First written for Facebook on May 7th, 2008: 

When I started doing this crazy thing called writing, I decided I was going to be pretty honest…I say pretty honest because…let’s face it…this stuff could wind up sending me to court, if I’m not careful, so I do choose to edit myself to protect the ancient (I’m anything but innocent anymore.).

And so, today, this note is probably one of the toughest I’ll ever write, but it is in keeping with what I’ve written so far…pretty much the unvarnished truth.

I lost my dad a week ago today.

One of the realities of this life is that we will all, in some way, lose our parents at some point. Some abandon their children…for a wide variety of reasons…some cannot raise them and choose to put them up for adoption (the bravest thing I’ve ever seen anyone do). Some abandon them because they are cowards.

And the rest of them die. I’m not sure I like the phrase “pass away”…I only use it because it seems to make others feel less squeamish about the whole death thing. But, the phrase seems weird and awkward to me, so I prefer to simply say they died. Again, this is the truth.

This is the second time down this road for me. I lost my mom in 2003 and it is not unusual to lose your other parent shortly thereafter…in fact, most die within 2 years of the other one and this is a particular pattern when men are the surviving spouse.

So, I know pretty much what to expect. I’m going to have intermittent periods of inexplicable crying for the next 2 years…they will be frequent for the next few months and then gradually lessen. At times I will question my sanity and seek books on grieving to make sure it isn’t time to commit me to Bellevue. But, even after 2 years, there will be times when I still cry for no good reason other than “it hits me.”

What is interesting to me is that with Mom, the stupid stuff made me cry…I looked at her pics all week to gather them for a PowerPoint retrospective and for the viewing. I never cried once…I was pretty darn clinical about that…even of pics with just me. But, after a week of making funeral plans, writing a eulogy, and working on closing out Mom’s estate, I left Mom and Dad’s house and cried when I looked at her microwave. Explain that one to me! And this pattern continued for quite some time.

This go round I’m seem to cry for the “right reasons”…Taps being played for my dad, an African American Naval officer in dress whites giving the flag to my brother when I know my dad took it upon himself to teach an all-African American Seabee unit in WWII how to read and write, thinking about the honest, simple legacy my dad tried to leave, despite his flaws, and the fact that now, it is just my brothers and me.

I feel 3 again and ill-equipped to face the world as an “orphan.” I know that legally that is not true, but it’s how I feel. And I know that when both parents are gone, my generation’s turn is next. As the youngest, I will probably bury my brothers, too, barring another heart attack on my part…or maybe the migraine from you know where. There are lots of advantages to being the youngest, but this is not one of them.

Is my dad in a better place? Yes. Was his life here the last few years a happy one? No. Was it time for him to go? I think so. Did we do what we should to take care of him. Pretty much. I still feel like a failure, nonetheless. That I didn’t do all I should have done.

Will it be okay? Absolutely. Will I see him again? Absolutely. Will it be a joyous day? Absolutely. Will I dance in my dad’s arms again as I did on my wedding day? Absolutely. Will my dad forgive me? Absolutely. Do I know that this sadness is merely proof that I don’t have the most callous, selfish heart in the world? Absolutely. Am I glad that’s so? Absolutely. Do I know that many care? Absolutely. Do I know that millions of others have felt the same? Absolutely. Do I still feel alone????….absolutely.

Tomorrow’s Post: I want more than this…

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 6:50 am and is filed under God stuff, Lessons Learned. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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