Thursday, August 30, 2012

Not Strong Enough

I found myself having what I've come to call a "Dad moment" in the car as I took HRH to school this morning.  I managed to pull myself together so I didn't drive Ursula smack into the construction cones for all the tears, but it was touch and go for a bit.
It was the sudden realization that my dad would be turning 65 this October if he were still alive.  He'd be eligible for retirement, and he'd be able to take it easy and probably drive my mom up the wall if actually DID decide to retire, although I suspect that he'd have a tough go at not pestering people chewing the fat working all day.
And I can only imagine the fun of the retirement party.
What would be more fitting, then, than to have a sort of retirement party for Dad's birthday, right?  Such a great idea, although I'm not really sure what happens at retirement parties.  I suspect gifts like sock garters, sandal-sock combos, and velour track suits are given.
Celebrating my dad's birthday is something that I've always tried to focus on, rather than the day he died after a four-year battle with colon cancer.  The difficulty is that both happened in October.  As was my parents' wedding anniversary.  It's nearly impossible, then, to separate the days.  Death Day is far too close to Birth Day.  I've re-christened October as Sucky McSucksalot Month, as my heart is truly heavy during this month - in the span of 16 days, I mourn the loss of a beautiful life, I mourn a marriage that was torn asunder by that treacherous third party, and I mourn a birthday I can't truly celebrate anymore.
During a "Dad moment," I don't just cry.  My heart tightens up and tries to claw its way up my throat, which start burning like I just swallowed fire.  If I don't have something like controlling a moving vehicle to distract me, the rolling tears will turn into ugly girl crying - red, puffy eyes, snotty, running nose, and ragged breathing that can lead to hyperventilating if I'm not careful.  The grief that washes over me is powerful enough to knock me to my knees, where you'll still find me asking "WHY?"
I would love to honor my dad and the amazing work that he did in his 51 years.  I'd love to raise my glass and toast his accomplishments and tell him, even in just a symbolic gesture, that he can finally take a break and just relax for a bit.  Maybe he could finally finish the house remodeling project that he started when I was about HRH's age.
I'm just not sure I'm strong enough.


  1. Allison,
    While I feel so deeply for you, I cannot possibly begin to understand the pain. Just know that you will be on my heart for that month. I think that you should absolutely throw a party in October and force everyone to appear in velour tracksuits. Drink your father's favorite drink, and make everyone pledge to do something NOW that they've been saving "for later." We do not know what tomorrow may hold, but we do know the one who holds tomorrow.

    1. Thanks, Kat! I love the idea of everyone doing something NOW and not later. We always wish for that later to have come sooner. I'm so fortunate to have friends like you. Hugs!

  2. Oh Allison, you spoke to my heart on this one. I love the term "dad moments". I just call them moments but it's much nicer to label them. And my dad's birthday is in October too. I'm not sure the grieving process ever ends, it just changes. I haven't had it in me to celebrate any part of my dads life but I hope you do.

    1. Autumn, as the day draws closer, I have a feeling that I won't be up to it this year, either. I will certainly toast my dad, but considering I can hardly see straight when I have a dad moment in private, I'm not sure heading out to a public setting to celebrate his "retirement" will be anything but too much for me to bear. Grief certainly does change, although I can see, in hindsight, that I am still going through the steps on a kind of merry-go-round cycle. I hope that you are able to work through your grief and allow it to change and evolve. Hugs to you!!!