The constant hurt

My dad died.

It was sudden and absolutely unexpected.

A cerebral hemorrhage.

I’ll never be able to hug him again.

Talk to him again.

He won’t get to travel with my mom, or enjoy the rewards of the work and hell and pain they both went through when he had both knees replaced and worked so incredibly hard in rehab all summer.

He’ll never be able to walk me down the aisle.

I’ll never bless him with a grandchild.

There are a few model kits in the garage that I’ve sent him as gifts, but he’ll never build them.

There was a load of his clothes in the dryer when we got back to my parents’ house Wednesday, and I folded them carefullly, but I knew he’d never put them on.

Doug and my brother Jeff spent Wednesday raking leaves and cleaning up the yard, which would have been his first priority if he was home. They did an amazing job. He’d be glad.

The pastor who will conduct the service came over today to talk to my mom and all of us, and he asked me if I’d want to speak during the memorial service. I know I should, but I don’t know if I can.

I’m so bereft, so ripped up. I’m trying to help my mom and do what needs to be done. I can get through the logistical challenges (as long as they’re nicely sequential, one by one, hour by hour). But I don’t think I’m capable of writing a eulogy at this point. Which makes me feel useless. Disrespectful. Uncreative. Disappointing. Cold.

Friends and neighbors have stopped by all week and brought/sent flowers, amazing food, desserts, a gigantic and gorgeous plant, so many condolences. My dad, even in his disabled state, got out into the neighborhood and made a difference in all these peoples’ lives. They adored him. I see a reflection of his kindness and personality in the people who have visited in the past couple of days. They’re shocked, stunned, and they miss him.

My instinct is to retreat, curl up with Doug and get as far away as possible from what’s expected of me. I’ve been trying to help my mom, but it’s not easy. And when I’m asked by the minister to talk about what my dad meant to me? I’m struck dumb. It’s huge, it’s private, I can’t compose a eulogy as much as I know I need to.

I guess I don’t want to.

I think it’s going to take awhile to figure some of this out. His death was so sudden. I’m scared. All my thoughts about him these past several months have been positive, praying he’d be able to start living a life free of pain and enjoying retirement with my mom. Traveling. Making the most of this precious time together, and getting the better of the disability that had hamstrung their life. Now everything that’s happened this week feels like a slap in the face from the god I’ve prayed to, so cruel and deliberate. And I never got to say goodbye, at least not when he could hear me. All my goodbyes, and I’m sorrys, and I love yous happened when he was brain-dead but still warm and “breathing” and seeming alive. None of that makes a whit of difference. And I know it’s not very Christian, but I am so fucking furious at any god who would do this. (And subsequently, I’m pretty angry at any pastor who’s going on about all our salvation and deigning to ask me about my relationship with my father.)

I feel entirely broken, and my main comfort has been my wonderful Doug, who is weathering the weird family dynamics, and many personal emotions that I don’t feel right trying to describe. All I know is that if he weren’t here? I couldn’t have made it through these past five days, and certainly couldn’t in the days to come. I don’t know how I got so lucky.

8 Responses to “The constant hurt”

  1. Terri says:

    Visit Terri

    I don’t know if I have any right to comment here, but I have been thinking about you (and your family, and Doug) so much lately, and if I can say anything that might help, I have to try. I am not a religious person, and maybe if I was I would feel differently, but that you’re struggling to eulogize your father does not strike me as disrespectful or cold. Quite the contrary.

  2. Ezra says:

    Visit Ezra

    I think it’s one of those times it’s OK to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others, too. It’s OK to help yourself first. Putting things into words can help (I’m sure that is not news, I know), but I suspect that public speaking is not natural for you in the best of times. Words tend to fail me at times like this (I think I totally failed to comfort my aunt and cousins when my uncle died this spring, other than by showing up), so I think the fact that you managed a post is an achievement.

    What Terri said is true of me, too: we keep thinking about you, and wishing we could bake something for you.

  3. 2fs says:

    Visit 2fs

    Oh god, Amy - I am so sorry. I can’t offer any advice based on experience, but I know you’ll do what you can and will act as you do, through love, and that your friends and family will appreciate whatever you are able to do.

  4. Sue says:

    Visit Sue

    Amy, my sincere condolences. Take the time to mourn in your own way. There’s no right or wrong, correct or incorrect, at times like these. I’m glad Doug is there for you; you & your family will be in my thoughts.

  5. Rachel says:

    Visit Rachel

    Joanna told me about the mix up with Open City.
    Then I looked at the next entry and saw that your father has passed away.
    I wanted to tell you that I am so so sorry. There are no words, of course.
    Rachel Sherman

  6. Flasshe says:

    Visit Flasshe

    This is what I get for not keeping up with my blog reading. I didn’t know a friend was in pain. Amy, I’m so sorry about your dad. He sounds like a fantastic guy. I know there’s nothing I can say to make it better at a time like this, but I know you’ll get through it. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to be weak. Please take care of yourself.

  7. Paula says:

    Visit Paula

    Oh, Amy, I had no idea (haven’t been checking blogs very regularly).

    I don’t want to just reiterate what everyone else said, but it’s all true: your dad does sound like a really special guy (as evidenced also by his really special daughter), you are totally allowed to grieve in your own way and at your own pace, and go through every emotion, even the not-pretty ones like anger. And indeed, I am so glad you have a partner like Doug who is there for you.

    I’ll keep you, your dad, and your family in my prayers.

    Love, P.

  8. PlaySet says:

    Visit PlaySet

    I feel broke when I got to read the first part of your post. I’ve missed my Dad so much. He was the best father in the whole wide world. He never saw me graduate in college. And the most painful is, we haven’t done our plans yet. My children haven’t got the chance to see him and experience how wonderful he was. So sad, but I know wherever he is, he’s absolutely happy right now. I love you DAD!

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