Today began like most other Saturday morning usually do- wake up at 4:30, opening at work by 5:30. Though, unlike my typical Saturday morning, I was off work today at 10am. And that would be super exciting by itself, however my being off 4.5 hours early was for a more depressing cause.
I got to go to a funeral.
Like most people, I hate funerals. You know you’re going to cry, usually the headache-inducing cry more so than just a few tears. You know it’s going to make you sad, miss the person, and wish you could have said something before, but now it’s too late. All of that occurred today.
In addition to missing the person I was going to the funeral for today, I was reminded of the pain I felt when my dad died, and when I got to go to his funeral. That actually may have been the last funeral I’ve been to (though this was not the first person I’ve lost since my dad).
I lost my dad when I was 16. It was December 4th, 2008. He died on a cold, rainy day, succumbing to his pancreatic cancer. I have never known a pain so intense, so unique, and so hard to overcome.
No, I have not overcome that pain by today (it’s 2016, 8 years later). I have come to believe that emotion like that is not able to fade completely from one’s body. Some days it feels “better” than others. Less intense; less raw. And some days it hits you like an oncoming train. But I have not experienced one day since his death where I feel any neutrality about it.
You’re probably not supposed to feel neutral about your parent’s death. That may not be what the world intended. But wouldn’t it be nice to not feel that sharp stab of pain every single time it arises? Wouldn’t a life without grief be nice?
Immediately, I am inclined to say, “Yes, that would be fabulous”. If I could go through my life not feeling that grief, or any other grief I predict I will feel in the future (since I have opened myself to other loving relationships in my life), that would be amazing.
A lot of my “issues” are derived from the emotional pain I feel about my dad’s death, and about other emotional traumas/situations that I’ve experienced throughout life. First of all, I think it’d be great to delete those experiences from my life. Since that’s not possible, I think it’d be great to delete those after-effect emotions that have cropped up from the experiences in my life. And since that’s not possible…now what?
I’ve spent the last seven years of my life working primarily on self-growth. Yes, it is a long time period. No, I didn’t intend for it to take that long. And no, I’m not nearly finished. But what I’ve learned, and what I’ve heard, several times throughout, is that you have to accept life on life’s terms. I did spend a lot of the past seven years fighting that notion. I tried to control myself, my world, my emotions…anything I could attempt to control, I did. I failed miserably, by the way.
You can’t make anything happen in life. You can work hard for something, you can strive, you can do your best. What happens right now, in the next ten minutes, in the next day, in the years to come…that’s not really a controllable force. People change, places change, situations change. Things are always going to happen that you didn’t predict. I learned that not all of the unpredictable events will necessarily be bad or feel emotionally impossible.
This self-growth journey has been important to me because I’ve learned better ways to handle several things, internal and external. And while other’s sickness, death, and funerals seem to be under the category of “please don’t make me do this again”, I have grown to the point of handling myself in most every important way. I no longer self-sabotage, disconnect from the rest of the world (for long periods of time), or let my old demons control me.
In funeral fashion, I spent the day wearing black, crying with others, wishing to say things to this person, wondering if they can hear me right now, and having that pressurizing grief emotional wave.
I spent my evening writing. I called my mom, and I called my grandma. I talked to several friends. I took a nap with my cat. I stayed a part of the world, because the world isn’t done with me yet (as far as I can tell).
Today was a day that provoked thought and insight. Today, I value this day like I wouldn’t have before.
Rest in peace, Heather. ❤