The Hardest Part About Losing My Mom Has Been Losing My Dad In The Process

grief and loss
Berlian Khatulistiwa

If I’m being honest, I’m honestly not sure how to handle my emotions this week. They’ve been spilling out of me like a cannonball. These emotions – they’re swallowing me. I haven’t been having a good week, despite all the reasons that I probably should be. I did get a promotion at work. I did just get an A in my Literary Theory class. I did just get accepted for another freelance writing gig. And yet – despite all these majorly wonderful, spectacular, really big moments that I should be immensely proud of – I feel beside myself, because my mom’s not here and I’d give anything in my repertoire to make that not the case.

Dealing with this grief is overwhelming. Sometimes more than others. Most days I’m proud of my accomplishments and I can look at life through a lens that’s worth living. Other times my body could just collapse from the weight. My body’s collapsing under the weight this week. Truth be told, dealing with the loss of my mother would be easier if I saw my dad making any sort of progress.

It’s been a little over 8 months – and while it’s not nearly enough time to get over losing the love of your life – I miss the way my father used to be.

I miss the way he would talk because now his voice sounds so diluted. I miss the way he used to joke around because now he hardly even smiles. I miss the way he’d duck out to the convenient store at 11:30pm because my mom and I were hungry for a snack when right now, he’s dropped 30 pounds and hardly eats at all. I miss the way he had a reason to do all the things he did. He fixed up the house for her. He painted paintings for her. He worked hard for her.

With her now gone, he finds the will to carry on immensely hard – and here I am – his daughter who feels powerless to stop it.

He’s made minute progress, just like me. Some days are harder than they should be, especially now as we enter our first holiday season without her. He wants to avoid the holidays at all costs and me, I feel that avoiding the loss makes the loss stand out in the crowd even more. I feel isolated and alone and I wonder when there will be a light at the end of this tunnel. I know there has to be an end in sight to the misery because my mom would hate to see both of us living this way, fighting through the pain just to greet another morning with tear soaked eyes and a heavy heart. I can’t imagine she is resting easy through all of this.

The God’s honest truth is that I wonder how you can make life better for someone else when you’re still feeling the tremendous loss of someone you love(d). Talking about my mom is a courageous act because there’s an 87% chance I’m unsure how my soul can even handle it. Sometimes I listen to her voicemails, indulging myself in 8 seconds worth of her voice and can’t carry on for the entire evening; not that that’s very healthy but it’s like a poison I can’t stop myself from ingesting. I feel that a giant hole has been ripped out of me and then I look at my father – and I realize what a giant hole he is really grappling with in comparison to mine.

My words may ramble, scattered like my current thoughts and emotions because truthfully, I’m trying to understand how I can find happiness when I feel the barrel of the world collapsing on me like crumbling architecture opting to be imploded. My pain stems from my father’s life. It’s enough to carry the burden of missing my mom. I own that as an emotion that will never leave my body. Images of her funeral, and the stale image of her porcelain skin will never go away, and missing her will never decrease but my will to overcome it will increase, if not only slightly. I’ll eventually be consumed with my own family, career, untidy house that the kids will never keep clean and the thought of missing her won’t destroy me like it does now because I’ll have to hold strong for the ones I call my own – just like my mom did for me.

I wish for my father to be happy and it’s a hard truth accepting that he’s not and maybe he’ll never be for the rest of our days together. This obligation I feel toward him connects us. I feel this compulsive need to be there for him, through every moment, through every pained story about how much he misses her, about how sordid Halloween was, and Thanksgiving will be, and how the loss of who’s not there on Christmas morning will be evident. The pain I feel of seeing him be so lost, so miserable, so heartbreakingly broken, is an emotion I have no idea how to deal with. It makes me wish my mom were here just for him, even if she never spoke to me again, visited me, or complimented me over something shitty that I did. I wish she were still here solely for him, to comfort him, to love him, to give him purpose and reason and inspiration to be the man he’d always been.

I’m too powerless to do it. TC mark

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