I lost my dad about a month ago, and it felt so sudden, although in reality we had been expecting it for a very long time. No matter how prepared you think you are, you are not. My father was an alcoholic with drug tendencies; I knew my whole life that I would be young when I lost him. It did not make it easier to slowly watch him kill himself. It did not make it easier to make the decision to take him off of the medicine, even knowing that is what he would have wanted. It did not make it easier to watch him increasingly struggle to catch his breath.
I learned that grief is not all encompassing, though I miss him dearly and I have moments of intense pain, it is not always there. It almost feels as though it’s not real, like I can finally have a reason to be thankful for my A.D.D. as it allows me to be distracted by small, stupid things.
I learned other people do not know how to deal with your grief, and it’s okay to be angry when someone close to you tells you to “stop moping” or “get over it”. It’s okay to not be over it, feel your feelings, whatever they may be, don’t listen when people tell you these things.
I have an overwhelming feeling of being cheated. That if he had just tried harder to overcome his addiction that we may have had him longer, that he may have gotten to meet my sisters unborn son, that he may one day have walked me down the aisle. These are things we never thought we would have, but when my sister got pregnant six months before his passing, we got some hope, maybe he would be around to see his grandchild, to watch her get married and maybe those things would have inspired him to take better care of himself. What we didn’t realize at the time was that he was too far gone for any effort to have changed the circumstances of his death.
I learned that the things that hurt the most are things I took for granted, that I will never experience again. Like being annoyed to see he had called only to check my voicemail to hear him singing “you are so beautiful to me” or the smile on his face when his children showed up to visit him. I will forever miss the man who taught me what unconditional love really is, the man who always has and always will love me more than any other person on the planet. But I know he is no longer in pain, and that is a peaceful feeling.
Ultimately I learned that no life is forever and it is incredibly important to cherish those around you, who love you and care for you.