Grief Like a Gut Punch

It’s crazy how missing my dad lives in my background emotions, until I see Julia Roberts and George Clooney on the big screen dancing like the biggest dorks of the century. And it’s like grief full-on punches me in the gut.

That was my parents. The biggest dorks. The most fun grandparents ever.

I lost my dad. In those moments watching the movie, it hit me in a new way; My mom also lost so much. She lost her co-parent, her grandparent sidekick. They made such a great team.

I got angry.

In Ticket to Paradise, Roberts and Clooney are divorced parents of a daughter preparing to get married in Bali to an island boy she had just recently met. The divorcees end up playing beer pong against the young engaged couple. They get WASTED. Side note: My mum is sober over 29 years, so the drinking part of this scene is unrealistic for her, but the rest pretty accurately describes how my parents would have acted. (Side note to my side note… they once got kicked out of a bar for dancing on a pool table. That was pre-sobriety days). They start laughing and dancing and utterly embarrassing their daughter. I literally could see my parents on screen.

I’m mad that I don’t get that anymore. I want to enjoy dorky parents. I’m not ready to live the whole rest of my life without having that anymore. I’m mad that my mom doesn’t get that anymore. She has lots of parenting and grandparenting left to do… .alone now. That’s a lot of pressure.

And then there’s my kids.

The other day, my mom posted on Facebook a Happy Birthday wish to her grandmother who died 9 years ago. She said how lucky she was to have had her grandma for 52 years. So lucky and blessed.

My youngest daughter got to have her grandpa for 16 years. Such a huge loss. He was SO MUCH in our lives. Irreplaceable. Now there’s just a missing piece.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been angry like this. Helpless anger because I know there’s no solution. I’m not one to stay angry long. My anger quickly turns to tears and sadness. As the hard anger softens into crushing sadness, the edge wears off and I think about how my kids may not have had my dad for 52 years… but they got to have him all the same. And I know he lives on in me and in them and in all of our memories. It still hurts so bad and I can’t imagine all the years ahead without his presence. I worry about what I’ll forget and how much the kids will remember when they are older. I suppose that’s wasted energy. What happens will happen and bottom line… I am who I am in great part due to who my dad was. He really does live on.

And me and the kids still have my dorky mum. I really am amazingly and abundantly blessed to have been gifted with such fun and fantastic parents. Can a heart explode from being overwhelmed with grief and gratitude?