Today is the first anniversary of my father’s leap of faith. Like they usually say in newspapers and such, he was surrounded by family. My sister, her boyfriend, my mom, daughter, hubby and me were all in the living room telling jokes when the moment came. I think he wanted to make sure everyone would be OK and hearing us all laughing made him feel better.
It makes me sad when I see my friends remember their loved ones. They all still carry all this pain and they all post these heart wrenching messages about how much they miss their loved ones and how long it has been. I don’t feel that way. Do I cry sometimes when I remember a particular song or something he said? Yes. Do I wish we would have had more time together? Of course. Here is the thing. He had leukemia, he was over 80 and two hospitals in two different countries decided it was a good idea to give this man radiation and chemotherapy. He was tired and it was time. He was not sure until we had a conversation a week before he died. I think that conversation made him ready.
There are a lot of good memories I can share about my dad. I have tons of pictures of him. He and I shared one similarity: we were both the last child. He knew how hard it was for me because he had lived in my shoes. I think that is why he did not want me to work so long as I studied hard and brought him good grades. He wanted me to have the life he never d
I was a sick little girl when I was young. Ironically the same organs are giving me a hard time now. He used to tell me this story about how one time they took me to the hospital and somebody gave me the wrong dosage of tranquilizer. I can’t remember how they helped me out but apparently I almost died.
My favorite story of all? When I was a little girl, I used to shake my feet from side to side until I fell asleep. It is a nervous tic. I guess now they would call it restless leg syndrome, LOL. The thing is, he used to tell me that I would not stop shaking my feet until he came and kissed me good night. My father traveled a lot as a systems engineer and JC president and member, among other organizations. Allegedly, when he was traveling the feet would move all night. I think he was a little proud that I loved him so much that my feet would not stop moving until he got home safe. Mind you, the way he told the story, I was completely asleep, but the feet would move until I got my kiss on the forehead.
Now this is not about Alzheimer’s. It is not about leukemia. It is also not about care giving or taking care of yourself. Why did I decide to tell you all this story? We all show our grief differently. Some of us focus on the good things and the light we carry with us. Others cry. Others make things, like art work or write poetry. And by the way, every time you have to say good-bye to someone, your own reaction might be different. I don’t know what it is about the men in my family. We were six, three women, three men (counting parents). All the men are gone. I did not react the way people expect. I guess I tend to not do what people expect a lot. I just don’t feel sad about my dad. He was in pain and very ill and I would just feel very selfish if I would have asked him to stay just so I did not have to miss him. That does not make me right or you wrong. It just makes us all different. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
If you are in the process of saying good-bye to your loved one, do your thing. Do not let anyone shame you into
following a certain path. If you want to cry, scream, pout, do it. Do whatever makes you feel better, so long as you don’t hurt anyone including yourself. Forget what the grief counselors and psychologists say. You will find your own way to deal with it and there is nothing wrong with feeling sad, frustrated, happy and proud all at the same time. If you love someone and they love you, they will understand that you have to live through it your own way. NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR BEING YOU.
I leave you with a picture of my handsome dad. Have an amazing day.