celebrating a life that is so worthy of it all, and then down to the lowest low, seeing nothing but darkness – swearing you’d do anything at all just to feel their touch, hear their voice, see their face.  Salt flows into your wounds.

Feel it all.

And because not everyone will be as gentle with you as you may need them to be, it’s all the more reason for us to remember to be that much more gentle with ourselves.

Forever missing you, my daddy.  I love you so.


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