Yesterday, the 19th, was the one year anniversary of my dad, Chip's, passing. A day that crept up on me like the first snowfall every winter. I could pretend everything was fine until it was too tangible to ignore.
The thing that has been so jarring to me in my entire process of grieving is how the version of me sitting here right now, a year and a day later, is so completely different than the person my dad said goodbye to that morning. I get lost thinking about how weird it is that there's so much he just never got to know or meet or see happen in just one silly little year. Insignificant things, like my new tattoos that he'll never get to tell me he thinks are weird or all of the different freelance gigs I never got to tell him about. I've so many new friends whose names he'll never get to forget despite having heard them a million times. In the past year, all of those small things are moments that I don't realize he didn't get to know until I pause and think about the timeline of it all. That's when it makes my head spin. My life from here on out is entirely made up of moments just like those. Though, I hear it gets less jarring and more mundane with time.
As the super planner that I tend to be, I intended on yesterday being fine. I had already gone through a year of figuring out how to have a dead dad, so the milestone wasn't going to be anything emotionally out of the ordinary. Except for the fact that I was very, very wrong. Every single text, funeral home flower delivery, and moments of silence that lasted just a little bit too long made me burst into tears. I hated the feeling of people acknowledging it. Which I'd love to be able to explain but I don't have therapy until tomorrow afternoon so until then it has me dumbfounded too.
4:30 AM, my first day back to work at Starbucks the Monday after my dad passed felt like an episode of the twilight zone. My heart was racing so fast I was spilling coffee beans as I scooped them. It was freezing behind the bar but I was still sweating in my disneyland sweatshirt. Nobody - minus managers - knew why I had been gone for a week but I was paralyzed by the idea of being asked. I'd spent the week back and forth from the funeral home with my mom, going through my dad's belongings, and talking to people in the same bubble of grief that I was in. Going back to a place outside of that bubble, having to worry about cold brew toddys, perfectly steamed milk, and "creating meaningful customer connections" felt so intimidating. It felt incapable of existing around people whose worlds had not also just catastrophically changed.
4:00 PM last night, I had planned on working the dinner shift at work to be perfectly fine. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, I knew I hadn't planned well. It was a similar feeling to that Monday opening at Starbucks last year, just not quite as intense. I had spent the day beforehand alone at home, in my own bubble, and leaving it felt wrong. I wasn't able to get out of my head, As soon as I got home and saw my mom that uncomfortable, foggy feeling went away. Almost everything that comes with grieving sucks, but something about sharing a space of grief is so unexplainably comforting.
Today, the 20th, is better. Anniversary's are weird to go through, especially the shitty ones. My least favorite feeling that comes along with all of this is the guilt. Feeling like today shouldn't be enjoyed because of what yesterday was. But the first person that would've disagreed with that sentence would've been Chip - if there was a party to be the life of, he was going to do it. Which is cliche as fuck, I know. But, I'm going to go to a concert (disappointingly for my dad it's neither one direction or harry styles) today with one of my best friends and I'm going to have a kickass time.
One of the sweeter parts of grieving is doing things in their honor, and going into year two without my dad that's what I want to do the most of.