Now I Can Find Relief. I Grieve.

(song: I Grieve/artist: Peter Gabriel)

My therapist told me to write. Doctor’s orders.

My dad died. 
Every time I write it or say it, it still feels like the first time. 
My dad died. 
My dad is dead.
My dad was old. 
He was one of those “he had a full life” cases. 
He was 86. 
My dad died when he was 86.

My dad started 24-hour oxygen in June of 2015. I spent the last 8 months traveling back-and-forth from NY to GA to spend as much time with him as I could, except January when I was under strict orders not to travel after my back surgery. I called my dad the morning of my surgery and demanded he stay alive until I could fly again. We laughed but we knew that neither of us got that choice so we said goodbye every time we talked.

Feb. 2016 - We both survived my surgery, and for awhile were cane twins.

I was lucky because I knew he was dying. I knew that every conversation I had with my dad was one chat closer to the last. I audio-recorded our conversations and made short videos of him telling stories and jokes. I wrote parts of his eulogy while he was still alive so that I could share my memories with him. I knew the end was coming and I know how lucky I am to have been able to say goodbye over the course of 9 months. I mistakenly believed that this gift of time and knowledge would make things easier when I became a member of the Dead Parent Club.

But, no. It still came as a shocking blow to get that call on May 12th. I had been willfully ignoring the impact that the end-of-life experience with my dad would have, and how abrupt the end would feel even though we knew it was coming. In some ways, the past 9 months with my dad was more meaningful than the collective 41 years I had with him. In every way, right now.

I feel broken. I look normal on the outside but I am hollow on the inside. I'm so angry. I want to go for a run, but I can't. I still can't fucking run! Even if I could run, I feel painfully awkward when I'm outside of my home. I feel so different right now. I have all the textbook grieving stuff going on – intermittent waves of sobbing (occasionally in public), constant fatigue but inability to stay asleep, forgetfulness, guilt, self-loathing, weight gain, anger…lots and lots of anger. In short, I'm a mess. 

I just want to hide. And that's exactly what I'm going to do when I go back to Georgia for summer vacation. The last trip of the year. Time to unplug and take care of me. 

Have a great summer, y'all. See you in September.

Let the healing begin.