I’m not the first person in this world to grieve.
I’m not the first person in this world to say, “It’s like an ocean and comes in waves.”
I’m not the first daughter to lose her daddy. I’m not the first daughter who had a rough relationship with her daddy from the age of 12-30, who restored that relationship and then lost her daddy. I’m not even the most recent daughter to lose her daddy… I’ve had two friends lose their daddy in the last six weeks.
But I am the first ME and so, like others who write to process their mess, I’m going to write about it to get it all out.
You see… yesterday was the last day of school for my kids. I am the PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) President at their school. The PTO hosted a lunch for the staff & teachers of the school – and let me tell you – our parents sent in more food than I could possibly imagine. One random question… “Are you the PTO representative helping set up the luncheon?” sent my brain in a HUGE spiral. I was not… As president, I delegate out what others can take care of and I’d delegated that lunch on out – especially after getting our Swim Team meet schedule and knowing we were going to have our first meet on the last day of school.
So I immediately texted the person in charge and their response was that the principal had said in an email that it was all taken care of and that we were appreciated.
But my brain would NOT let go. We were failing in every possible way as a support – not only for our teachers, but for our Principal and Associate Principal who should’ve been out and about in classrooms saying good-bye and not setting up a lunch in the teacher’s lounge.
My first breakdown was really, really random and I was shuttled into the book room by the principal who asked me not to look/act distressed because that made the other parents distressed and I was a leader and an example. I pulled myself together and went to the classroom of a teacher who has become a friend where I asked her a completely unrelated question and then lost my ever-loving emotional mind. (Thank you, God, for friends.) To be honest, I felt reprimanded and my concern belittled. Yes – I am a leader and an example, but I’m also a parent who can’t figure out when I’m on the good list and when I’m on the naughty list and that stresses me to the maximum.
I left my friend’s room pulled together and okay – heading to the cafeteria to party with our fifth graders before they left the school.
Then I passed the teacher’s lounge where the Associate Principal was by herself and popped my head in to say, “I have 30 minutes before I have to leave to run errands. Do you need help?” I barely got the words out before walking in past her and turning into the copier room and bursting into a sobbing mess… where the Principal walked in to find me and assured me I was not letting anyone down.
After getting myself together (again), I went to dance and take pictures of our fifth graders and then headed out to run my errands before the bus arrived home at 11:30-ish.
My first errand involved a quick trip into Target for something where I was immediately confronted by the wall of Father’s Day cards. Well then…
I actually picked out a card for Jeff (because I haven’t done a card in ages) and got my other items and never once gave it a second thought.
You see… for YEARS, daddy and I had what I call a “rough relationship”. He was a fantastic minister, but absent in areas of my life where I needed him. I didn’t show him the respect being my father deserved – regardless of my anger or jealousy. We were a lot alike and that meant that when we disagreed it was explosive with neither of us backing down.
For YEARS, I struggled to buy him a Father’s Day card because they were all LIES. “Thanks, Dad, for your support”, “Without you for a Dad…”, “I’ll always be your girl, Daddy” – UGH! I’d spend an hour reading every card finding one that kinda fit.
The funny one with the grill? Nope – I’m sure my dad grilled, but I have no memory of it.
Anyway – I had several more emotional breakdowns over the course of the day when it dawned on me that tomorrow will be my first Father’s Day without my Father. And thus the crashing waves of grief. Not at all connected to the things I was crying about, but still there in the back of my mind.
And it likely started a year ago with a comment by a friend who is transferring her membership to our church tomorrow – on Father’s Day. She told me it was going to happen and wanted to be sure I’d be there. She picked Father’s Day because she’d been baptized on Father’s Day by her own daddy when she was younger. I replied that I, too, had been baptized on Father’s Day by my own daddy – June 16, 1985 –
Ummm… I just cussed in my head because tomorrow is June 16, 2019. I might die.
Again – it was a moment in time… a friend giving a friend information and asking for support (which I am SO EXCITED to give). She chose Father’s Day because of that memory tied to her daddy who died suddenly and unexpectedly on June 29, 2004. She’s been walking this road I’m on for 15 years. She, her sisters, and her mother are testaments to survival through survivable loss. We were right in the middle of the busy after church kid pick up and my brain didn’t even begin to process all the information I’ve put in the last seven sentences. But I cannot ignore that my brain did indeed begin to process all of that (and maybe more) and this has been building up in me all week long.
Looking back, I’ve not been really focused on major holidays or events and what this loss means to those. I acknowledge that they are coming and that I will indeed be sad on those days, but I have not been remotely prepared for how some of them will affect me.
I got up on my birthday knowing full well that my daddy would not be posting his usual very long post about my birth. I got up and got dressed and took my kid to soccer and came home and lost my ever loving mind and went back to bed.
This week leading up to Father’s Day has seen me lost my temper and my tears far more often than I should have and I just needed to take a moment and acknowledge that it’s there – GRIEF.
Since November, posting photos on Facebook has become unimportant – because my daddy isn’t there to comment on them. I’m not sure I realized how much of what I posted was for my daddy, but in the wake of his death I just don’t take the time to post pictures like I did. Eventually I will get April, May and June up… because I like having a record.
Y’all… this grief thing is NO JOKE and it is NOT FUN.
I’m not the first person to say this, but I needed to write about it and get it out for my own good.
Tomorrow, I will CELEBRATE that I had a daddy who loved me.
Tomorrow, I will REMEMBER that, though we had years of disconnect, we spend the last 10 years of his life close – super close.
Tomorrow, I will REJOICE that my friend is placing her church membership at Fairmount.
Tomorrow I will CRY because I will miss my daddy and miss hearing him preach and miss his Facebook posts.
Tomorrow, if your daddy is living – be sure to hug his neck or call his phone and tell him you love him.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven Daddy… I sure to miss you.