Wednesday, December 18, 2013


So, my last post was pretty much a killer. I didn't want to come to this space anymore as I'd have to look directly at what I posted. I didn't really come out and say exactly why I posted the eulogy, though I suspect many of you deduced what happened or know me personally and were already aware. My dad passed away unexpectedly on August 28th this year. I won't lie; it has kicked my ass mentally, emotionally, and physically. I don't know that I can do justice with words to say what he meant to me. There are very few people in your life that you honestly can't picture how your life would be without them in it. My dad was one of those people.

Growing up, I'd have nightmares about him dying suddenly and trying to figure out how I'd go on. Its one of those things, you never really tell people. I mean, who likes to admit what really and truly carves out a space in their bank of absolute nightmares. That's why the song I chose to go with his eulogy was so poignant and telling for me. It captured the very essence of what frightened me. For some reason I regularly have felt even as an adult that I'm just pretending not to be a big frightened kid. With dad still alive, it gave me that security that I was indeed going to be ok and it didn't matter as much whether I knew what path I should take as he'd be there to back me up. With him gone, it's like walking out into the dark night and knowing for once that it's really just me and the wild outdoors. And it scares me. Its strange to actually put all this down as its been floating around in my head for years.

Even now, 3 months removed, I have a hard time dealing with the thought of it. Something will hit me and my brain almost refuses to process the fact that I'll never see, hear, or talk to him again. It goes so far that I have a physically sick feeling wash over me. The gal I saw a few weeks after he was gone suggested it might be cathartic to help write this stuff down. I don't know about that, but I do know that I've always turned to writing when stuff is bothering me. Other than this being all for me, I guess maybe I hope that sharing my feelings might one day help one single person to understand that there's a lot of crap, both emotional, and physical that comes right along with losing someone in that inner circle. I've dealt with death of 3 grandparents, co-workers, acquaintances, other relatives, and the like. Nothing comes close to this.

I've been trying really hard to suck it up and put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis. I'm trying to move forward with life as close to how it was before all of this happened. Some days it works and some days, not so much. I do seem to be able to string more and more days together as time goes by so I guess there is some truth to time healing all things. I am scared of losing his memories or having them dulled as time goes by. It seems to be such a double edged sword that the pain of losing him has to go hand in hand with allowing yourself to not think about him as well. I know that shortly after it happened, I did what I could to escape those thoughts for at least a few hours at a time. I'm really thankful for my friends that were there to help me pass those hours. Hell, I got this far before getting teary eyed, I guess that's pretty good. Right?

If I had to pinpoint the one thing that is the most likely to cut me to the bone and send me into tears, its thinking of my dad and my girls. Them growing up not having a grandpa and more-so not having him as a grandpa just destroys me. I had 35 years with the man and felt like it wasn't enough. They've barely known him. Knowing how much he loved them, there is so much that they're going to miss. It's falling square on my shoulders to make sure that  they get to know who he was and get to experience those things that he would have loved to share with them.

My girls understand that he's gone and that daddy is really sad, but I wonder when it will sink in that they are actually missing something from their lives. My wife has been a rockstar through this and helping me just to cope as much as she can. I've been bouncing between being nearly inconsolable, to mad, to lost, to just frozen with no direction. Helping my mom trudge through the paperwork and processes required by law hasn't been any treat, but with deadlines attached it keeps me motivated to doing something, anything. Its hard for me to even go to our farm right now. Everything there is dad. Just being down there brings me closer to him, but right now its pain and hurt, not comfort, that feeling closer to him is causing.

One of the things the gal I talked to helped me work out was answering the question of "why". Or maybe not so much answering the question, but helping me focus on finding a point of light in such a dark situation. What we came up with is that dad's passing should help instill that I need to focus more on those things that truly make a difference in my life. When you pare all the bullshit away, it boils down to that I need to be a lot more thankful of my family and friends. I need to cut the crap of making excuses of how various superfluous things make a better life for me, because its not just about me. Its about the people I truly care about and those actions that make our lives together well lived.

In the end, I guess this is me taking another step forward and trying to find that new path. I really want to get back to retelling my Colorado Trail experience and sharing the other things that have fulfilled my life. Maybe I'll even try to put some stories together of my dad and I.


Iowagriz said...

Nicely worded. Keep the stories coming, I know that we don't physically see each other that ofter, but I'm virtually hear to listen. Call if you need a ride to clear the mind.

Bruce Brown said...

Nice thoughts shared, Rick. The void left is worth writing and talking about.