(For ease of reference, “mom” and “dad” referred to in this posting are Lona’s biological parents.)
Today is the two year anniversary of dad’s death.
I read back over all the posts I made over the last two years about mourning and his illness and everything. One line stuck out at me. I wrote in an earlier post, “A year from now, this house won’t even be recognizable.” It took two years, but that’s happened. With this latest rearranging of the house, the conversion of the former living/dining room into a full time office with five desks, the den (dad’s former office, and after that Kata’s for awhile) into the living room, and me and Lona taking the bed that used to belong to mom and dad and moving into the front bedroom – what was formerly Lona and Claudia’s office while the rest of us already were in the living room.
If dad were to walk around this house physically today, it would drive him nuts. He wouldn’t know where anything is, and there are a couple of places were egress (one of his big things) is severely limited. My thoughts have been drifting to him more and more as we’ve come up on this anniversary, and earlier today the only way I could stop reliving that day two years ago was to allow one of my bonds to be in control while I was out with Lona. But that only stopped the grief from weighing down my body – my mind is still swimming.
In this new configuration, physically, I’m actually the closest to dad. His urn is in the breakfront directly behind me, with the urns of Squeak, Flake, and AJ, our kitties that have likewise passed on. But one thing that hasn’t changed over the two years is that my feeling of safety and that he’s still somewhere in the house hasn’t gone away.
A couple of weeks ago, Lona put a kleenex down on an empty part of her desk. She left her desk. She came back. She moved the kleenex – and underneath it was a pen with the Marriot hotels logo on it. It hadn’t been there before. In fact, we hadn’t SEEN any of the Marriot pens for a long time before this happened. Dad used to work at a Marriot, years before I met him, you see…and he brought home quite a few of their pens in the years his band played there. It’s little things like that, that let us know that dad’s still around and wants us to KNOW he still is. It’s odd things like that, that make me feel safe still.
It is true, I suppose, that time heals all wounds. This year has been thankfully free of “a year ago, dad….”, which haunted me for the first year after he died. Knowing we’ve now been through two years without him and we’re all still here, and we’re all still ok, does make things a bit easier. But I still laid awake last night at 2am, remembering dad saying he couldn’t breathe…Mom knocking on our bedroom door and saying she was calling an ambulance…The ride to the hospital, the interminable waiting…Dad’s shallow snoring….and the presence of Death, which still makes my heart constrict and my blood chill when I think of it.
The days and weeks following are a blur now. Reading over my past journals I was surprised how much I’d written about then that I didn’t remember now. I’d forgotten that when dad’s urn first came home, he sat on the dining table for three days, and I did my homework and ate with him. I remembered that I’d been the one to put him into the breakfront, though. Still, that night keeps coming back in horrible clarity today…and I just can’t shake the sadness.
I cried this morning over something stupid. And it wasn’t the tears stinging my eyes feeling that I get sometimes and shrug off…I had trouble fighting this off without sobbing aloud. And I realized as I was doing it that it wasn’t just about what had happened – it was a grief release as well. Two years later, and while I can identify and tell you about how I’ve gone through all the stages of mourning, I can also tell you that just because you’ve reached acceptance doesn’t mean you won’t still cry.
I miss you, dad. I’ll probably always miss you. Thanks for sticking around.