Friday, July 10, 2009

It goes on.

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. - Robert Frost

Thirteen years ago this morning, my father died. I had just turned seventeen; my sister was fifteen. And he was only fifty.

I think anyone who has experienced the loss of a parent at an early age can agree: even if you were normal before, whether you had a happy childhood or not, whether this parent was a daily influence or someone there only occasionally, you no longer are or will ever be normal.

Childhood grief aside, it's strange to be on that side of the event. No one really knows what to say. And you don't know how to respond. Even now, when I attend funerals, I feel that awkwardness because there really isn't anything that can be said or done that will remedy the situation. Things just are what they are now.

I can feel for anyone who has lost someone special in their life. I've been there. In those moments, when everything seems to be moving so fast, and you're quietly trying to keep up, and the grief drags you down like a boulder strapped to your feet, you are in a space by yourself. Even when that grief is shared with another person. Even if that grief is shared with thousands or millions.

And then, something funny happens. Time happens.

That boulder loses its weight over time. You catch up with the rest of the world. And yes, you miss the one you've lost. But there is an appreciation for the moment you have right now, and the moment you once had, and the moment that will be. Everything is in a different light when the shades of that seemingly insurmountable grief begins to wane.

In honor of the time that has passed, I'd like to mark the things that Dad missed, but didn't really.

  • I graduated high school.
  • Princess Diana died.
  • I went to college - got my AA (I may eventually finish that BA - I'm sure Dad's a little upset about that.)
  • Shannon graduated high school.
  • The world human population passed the six billion mark.
  • Shannon moved to MN.
  • 9/11 happened.
  • My grandma, Dad's mom died.
  • Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings hit the theaters.
  • Shannon married Josh. (Grandpa walked her down the aisle.)
  • Grandpa died.
  • The tsunami in the Indian Ocean.
  • Pope John Paul II died and was succeeded by Benedict XVI.
  • Hurricane Katrina.
  • I started a business.
  • Shannon had a baby (that came out looking just like her grandpa).
  • Life kept moving on.
That grief will never be a distant memory. It will always live right here, in my heart. It will only grow a little more comfortable, maybe even a little comforting. It means that I loved him very much. And I have faith that we will meet again.

Dad, we miss you.


Bobby G said...

Touching post. i am fortunate to have both of my parents, i cant imagine what you went through...

Samantha Betts said...

It was a particularly rough time. But life keeps moving, whether you like it or not. Thanks for visiting.