9/26/2008

Weepy, Raucous, Epiphanies of Grief

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On Saturday it will be two years since my Dad, the Wisest Man in the Universe, left.

If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know it all really started around the time we learned he was dying and for the first year, I chronicled our long goodbye.

Really, it was such a blast.  It was one of the best ever times of my life.  In dying, Dad taught me more about living and life than I could ever hope to learn on my own without him.

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God, I miss him.

If you've been reading my posts for very long, you also know how I struggled with losing him, looking for signs that he was still present, somewhere close at hand, perhaps on the other side of an invisible curtain, just not so far away.

There were a few dreams.  Powerful, intense visits in which he talked about Heaven or once, just hugged me so tight I felt it for days.

Then there were the pennies, mysterious pennies that appeared from nowhere and always when I needed him the most.  Signs, I felt certain, that he was pitching them from behind an invisible chink in Heaven's fence.

It was sometimes just enough to keep me from sinking.

But as this two year mark steadily creeps closer, I have felt nothing but his absence.

I am like Jodi Foster surrounded by a sea of giant listening satellites, listening to the vast, wooshing silence of outer space and hoping for a discernable signal.

The crushing grief is gone for the most part.  I have settled in for the steady, plodding marathon that is life without my mentor and best, true friend.

I know he's gone but I can carry him with me, always.

Still it would've been nice, would be nice, to reach out and hug him.

On one of those bittersweet, joyous days in which I hadn't been swamped with loss and was, in fact, having a blast with my boys, I walked into the kitchen and caught them, red-handed, hiding pennies for me to find.

I was devastated.  All this time.  All those pennies.  It had been my boys, tricking me and laughing behind my gullible back?

I couldn't let them see how awful I felt.

A few days later an epiphany, probably epiphany number 112 since Dad died, hit me.

Although they swore it was the first and only time they'd hidden pennies for me to find, I truly doubt this.  But I realized it was not done out of cruelty. My boys have always been too loving to hurt me like that.  They were doing something their grandfather would've understood completely- the good and the bad.  It was a sort of reverse-generation Santa Claus.

I remembered all their pats on the back and the awkward hugs they'd given me when I'd dissolved into sudden tears at some silly commercial that reminded me of Dad.

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I realized, again, my father lives on in my boys.  His goodness, his kindness, his wicked sense of humor- it is in all of us and in that way, Dad is never truly gone.

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The last time I saw my sister we were sitting at the dinner table when she suddenly gasped.  Her eyes filled with tears and she reached across the table to touch my fingers.  "You have Dad's hands," she breathed. 

She stared at them for a long moment then smiled.  "That much be such a comfort, to look down and see his hands, always there."

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I can't look at them now without remembering him.

And on the 27th, I won't visit his grave to pay my respects. I don't have to seek him out and honor a piece of granite.  I am my father's monument.  Each of us who loved, love, him and try to carry some little piece of his wisdom and mercy forward, we are the monuments to his life on this earth.  It's up to us to find him within us and carry his love forward into our own juicy lives.

1 comment:

Beth said...

What a lovely tribute to your Dad, Nancy. Although my children never knew my Mama, I see her living on in them constantly--in funny little mannerisms, in their creativity, their kindess, and their strong sense of whimsical humor.
And, you know, the way I see it--I think your Dad is just using your boys as his Earthly Emissaries to hide those pennies for you to find. I feel certain he has a part in it. :-)