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Not a day goes by …

May 13, 2012

I know, it’s Mother’s Day – but this one is a little rough for me, so please bear with some rambling. It’s the one year anniversary of my father’s death. And I still can’t believe that it’s true.

Literally, not a day goes by where I don’t absentmindedly think to pick up the phone and call him. Sometimes just to tell him something, and sometimes just because I’m bored and I miss him.

It’s been a really rough year. Anything associated with my dad seemed to come tinged with drama, and this has not been an exception. My relationships with his family, instead of growing stronger, seem to have become even unhinged, as I try to work through my own grief and somehow still end up as the center of support for everyone else. I’m consciously trying to take a step back from that role, and … it isn’t always pretty.

Mourning him is so difficult. My dad was such a polarizing figure, and people have strong emotions about him. And very often, I feel like I’m the only one who bears that burden. I know that’s not entirely true, but on some level – it is. We had a very complicated and unique relationship. He was more my friend than a dad in a lot of ways (although I’m realizing, now that he is gone, how much I really did learn from him – it’s so hard to accept that I can’t tell him that …) and in a lot of ways, I really was my dad’s best friend. It’s a heavy mantle.

I keep thinking about how much he’s missing. And whenever I do or experience something fun, I think about how much he’d love to hear about it, or what he would say. And I think that’s where I get tripped up. Because as my sister has pointed out – he’s not missing it. He’s dead. He doesn’t know he isn’t here. It’s really more about me, wishing he was here to share it. It’s a fine distinction, and I think it helps. When I think about it from what I would consider “his” perspective, I feel sad for him, and almost guilty that life goes on. When I think about how I feel about it — well, I mean – that’s just healthier. It also helps, because my dad was many things, but unpredictable wasn’t one of them. I can almost hear and predict, word-for-word what he would have said in almost any situation, and sometimes — that helps.

So, life goes on. And I’ll continue to try and untangle some of the messes he left, try to find ways to honor him as life goes on, and keep his voice in my head. But today, one year later? I’m just sad.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2012 11:17 am

    I’m sending you some love today lady! Last week was 6 months since I lost my dad and I’ve been feeling the same way. I always try to remind myself that he would hate for us to be sad all the time…it helps me a lot.

  2. JessB permalink
    May 14, 2012 7:35 am

    Love to you, mate. I like that you’re thinking about what your Dad would think – don’t forget that he would be loving you heaps.

  3. Robert Russo permalink
    May 14, 2012 4:58 pm

    Hi Erica,
    You don’t know me but I went to St John’s with your father from 74 and graduated with him in 79. I even helped him when he opened the pharmacy on Court street in Brooklyn. I don’t know why, but I was thinking about him today and did an on line search and started to cry when I saw his obituary. I am deeply saddened and in shock. It took me a while to find any link I could use to try to speak to someone. I found you and your Mom, but you were easier to write to. If you can will you please write me and tell me what happened. Your father was a great guy and although we lost touch when he moved to Florida, I will miss him terribly. We had a great time together in and out of school.
    My e-mail address is robertrusso55@gmail.com.

    Please accept my sincerest condolences for you, your sister and mother.

    Robert Russo

  4. April permalink
    May 16, 2012 11:53 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss. I’ve been there. My father died 12 years ago this summer and I STILL expect a call from him on my birthday. The urge to phone him when my children were born, was a strong as the urge to phone my mother. No one in my family really wants to talk about him. My sister hates him. Still. 12 years later. My brother and I never talk about that kind of stuff. And my mom just ends up bawling. They all only ever want to remember the bad times. I can’t tell you that it gets easier. It just becomes, well, different. It’s not that you accept it, because it is so very hard to accept. But it becomes a part of you. It is now a line in your story. There is a before and an after. You are changed. It is just is what it is. I think of my Dad every day. I miss him more somedays than other and can be set off by the simplest of things. My thoughts and prayers go out to you E. *big internet hugs*

  5. June 1, 2012 10:18 am

    I don’t know how I missed this til now. It’s easy to say something cliche and hope that it makes the pain a little better less, but I know that just isn’t possible. Just know I’m always here if you want to talk.

    As for relations with the family, maybe once the raw pain from the first and second years pass, it will get easier. I hope it does.

    And I love your sisters comment about how he isn’t the one missing out. I need to remember that.

    xoxo

  6. Ashley permalink
    July 5, 2012 2:05 pm

    Hey there. I was just thinking about you and how I needed to check in with my fellow mourning atheist. I’ll be sending you an email soon with some details about crazy mourning activities I’ve been a part of. Just thought you should know a random internet stranger is thinking of you and sending you some sympathy.

    Ashley

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