I was talking to a coworker today and telling a story about something that happened in the office last year. This is nothing strange, nothing out of the ordinary, just plain old office talk. Except one part of the story is that I had to leave work for almost 5 weeks because my dad got sick. And then he died. I mentioned this so casually that I barely noticed and this didn't even occur to me until tonight.
Its been 10 months since he died and 9 months since we found out he was sick. Sometimes, mostly at night, it feels like the grief is going to explode out of me and theres nothing I can do except sob. Everyone I know that has lost a parent has said the same thing; it gets easier, but it never goes away. There's always an empty space, a phone call missing on your birthday, a missing seat at the Christmas dinner table. It always feels like something is not quite right and this is how I've felt for the last 10 months. It is as if a part of me has dislodged and nothing feels quite comfortable.
Mostly on nights like this I think about all the things I didn't say. I think about the time I missed being angry, resentful and distant. I think about the things that kept my dad and I apart. We had a complicated relationship and in the end I'm so glad I pushed it all away and showed up at the hospital every day. I'm glad I knew the names of his doctors, I pushed the wheelchair, I brought coffees and talked with my dad about when he was younger and before I was born. But we missed so much time and this is what I think about when the sorrow takes over.
Sometimes I talk to him. I tell him that I've met someone and I've fallen in love, that I wish he could meet him. I tell him that I'm sorry, I tell him that I still don't know what I want to do with my life but that I have a better idea than I did a year ago. I can almost hear him say "You'll find it someday".
One thing that my dad told me in the hospital was; "Please quit smoking and live a long, long good life ok, meg. Please." He had tears in his eyes and he was clutching my hand. I said I would. So 6 months ago I stopped smoking because I wanted to keep my promise to him. Tonight, I broke and had one. I don't know about tomorrow. Right now I'm just hoping that the tears can turn in to sleep and that maybe tomorrow missing my dad won't hurt so much.
I love you dad. I miss you.