by gillian claire: loss.

10.13.2014

loss.

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( on our way to Chicago, 2010 )
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As some of you know, I lost my dad last spring. It's almost been 6 months ago. Half of a year feels almost substantial but to be honest it all still feels so raw and new; I still feel pretty separated from it. I know that there are steps to grief but for me it's been less about following logical steps and more about feelings that are just all over the place all of the time. And even though I've gone through periods or moments of healing, growing, anger, acceptance, learning or changing... to be honest I'm still mostly in shock and denial about it all at this point.
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The end happened very quickly and it was a whirlwind that didn't seem real to me at all. I mean it happened really, really tragically fast. I traveled home to be with him but I didn't make it. I made decisions from afar, I watched things spiral out of our control. Thinking about that last week just still blows my mind. The timeline of it all is completely mind blowing to me and I can't wrap my head around it. I spoke to my dad on the phone 2 nights before he died and I can still hear him saying, "I'm doing a little better."
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I don't feel like I have anything intelligent or introspective to say about losing my dad at this point. It's more like this big suitcase in my life has been shut and inside it are all of these swirling papers and lists and things upon things that I need to sort through and figure out. Instead of dealing with it I just sort of stuff it closed and cram it under my bed. Sometimes I get it out and do things like pick out a gravestone from photos that my sister sends me on Facebook. Sometimes I wear his bracelet and think about how I could donate my time someday to a cause in his honor. Always I hear his voice, see his face, feel his memories. But there is still a lot of stuff in that suitcase my friends, and I don't honestly know when I'll really be able to sit down and open it up.
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My boys talk about my dad, "Poppy" a lot. Roman says things in that 6 year old way that are just absolutely the most beautiful things in the world. He remembers things about my dad that would make his Poppy full of happiness and pride. He remembers that, "Poppy always had things ready for us when we came for Christmas." He remembers the Easter decorations that were nicely set out when we went to his apartment after his death. It sounds silly but those details are so my dad; he cared about making things special. Asher looks in the sky and says "I miss Poppy. He's in the sky? I can't seeeee him. He has wings? He can fly?" I don't know that they will remember him at all. I always tell Roman to keep remembering, to keep remembering. I'm worried that he won't and it makes me cry big tears. It isn't fair. My dad was so good to my boys, I wish they could have and know him longer.
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My constant dreams about my dad have settled down a bit. But I did have one the other night. In it I was telling my dad that he would always be alive to my sisters and I and that he didn't need to feel sad or fearful about leaving us because we would always, always be with him. I was literally chuckling a little, like, what's the big deal, nothing can separate us.
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So yeah, I don't know, I really don't know anything at all. It does suck, all of it. It all just sucks. My sisters and I each have our theoretic suitcases full of things to sort through now as well as real life boxes upon boxes of things that we've inherited from our father as well. There will certainly be many years of sorting and sharing and pouring through them all in our future. There will be tears of joy and of course many tears of sadness. Hopefully we will continue to be able to share and grow together through the happiness and sorrow of it all. Hopefully it will connect us more and more through the years. We share this journey.
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The grief process is rocky and the future of it all is uncertain to me. One thing that I do feel certain of is that feeling of truth from my dream; my dad will always, always be alive to my sisters and I. Inside I truly feel like no girls have ever loved their father more.  One concrete feeling I've derived from this all is learning and seeing true, uninhibited love. It's the love I felt, the night my dad died, as we sat  inside my mom's living room laughing and crying together. It's the love I felt when my grandpa said, "whatever you girls want," when we planned one last big celebration for our father.  It's the love that we all poured into my dad in our own separate ways, in the ways that we were capable of, at the end. It's hard to explain but I guess there certainly is something beautiful about the heartache and desperate pain. Even though it's a terrible loss, there are moments - like when I look at the mountains and think about how much my dad would have loved them, it's moments like that make me feel something so very truthful and absolutely real. It makes me feel connected to my dad in a way that is almost closer than if he were right there in front of me... in those ways my dad lives on.
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<3
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"Loss" is the October writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective.
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The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

8 comments:

  1. Hi....I'm a new reader. Just wanted to say, I totally understand. I lost my dad almost 3 years ago now (HOW could it be almost three years already??) and I still feel overwhelmed by it and yes, what you said about not being able to wrap your mind around the last week....I couldn't have said it better myself. I still can't either. Anyway, just wanted to say you're not alone!

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    1. Thanks so much for commenting, Madelyn! I loved reading what you have said here and realizing that losing a parent is such a unique thing that only others who have gone through it can relate to. Peace and love to you as you process the loss of your father, it's good to know that I am not alone in my feelings. <3 <3

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  2. it's been over six years since my father's passing and it is still surreal. i can totally relate to your loss and the feelings of ambiguity that surround it. but your absolutely right that your dad is still alive within you and your sisters. xo

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Lucinda. <3 I'm so sorry that you've lost your father as well.

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  3. Grief looks different to everyone. I heard a story on NPR this morning about the Mexican celebration of Dia de los Meurtos and how it's an opportunity to remember the ones that have gone before because they'll never be gone as long as we keep their memories alive. That comes to mind now because I think it's such a simple and beautiful way to honor our memories of loved ones who have passed into a new life. And I think your sons will remember their Poppy! My PaPa dies when I was 3 1/2. I have very few specific memories of him, but I vividly remember the way he made me feel. And that's a good thing!

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Sarah. I absolutely love what you are saying about the Dia de los Meurtos. I love that tradition and I wish that our culture had better traditions of celebrating loved ones who have passed on. I also have memories of my great-grandma who died when I was only 3 and she was always a special part of my memories growing up even though I lost her at such a young age.

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  4. such an incredibly beautiful post -- and a truly lovely tribute to your father. <3

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