I don’t know how to write about losing my dad. I know people do it and they do it well. It usually starts with a quote. A famous one or an obscure one or maybe something he used to say. Then the writer would expand on that quote and use it to somehow describe the character of the lost parent. Extolling his virtues and maybe commenting on ways in which he irked you but how you know it was all love. Then talking about how you know he is in a better place now and then something along the lines of “Even though you are gone, you will always live on in our hearts”
“Losing my dad” it’s so silly. Like he was a set of keys or a wallet that I had carelessly misplaced. Like some loose change I left in a pair of jeans and threw in the wash. It sounds so trivial. I don’t even know how to talk about it or how to deal with the endless stream of condolence messages and visits. My mum handles it with the same grace and poise with which she handles everything else but then she also cries a lot. My dad was the love of her life and she would have moved the heavens and the earth just to keep him alive.
Losing a parent is such a strange and unique experience for me. I have no deep, profound realizations about life or strong urge to change my life or habits or even overwhelming grief or pain about the loss. I honestly just feel relief.
Relief. It sounds strange. Even to me as I write it, but that was the one overriding emotion that I felt. Relief. Relief for my mum. The strongest woman I know; who I had been watching slowly bend and crack under the pressure and stress of the losing battle she was fighting to beat back the unstoppable tide of my father’s illness. Relief for my dad, who had become nothing but a hollow, miserable shell of his past self. No longer the handsome, intelligent, articulate man I grew up admiring but now little more than a bag of bones with a failing heart and a nonexistent attention span. Relief for my brother, who had, less than a year prior, lost his mother to an extended and expensive illness and was now being forced to watch helplessly as his father slowly succumbed to a similar fate. Relief for the family that had been enduring the emotional and financial toll of caring for an ailing patriarch. And relief for myself because I knew he was only getting worse and living with the constant fear that my next conversation with my mother would be her telling me he had died was somehow worse than when it actually happened. I love my father and I will miss him dearly but I am relieved knowing that he is better off now than he was then.
Rest in Peace Daddy. You deserve it.