Yesterday marked four months since my father died and I got another pamphlet from the funeral home because apparently, if I am on schedule, I should be entering another stage of grief. I read the first one and scanned the second one and knew that they were poorly written, instructing me to lean on Jesus for strength, and not applicable to my specific situation. I have grief. I cry on the train and get so distracted on the treadmill that I lose my rhythm. Since I am refusing to follow the syllabus, I will only speculate that grief does fade, it’s sharp edges dull and what remains is incorporated into every day life.
I have written previously about how I didn’t know his story, meaning that I didn’t know all the reasons why he left our lives and why he chose to live nearly isolated from his friends and family. I have as much as his story as I will get. His self-extraction from life started before, but quickened after I told him that his father had sexually abused me as a child. His reaction to the news seemed insensitive at the time, but now I know it is because my experiences were also his. He must have been so very heartbroken, knowing that he did not protect me from harm. He removed himself from life and existed on the fringes and that must have been lonely for him. I grieve that. He missed birthdays and holidays with family. I grieve that. He continued to carry our school photos in his wallet and when he did talk about us, people assumed that we were in contact because he spoke in the present-tense.
I joined ancestry.com, thinking that I could get some answers about who his biological family was by taking a DNA test. I found a potential half-sibling of my father and his twin sister, but attempts at contact have gone unanswered. I have sent letters to where I think his twin sister lives with no response. I have done everything I can do to connect the dots, to get answers and possibly find this state of mind they call “closure.” My only option is to create the only story that makes sense to me. I continue to grieve. I grieve for how lonely the last twenty years of his life must have been and I grieve for the loss that there will never be an opportunity for reconnection.
What do I do with all this? I don’t know. I guess I will delete my Ancestry account, it seems pointless. It’s interesting to know where you are from, but it is all so much more important to know where you are going and how you are getting there. I recommit every morning to healthier life choices: no alcohol, no meat, limited sugars and processed grains, more cardio and gym, and as much reading as I can find the time to do. I also understand the importance of acknowledging someone else’s grief. A lot of family members did not respond when learning of his death. I guess they were qualifying what his importance in my current life was and deciding how much of an impact it will have on me and so forth. Even after everything written, some have never mentioned his death. Flowers are not necessary, but a Facebook message would have been decent. A little goes a long way when letting people know they are in your thoughts.
This week on Waldina, I celebrated the birthdays of Yvonne DeCarlo, Fredric March, Molly Ivins, Shirley Booth, Claudette Colbert, Carol Doda, Iris Apfel, Leonard Bernstein, Gene Kelly, Dorothy Parker, Gracie Hanson, Coco Chanel, Maureen O’Hara, Julia Child, Edna Ferber, Horst P. Horst Alice Ghostley, Willy Ronis, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Michel Basquiat and added Double Indemnity and It Happened One Night to the required viewing film series.
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Over on @TheRealSPA part of Twitter, I tweeted “I WILL NOT be joining the @AARP and @AARPWA they seem to be trying to get money out of everyone any way possible.” It was a response to the onslaught of membership renewal reminders my dead father gets (six a week) from them.
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