My father is dying.
I don’t want you to feel sad for me, my father has nearly died many times. In fact, my father has nearly died so many times that he says he’s been assigned a junior grim reaper.
We say in the theater “comedy is tragedy plus time.” My father was given six months to live in June, that is both tragedy & time.
There is no way to be prepared for the death of a loved one, but I’ve come to think that having the six months has made me one of the luckier people I know whose father is dying. Strangely, once something happens like this you become aware of all the people whose fathers are dying, and all of the people in your life whose fathers are gone, because it is on your mind or you just pay attention now because it is also happening to you.
Pre-grief is when you try to emotionally distance yourself from the fact your father is dying, you feel numb & try not to think about death much. Comes in handy when everyone you know is trying to assess what stage you are in of the five stages of grief thing. Which makes me feel like this:
What f*cking stage I’m in? F*ck you and your f*cking stages of f*cking grief. Anger? Okay, maybe I’m angry why wouldn’t I be?
I think I’m in all the stages of grief at the same time. I flow through the stages minute to minute. And early on when I caught myself feeling happy the next minute I felt guilty. Today, I think happiness is a good companion to grief, they can coexist, especially on Christmas Eve.
One friend, not even my closest friend, made me feel completely loved and cared for when I told him I had to go home to see my Dad. He just held my hand for a moment. He was such a calm, strong, and warm presence, I felt at peace. He did everything he could for me in that moment.
Sometimes it’s the very simplest actions that speak volumes.
Another friend advised me to leave nothing unsaid. That was absolutely sage advice, and I sat down and wrote every memory or thing I wanted to say to my Dad on a single notecard each. I wrapped them up like Christmas gifts, stuffed them into a red stocking, and sent them super express mail home. My Mom read the last one out loud yesterday.