Friday was my parent’s anniversary.
I will admit, I’m a bad kid- I could never remember the date. I just knew it was in June sometime before Father’s Day. I’m bad with dates and names and finer details of a lot of things when it involves people, but my family already knew that. I’m not saying that as an excuse, rather than just stating a fact.
But when photos of my parents came up on my Sister’s and my Mom’s Facebook, it punched me in the gut a little bit. If you didn’t already know (which I don’t expect you to, I mean, why would you want to know every detail of my life???) my Dad passed away last year on December 23rd. I won’t be going into details, but the wound is still fresh and I’m not one for pity.
Being bad with dates, I forgot about Father’s Day. I forgot about my parent’s Anniversary. Usually, I would have someone to remind me.
When I still lived at home, he’d have me sign the cards for my Mom’s birthday, Mother’s day, and anything else. When I moved out he’d shoot me a text. Or give me a call. Just a reminder, something important is coming up- just wanted to make sure you knew! With Father’s Day though, he’d “gently” nudge gift ideas in our direction. Bike parts, rings with angry skulls plastered on them, etc. I made him a mug once that stated I was his favorite child that he kept on his desk to hold pens.
This year I forgot. My reminder came from a meeting a work, reminding us that a new ad change for Father’s Day was coming up. It glazed over in my head for a moment, and I absently reminded myself to make sure and stop by the Harley shop in Waco to get my Dad a gift- and then it hit like me like a bus.
Oh… shit. That’s right. I forgot.
After that, I had already determined that this weekend was going to be… shitty, to put it lightly. I mean, this isn’t exactly something someone can tell you how to handle. Everyone talks about grieving right after the fact, but never the important dates you used to celebrate with your lost loved ones.
Their anniversaries, Father’s Day, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas?
This is very much a “I don’t know what to do with my hands” kind of scenario. Obviously you can’t carry on as normal, because normal would mean having them there with you to celebrate whatever you may celebrating. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg! What about your birthday? Mother’s Day? Graduations?
My sister’s Graduation was one of many “stupid hands, what the f*ck do I do?!?!” days. We had family down, emotions are high in a way that’s sort of subtle, I’m ready to shoot down anyone who may bring up anything that will make my sister upset (or me, especially my Mom) with the wrath of Thor’s hammer.
Our Dad was present for my graduation. My favorite picture of me and my parents is from my graduation. Cammy didn’t get that opportunity like I did. We had a second where someone reminded Cammy of our Dad and she got upset and I got even more upset because I was angry that she was crying and I was crying and everyone kept saying “aww how cute they’re hugging look at them” and we didn’t want them to look at us-like listen, you’re making it worse just go away, okay?
This wasn’t meant to be a post about me ranting about how angry I am at my current situation. I sort of intended to nicely say “hey, listen, this weekend is not a fun one for some people and you should really respect that and not bring up things that may make someone upset”. But I’ve already sort of fallen down the rabbit hole and now it’s a little too late to come back.
To summarize, every major event during this year is going to be a new one for myself and my family. Every event is going to have a totally new dynamic to it since we’re missing someone who was so integral to our day to day for the past 20 some-odd years. And hopefully, if you have recently lost someone close to you, this may make you feel a little bit better to know that you’re not the only one dealing with this problem.
This weekend, if it so happens that you lost a father- do whatever you need to to make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. You have every right to remove yourself from any situation that makes you feel like you’re being pushed too far. You also have the right to decide not to participate in certain family traditions, events or situations that are stressful to you right now. I’ve walked away from a lot these past few days to keep myself sane. I’ve kept to myself a lot this week because that’s what makes me feel better, but you may want to surround yourself with people. Do what makes you feel better, because no one talks about the year after, but that doesn’t mean you have to put on a brave face for everyone else.
I may or may not be preaching to myself on a public forum right now, but if that’s what’s making me feel better right now, then so what? I’ll spend a few moments airing my grievances (and possibly embarrassing myself) if that means I might make someone else feel a little bit better about spending their Father’s day weekend without someone they love.
The year after is what I will for now on call “the year I didn’t know what to do with my hands” (as stupid as that may sound, it’s the only analogy I can think of that suits this). I’m going to spend this year trying to figure out how to navigate holidays, birthdays, and life events without the man who raised me to be who I am today. And I’ll probably be the same way the next year too, because how long does it really take to figure something like this out?
If your father is still here to celebrate Father’s day out, don’t just give them a call. Go have a day with them and tell them you love them and that you’re thankful they even exist. If my Dad were still here he’d probably spend the day riding his Harley because the weather has finally cleared up and the sun is out, and damn, that road is calling his name. I might have insisted on going with you this time, but as fate may have it, that isn’t possible this time around.
Happy Father’s Day.
“But know this; the ones that love us never really leave us.”
-Sirius Black (J.K. Rowling)