For My Dad
3 weeks ago I became an official, card holding member of the dead dad club. The most hilariously depressing - or depressingly hilarious, depending on the day - club around. The whole thing has felt so unbelievably believable. A swarm of contradictory emotions continues to overwhelm me because the inevitable - that I never truly accepted would come true - is now my reality. And every morning since I’ve had to remind myself of that. Like a broken record of your least favorite song.
I’ve gone back and forth about writing about this for weeks now. There are an obnoxious amount of half finished drafts scattered from the notes app on my phone to the desktop of my computer. Nothing has felt like the right thing to say. But the most reliable thread of pride my dad had for me was for my writing. Whether he agreed with my thoughts or not, he always read everything I shared. And he always told me to keep writing, no matter what. So, that’s what I’m doing.
This grief has made me feel like stranger to myself. It was easy to handle at first; I didn’t get hit with the tsunami of sadness until the week after it happened, when I went back to work. Ever since then, it’s been a roller coaster of being totally fine to having days like yesterday where I cried 3 times out of no where. Once in the bathroom at work. Again on my drive home. And, third times the charm, right before bed. There’s nothing poetic or creative or comforting to say about it, it just fucking sucks.
My dad, Chipper, was pretty okay. At least, that’s what I always told every customer that raved to me about him at work - somebody had to keep him humble and I graciously took on that task. He was a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, he was mostly a friend. My first and forever debate opponent - we could argue about absolutely anything. And my boss, for longer than anyone thought we’d last working together.
Chipper also gave me so many things I’ve never been more heartbreakingly aware of than in these past few weeks. First and foremost, my stubbornness. A sense of humor that I’ll always cherish. My scowl, which was passed to him by his mother - of whom I’m practically a carbon copy. A work ethic I’d be nowhere without. A birthday to share. And, the cherry on top, arthritis in nearly all of my joints - he was just too kind not to.
I know my life is going to be completely different forever now. There’s going to continue to be days that are relentlessly painful. The what if’s and reminders and moments I wish he could be a part of are going to be an unfortunate constant through the rest of my life. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any joy, there’s still plenty around even if sometimes I have to put all my energy into finding it. It’s always there. So, that’s what I hold on to.
I miss my dad dearly. I will everyday for forever. I’m incredibly thankful for all 23 trips around the sun I got to spend with him. And I’m so eternally grateful to have him watching over my mom, sister, and I for a lifetime.