Monday, March 21, 2011

The loss of a parent. This resonated with me.

"It is not just about the desire of the living to resuscitate the dead but about the ways in which the dead drag us along into their shadowy realm because we cannot let them go. So we follow them into the Underworld, descending, descending, until one day we turn and make our way back."

An excerpt appears in The New Yorker Magazine
Story's End - Writing a Mother's Death
by Meaghan O'Rourke

Damn that's good writing. I couldn't have said it better myself. A woman writes about her mother's death from Cancer.

Reading this brought me back to the days of driving my dad to doctor's appointments, when he was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer, radiation treatments, chemo, days spent in the hospital by his bedside...all of those memories came bubbling up to the surface.

It all happened so fast. He was dead a year after being diagnosed with Cancer. I'm still digesting and going over every detail in my mind, as if I could have averted what happened in the end - my dad dying.

There are days I am driving home and I get this pang in my chest that reminds me that I haven't seen my dad in awhile and that I should go see him. Pay him a visit. It happens all in a split nanosecond. That's when it hits me that I can't see my dad because he's dead.

It's been 8 months since my dad died. I still find myself in tears just about everyday at random moments of the day. There are times when I feel like he's with me. Times I'm driving by myself with the radio on and I swear it feels like he's sitting next to me in the passenger seat (just like all those times I drove him out to the VA Hospital). Or the time I was teaching my 5 year old daughter how to ride a bike. I felt his presence with us and was so sad he couldn't be there alive to see it. My daughter was in tears when she rode by me and said, "I miss Grandpa. I wish he didn't die." She felt it too.

That metaphor of following the dead into the Underworld and descending and descending is so dead on. My loved one died. He was my father. The first hurt was when his mind was going, the second when his physical body died. It's unthinkable to let him go. I'm the keeper of his memories. The last one who can prove he existed and tell you how much he meant to me. I can't abandon him. So I keep following him, while looking back the way I came. How much further before I have to turn back?

And the pain continues.

I miss my dad's voice, I miss him saying my name and his laughter and his jokes, and his warm, bear hugs. I even miss the feel of the stubble on his cheeks. I miss that he's not here to see his granddaughter grow (something that made him happy - He loved being a Grandpa). I read a blog post from a number of years back when my dad told me that he hoped he would live long enough for my daughter (his granddaughter) to remember him. And I know he hung on for as long as he did for us kids (my brother & I).

I'll follow you for as long as I can Dad, yet I know at some point I'll have to turn and make my way back. It doesn't mean I love you any less. And it will pain me to do so. The one comfort I have is knowing I will see you again when it's my time. We will hold hands like we always did and I'll have no reason to be afraid.


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Anonymous said...

Hey Rose,

I randomly came across your blog, searching Google for Amtrak rolling stock footage.
I enjoyed the read.

My father died just four months ago. I'm going through exactly the same feelings you're describing in your post. Times are tough at the moment. First Christmas without him approaching :(

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Loulou said...

Thank you for sharing your feelings..My deepest condolence...I really felt your words ..

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Anonymous said...

I came across this post by complete accident and it expresses the pain of loss amazing well. The moments of heartache when you just miss their voices. The pain settles but never disappears .

Kelly said...

When i was three years old i lost my mom to brain cancer. Since then, although i was at a very young age my whole life has changed not only for me but my two older sisters and my dad.
My dad remarried in 2007 to the most incredible woman, Patti. She had three wonderful kids that i am lucky enough to call my siblings as well. Everyone calls our family the "Brady Bunch" since there are six kids. Everything was perfect until about six months ago when my dad and step mom sat us all down and broke the news that my step mom had been diognosed with a cancer called stage IV Gastric Carcinoma (Linitus Plastica). It is a less common cancer in the lining of the stomach. I have never met more of a strong person then her. Through all the pain, she was still cracking jokes every which way just to make sure there was a smile on everyones face. She was the most selfless, warm hearted person that was one of a kind. About four months ago on january 23, 2013 after a long fought battle, she was welcomed into heaven. I am thankful to say i believe i am the luckiest girl in the world to have been blessed with two of the most strong, beautiful moms. I am who i am today because of them and as much as i wish they were with me i know that this will benefit me in the future.

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