Today’s The Day My Dad Died

And my uncle. And my cousin. Each a year apart, from completely unrelated things. Maybe the universe is just trying to be efficient and let me have one really shitty day instead of a few spaced further apart. I am doing the only thing I can which is writing about it. Art for me has always been a way to allow emotions to leave my body. I know if I sit down and write, or paint or play a song, or just run for long enough, the thing will leave me and I will be able to feel something new, and maybe the new thing will feel better than the last.

I have this dream where my father meets my daughter and my son, and she’s obviously shy and she hides behind me. He’s in a wheelchair and I think that’s strange for kids. He’s in a hospital, some kind of asylum or something. After we finish hugging, he looks at me and says, “Can I come home now?” I don’t know what it means but I do know there’s a kind of weight on me because my kids will never meet him and so in some way, I have to try and translate some part of him from the past, into the moments I have with them. I have to tell the stories he couldn’t, try and do the jokes and the bits he did.

It’s just a day for being sad. The strange thing is, I forget. I forget for a few days around the anniversary and I think to myself, “What the fuck is wrong with me?” And I try and work out why I’m feeling anxious and depressed and like I’m swimming up river and then I remember, someone says something or I see something and then I remember, oh yeah, today’s the day I got the phone call from my mother, “Your father didn’t wake up, I need to the number for the priest, the one who married you, do you have it?”

We were married in the backyard of my parent’s house two weeks before he died, so that he could be there. Which makes it sound like we knew he was going to die, we didn’t, he’d had multiple sclerosis since I was born and so I grew up watching him go from cane, to walking sticks, to a wheelchair, to a bed, so he was always dying in front of me but you forget about the things in front of you when they’re always in front of you. I am not religious, just spiritual. As I wrote somewhere, a wave does not stop being a wave when it crashes against the shore. The wind does not stop being the wind.

So I like to thing he’s here in some small way, in a joke, a smile, a photo. I miss him. And my uncle. And my cousin. And I’m just going to spend today missing him, and resting my head on his feet when we watched tv, and his dumb jokes and his presence and the fact that sometimes he’d just come into a room I was reading in and he’d just sit there in the same room as me, doing nothing, making me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t understand why he’d do it, but I understand now dad. I understand.

I miss you. We all miss all of you.

6 thoughts on “Today’s The Day My Dad Died”

  1. More people die in January than any month of the year. It’s true.
    It’s not to make it overscientific, but I think it’s significant that in January so many people around the world remember death anniversaries. As you say, we all miss all of you.
    My mother also died in January (2018), as well as my grandfather (2009) and grandmother that I never knew (1993). For my father that means a month full of grief for both his parents and his wife.

  2. I am sorry.
    My husband managed to time his fatal car accident exactly a year after his mother’s aortic aneurysm burst. March 1 is a dark day.
    He died when our kids were small. Our son doesn’t remember him as a living person. This kills me when I think about the life he has missed out on. He is 15 now and really needs his dad as he navigates manhood.
    Our daughter does remember him. She is 17 and just misses her dad.
    Death sux.
    I am sorry.

  3. I remember when your dad died. I know that’s a strange thing to say, but I had discovered you a few years before and was hungry for anything you had to say because so much of it spoke to me. I wanted to understand what you were going through. But I didn’t, I couldn’t, and even now, I’ve experienced some loss in my life but I still can’t give you any form of comfort. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so it’s weird that I want to. But know that it makes me feel less alone. I forgot the anniversary of my grandmother’s death last year and didn’t call my mom until days later, and I felt so awful and swore that I’d never forget again, but I probably will, eventually. It’s hard for me to talk about grief and sadness, so I’m incredibly grateful for you. By writing about things like this, it sometimes gives me words that I can’t find myself, and 8 years after I found your blog, I still relate to it. Thank you for sharing it, all of it, with us

  4. I would just like to say your words help more than you will ever know. When you wrote “Let this be the year of Enough.” I opened it in class, as I was reading it I started crying… hard. I needed it . Sometimes it feels like nothing I do is ever enough. However, enough is all you need in life. I have read Every Word You Cannot Say* a million times. This is not coming from someone who reads all day, this is coming from someone who never reads. But trust me I reread every single thing you write over and over I do not why. It helps me.

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