I have been thinking about this a lot lately, about how people change over time and how as we grow as people the way that we see the world and the things that have happened to us in a different light. This year marks the 19th anniversary of my Dad death, nearly two decade and a thousand tiny lifetimes.
I sometimes feel like I don't fit in to what societies idea of grief is. Some days I will admit that I don't think about him, I don't use his death as an excuse for my failed relationships and when his anniversary or birthday rolls around I am not a complete mess that cant function. But none of this means that I don't miss him and that I don't wish he was here.
When he first got sick I used to wish that he would die, just because it was so hard to have to watch him go through what he did. Having to empty the buckets of blood that he had thrown up and begging him to go to the doctor when he wouldn't are images that still haunt my dreams. I was so scared always but I didn't feel like I could let it out. And then he did die and I was full of remorse and regrets. For years I would lay awake and hate myself for the fact that I hadn't spoken to him for three weeks or that maybe I hadn't told him enough that I loved him or for those small moments that I wanted it all to end.
Until recently I was not willing to admit the fact that my dad was a functioning Alcoholic, I was ashamed and didn't want people to think badly of him but ultimately its the truth and its a catalyst to his death. He died from complications of cirrhosis of the liver, that nasty thing that happens when you drink to much. He used to run a bar, drinking was kinda par to the course I guess but he was a man that took his work home. I think I knew back then that he used to drink a lot and I didn't understand why he just wouldn't stop, especially after he first got sick. Why keep doing something that was clearly hurting you? I just didn't understand about addiction then.
Alcoholism has such a bad stigma attached around it and that why its hard for me to write this, my dad was a good man despite his disease. He loved us, he treated us like angels and always put us first. At my age, he was a single dad with two young girls that worked full time to make sure that we had the best of everything that he could give us. I put myself in his shoes and I don't know that I could have done it the way that he did and I take my hat off to him for that.
We put our parents (or all family elders to some extent) on a pedestal of how we expect them to behave, but at the end of the day, they are just people and it has taken me to being this age before I really understood what that actually meant. Parenting is about sacrifices, your whole life gets turned upside down and you do the best you can to try and keep above the water any way possible. Parents make mistakes but it doesn't mean that they weren't the best version of them that they could be
I wish that I had more photos, or videos or anything to help his memory stay in my head. Sometimes out of know where a smell or a song will pop up and make me think of him but those moments aren't as sharp as they used to be. I wonder if my life would be different if he was still here, but the more I think about it the more I don't think it would be, I would just have another person cheering me on from the side lines. I have always been this hard headed independent entity and I think that he would have been proud of that.
And this is the big thing about losing a parent, life goes on, life always goes on. We owe it to them to keep going, to be the best version of us that we can be, because they gave us the best version of them that they could. Its really that simple.
Love and Heavy Words