What Have I Been Doing?

It’s been just over two months since my dad died. It seems like it’s been longer than that. I recounted three times… August to October… yep, two months. I miss him so much. More than two months worth of absence.

What have I been doing for the last two months? My life seems so different, yet so weirdly the same. I have the same job, the same home, the same husband to wake up to each morning. Yet, it all seems different.

What have I been doing with myself for the last couple months??

Listening to a lot of Black Crowes and Tom Petty… Music had always been a huge part of my dad’s life, and I inherited his love and passion for it. Black Crowes and Tom Petty are two of many rock bands on the list of concerts Dad and I went to together. I’ll always remember the night sky hanging over the immense crowd of people, all singing Free Falling, with the great Columbia River Gorge in the background, and marijuana smoke wafting towards us from every direction. And my auntie and I will forever laugh about how Dad got us lost on the way to the amphitheater and we ended up asking an armed guard at Hanford Nuclear Site for directions. The guard was not pleased.

Walking at the river by myself
Walking at the river was something I frequently did with Dad. In recent years, we used the same path, rain or shine. A short jaunt through a field, a walk through the forest, and a stroll on the sand. Growing up, we frequented different paths, different swimming holes. A frog jumped out of my hair one day when we were jumping off of a log. Now, I walk our path alone. It brings tears, and brings comfort. Somedays, it’s the only place I want to be.

Renovating a house, catching up at work… and a million other tiny details of life that cry out for attention and demand action. How is it that the dishwasher fills up every day? How is it that 5 o’clock arrives earlier and earlier each day?

Learning to cry in front of people and not be sorry
Crying in front of people is not comfortable. It’s not comfortable for me, and I know for dang sure it’s not comfortable for the person I am crying in front of. Crying in front of people has been impossible to avoid in the last couple months. And I’ve come to the point that I don’t care anymore. I am choosing to honor my feelings. If I feel like crying, I am going to cry. Why do we feel so much pressure to squash our feelings?

Buying Lotto tickets
I’ve always enjoyed a scratch ticket here and there, but never really bought the real LOTTO tickets. Dad did though. Religiously. And he never won. Why in the world have I picked up where he left off? No idea.

I was having trouble getting up in the mornings; thus started my relationship with YouTube. There are some amazing inspirational messages… just five to 10 minutes of a message that pumps you up and makes you feel like you really can kick the day in the ass. I’ve also started doing 10 to 30 minutes of yoga each morning, following YouTube videos. These things have done wonders for my attitude in the morning.

Caring More
Before Dad died, I had NO IDEA what people were going through after the death of a loved one. Now, any time I hear about a loss, my heart hurts for the bereaved. I want to crawl into the foxhole with them. Weather the storm beside them. I know there is really nothing I can do to take away the pain. But I can at least let them know they are loved, and send a card.

Writing has given me an outlet. It feels good to put words to my feelings; to put my thoughts down; to put legitimacy to the roller coaster I’m experiencing. Sometimes I have something to say that others may appreciate, and sometimes it’s all for me.

Caring Less
I feel like I am incapable of caring as much right now. I feel a little numb; a little empty. I feel like I SHOULD do nice things for other people. I feel like I SHOULD be helping more, be cleaning more, be doing more stuff. But I just can’t. My counselor corrects me, tells me there is no SHOULD in grief. I want to be more to the people around me, and at the same time, I’m completely exhausted by the thought of it.

Grasping the importance of each moment
I feel like I’m on the cusp of something. I want to get rid of stuff of no value. I want my moments to be well-spent. They aren’t necessarily well-spent right now. I get sad and wallow. I want to accomplish my dreams. I am surrounded by clutter, and some of Dad’s stuff that needs to be gone through. I am excited by the prospect of change, of getting rid of the old, of making space for peace and comfort. I recognize that this life isn’t guaranteed and that every moment grants me a choice on how to live it. These feelings are a flicker now, but I feel a flame coming on. I feel hopeful that the heaviness of grief will subside, a little at a time and make room for the fire that I know will come.