Losing a parent: does time ever really heal?

Losing a parent: does time ever really heal?

Today marks exactly fifteen weeks since my father passed away. I remember so vividly the phone call from my sister, screaming “He’s gone, he’s gone” over and over. I’d had my bag packed to go see him that morning. I knew that time was running out and I had to get up there (Madison). I didn’t make it.

I’ve written about what it felt like to be an adult orphan. That was awhile ago, only two weeks after he died. I thought that surely by now I would start to feel a little better, that I wouldn’t be so sad and angry all the time. Yet, it just seems that the more time passes, the worse it feels.

Coping with grief is a mystery to me. Sometimes I wish that I could undergo the procedure in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. I could have my memories erased so that I could be in less pain. Not that I want to forget my parents, just somehow to make the business of everyday living easier.

You see, it’s the everyday living that constantly reminds me of my father. The little things that were only between us, the nicknames, the inside jokes, the comfort that only my Dad could offer. That only a father can.

He loved Dancing With the Stars, critiquing every week on Facebook. Of course that was only after he’d called me and we shared our thoughts on the performances. Now I cannot watch it; I can’t stand not having him to talk to after.

When I arrive home everyday, I can envision him sitting on my front porch, petting our dog and calling out my name when I pull in the driveway. Whenever we eat at Portillo’s I can almost hear him ordering me to get him a beef and a Diet Coke, and some french fries to go with it.

I can hear his phone calls asking me about how my girls are. “How’s the great one? How’s my Colbita Rosita?” How’s “Maaax (Max in long drawn out form)?” Most of all “How’s my little baby?” I hear these calls in my head and the worst thing of all is reaching for the phone, wanting to call him, wanting so badly to hear those questions, those words that only he would have for me.

In the last month all three of us siblings have had our first birthdays without parents. My sister had a big birthday (I won’t say her age 🙂 and we had a party. The absence of my Dad was so profound it was hard to imagine he wasn’t going to walk through the door at any moment.

So, here we are. Every single day no matter where I am or what I am doing, something reminds me of him. Something will happen to me and I want so desperately to call him and tell him. We live so much to please our parents, to still prove ourselves to them. Hearing his approval and excitement over good news; how is that ever replaced?

I’ve noticed big changes in myself these past few months. I have much less patience than I’ve ever had before. I am angry. I am agitated often. I am restless. At the strangest times I will cry. I find myself wondering how people deal with grief, I am trying and wanting so much to be positive and feel like myself again.

I can hardly look at his picture. More recent ones I should say – somehow looking at younger photos of him doesn’t bother me as much. Every morning the first picture I see hanging in my hallway is my parent’s wedding portrait. I think of how on that day they started their lives, their family. How because of that day, my siblings and I are here.

So, each day is a challenge. I know how lucky I was to have parents for as many years as I did, others aren’t so lucky. Yet, perhaps the more memories we build, the harder it is to recover. I don’t know.

I just know I miss my Dad. And I don’t think that will ever, ever change.

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