Today will be, and already is, a tough one for me. It is – or would have been – Dad’s birthday. He is – or would of been – sixty-nine. (How are we supposed to speak of birthdays when the person is no longer here?) I don’t know why, but for some reason, opaque still to me, this is the hardest of the Dad days for me. I have had a much easier time getting through the other anniversaries – of his diagnosis, even of his death – than I have making it through his birthday.
It was almost two years ago, a few weeks after his first birthday after his death, that I started this blog. I know I have mentioned this before, but it was in the wake of that day, the day of his birth, that I realized – and accepted – that I was not entirely okay, that I was having a very hard time. As a result, I decided to stop pretending, to seek refuge here, to write through my thoughts, my questions, my grief.
And here I am. Almost a full two years later. And I am stronger. I think so at least. Time is a magical, but imperfect balm for such wounds. But I miss him. And fiercely. Particularly now that I have just welcomed my third girl. Truth be told, it baffles me – and tortures me – that he has missed her arrival entirely. That he didn’t know I was pregnant with her, that he wasn’t here to see her on her first day. That he isn’t here now to watch her grow. This reality – simple, sad – makes me ache.
Sixty-nine. It’s a big number. Still not big enough. He should be here. I always thought he would be.
Two weeks. It’s a tiny number. A precious age. She is so little, but growing before my very eyes. Each day, she wakes up a little bit more, her blue eyes darting and dancing around. There are times now when she looks up at me, really looks up at me. I tell myself that she can see me, that she understands who I am, that I was the one who carried her here. I tell myself that she already knows me and loves me. And maybe she does.
On this hard day? She is my medicine. So are her big sisters with their chocolate mustaches and spring break smiles. So is Husband with his big heart and big hugs.
I still miss him. Dad. Particularly as I immerse myself blindly and boldly in my best role. My role as parent. The role he played uniquely, imperfectly, well. But I am a lucky girl. A fortunate mom. Because recently, I am so thoroughly awash in life and love that it is hard to spend too much time thinking about loss.
But today? Loss is my landscape. I see it. I feel it. I trace its contours. I allow myself to.
Happy birthday, Dad. I love you. And miss you.
I always will. This year. Every year.
How often do you think of people or things you have lost? Are there certain days or anniversaries that are particularly hard for you? Are your own parents still around or have some of you lost your mother or father, too?