I keep trying to forget this day. After all, it is one tiny speck in the span of his life. I keep trying to forget the 3 years prior to this day, too. I don't want to remember the cancer that tortured him. Anger rises when I realize that I'm dwelling on his pain and illness. His life was so much more than that. He had 76 years of joy, love, family, friends, and good memories. Why does my mind insist on holding these other memories?
I got an e-mail this week from my brother.
"Everyone remember that Saturday is 5 years since Dad passed."
And suddenly....there it is again. The knot in my stomach. The lump in my throat. The shaking in my hands. The anger. Not at my brother. The Siblings and I often send e-mails back and forth about Dad....smiling and remembering and laughing. We celebrated his birthday in this way. E-mail memories. It only makes perfect sense that my brother would send out this message....as a way to spark more memories. More laughing and remembering. He had no knowledge of my anger and, most certainly, he didn't send the message as a way to open the wound again.
I want to yell at someone. Or hit something. STOP REMINDING ME. I know.....every. single. day. I know that he's not here. I WANT MY FATHER BACK. It's so damn unfair. My arms and legs feel like lead....I don't want to move. I want my bed to swallow me up. I don't want to be a mom today. I want to cry until my head hurts in the hopes that it will be enough and that I'll never have to cry again. The simple act of taking a breath seems like too much work right now.
I can't breathe.....
* * * * * * * * * *
The last time I saw my dad was Father's Day weekend in 2005. He was in the hospital. My mother called me on Friday morning and asked me to come home because he was getting sicker by the minute. I flew into North Dakota on Friday night. We went to the hospital on Saturday morning and I remember silently wishing that it could be over. It was painfully obvious that he would never get better. The cancer had defeated his body and I just wanted his suffering to end....even though a peaceful end for him would mark a painful beginning for me.
His end came the following weekend.
My beginning came in the form of a funeral.....a funeral full of well-meaning people who were desperate to say something helpful. Or at the very least, they didn't want to say anything that would be insensitive or hurtful. And yet.....
"He's in a better place."
Really? That's really what you think? That's the story that helps you sleep at night? Okay. Well luckily, we live in America and you're entitled to your opinion. But please, for the sake of my sanity, don't bring that theory over here. Don't you tell me for one second that my father is in a better place. There is no better place for him than right here....with his family and friends. He should be here....traveling with his wife and celebrating their 50+ years together. He should be watching his "Pete" graduate from high school. He should be counting the days until we are all home together this summer. He should be holding my daughter on his lap and sharing his cereal with her, just like he did with my boys when they were little. Don't you dare tell me that there is a better place than that. And don't you dare get preachy with me when my heart is breaking in half. It's just so damn unfair.
Oh god...I can't breathe.....