“One day you will ________, and I won’t be there to see it.”— Mankeshwar Lal Kurichh
I’ve never been one of those people who gets overly emotional on the anniversary of the death of a loved one.
My father left this world ten years ago today, and even though I’ve acknowledged this day every year by showing an outward recognition that this day commemorates a significant and meaningful event in my life, the day itself has never been difficult for me.
I always find it odd that this type of anniversary is hard for people – don’t they remember the person is gone every other day? Do the memories somehow only show up on the anniversary? I’m being a bit cheeky, but the thing is, I think about my dad every single day and I miss him until it hurts sometimes, but it isn’t marked by any significance on the calendar.
Ever since I was a little girl, I would always imagine a scenario where I was called to the principal’s office and they would deliver the news that my father had met with an untimely death — a deep-seated morbid fear I suppose. Thankfully, that never happened, but I guess at some subconscious level, I’ve always been afraid of life without daddy.
To my surprise, when it did happen, I didn’t fall apart as I had imagined I would so many times before that day. In fact, I was, as usual, the member of my family making arrangements, organizing all that needed to be done and taking care of the nitty gritty. I am good in a crisis; I think it might be my super power!
Even after the dust settled, and I went back to my life, oh wait, I didn’t go back to my life at all. Instead, I completely left my life. I gave away all my belongings, quit my job, gave up my apartment, moved out of the city and became a wayward traveller in search of the purpose of my life, or perhaps the purpose of life in general.
But, I didn’t cry. At least not the way I thought I would. Hysterically. Endlessly. Uncontrollably.
If you’ve followed this blog, you know where some of that journey took me, and if not, suffice it to say, it’s been a path to awakening. I’m not sure I’m quite woke yet, but I’m on my way.
What I’ve started to realize in the last few months is that I’ve been coming out of a deep freeze — one I didn’t even know I was in until I began to thaw. By that, I mean that I’ve started to really participate in life again in a way that I had unknowingly stopped doing ten years ago. I had physically and socially isolated myself, and although on the surface of it, it may have seemed to others; and especially to me that I was just going about my business, however, looking back, I see now that I was actually in deep mourning in my own way.
I’ve had a few moments of overwhelm lately when I think about the fact that it’s been ten years since I’ve had my father’s physical presence in my life. Ten years is a large chunk of one’s life, a notable marker of the passage of time. And how did I manage to live a decade without him? It’s almost like I have some subconscious guilt about going on with my life without him…or maybe that’s exactly what it is, and that guilt has informed my every move for the last decade!
When I woke up this morning, I had a spontaneous, unprovoked little cry. It wasn’t hysterical or drawn out, just a few tears and a heartfelt sadness at the passage of time without my father here to share it with. That prompted me to write this post.
Over the years, in various conversations, my father would often talk about the future and what it would bring for me and other loved ones. He would say to me, with a hopeful-proud-joy-mixed-with-deep-sadness-in-his-eyes, “I won’t be here to see that.” And then he would tear up, all the while, his face smiling ear-to-ear, beaming with pride at the accomplishments of his progeny; whether that future event he was not going to see was my wedding day, or his granddaughters’ scholarly accomplishments, or what a great young man his grandson would become. He knew so many of his dreams would be realized, and that he wouldn’t be here to bear witness.
He was right, many milestones and accomplishments have taken place by his progeny over these years since he left us, and his grandchildren did turn out pretty terrific, just as he predicted. I’m sure he’s had a front-row seat to all our happenings, and he’s beaming down with pride, showering us with all his love. That’s comforting.
But that cry this morning, I believe it’s what I needed to be able to move back into life; into joy; to heal and maybe even help to let my subconscious clear this block and realize that there’s nothing to feel guilty about.
My dad, more than anyone I know, would want me and all his loved ones to experience life to the fullest, lead with love, and surrender to joy.
He may not be here to share in everyday moments or milestones anymore, but my father is always with me in spirit; I carry him with me in my heart.
I’m not sure if this post has a point, and if it does, I’m not entirely sure what that is. I suppose it’s possible to glean many different things from my experience. If I had to offer some insight, I guess it would be this:
You cannot fill the void left by the absence of your loved ones; no one is replaceable. Time will not heal the sadness of your loss, but it will help to ease the intensity of it. And, even though you may not be able to communicate with those that have come before you with your physical senses, you can feel their presence and their energy within you — for everyone who has touched your life becomes a part of you and lives forever within your spirit.
Time passes, things change, people keep on ticking. That’s the way life is. Cherish your moments now. And cry if you want to. It’s cathartic.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!