Father’s Day 2017

So I was gonna try and ignore today … It’s Father’s Day and my kids don’t have one. I was gonna just treat it like every other Sunday only…

Well last time I tried to run from one of the “big” days, like his anniversary death date,
like his birthday, like random days when his loss seems to be around every corner, I get slammed, Emotionally beat up, eaten and then spewed out.

It takes days for me to recover. My whole body, my mind, just like in the beginning, unable to focus, skittish, in a sluggish way.  So this time, instead of running from his loss, I turn into it. Not out of bravery.
Not out of “I’ll show it whose boss!”  I turn into it out of the idea that facing the monster diminishes its power. I’m not afraid anymore (or well just not afraid TODAY) Cause what I have learned on this 1,235 day since his death is: the loss won’t kill me.

Its unpredictability, won’t make my heart stop.
Its depth won’t suffocate me.  Its “holy-shit-this-hurtness” won’t be with me every single moment of every single day.  I have learned that all that pain that often brings me to my knees in random places like the kitchen, outside the car and yes, once in Whole Foods,
washes over me and then goes away.  And while I don’t like it, (I will never like the feeling of being left, abandoned and vulnerability),
every time, every fucking time afterward,
a rainbow appears and at the end of that rainbow is the new, better me!

It was a gift to have him even if he did stink up the bathroom.  It was a gift to loose him. I am standing here, not just stronger, but wiser, more open, more sensitive than I have ever been. I am standing here alive and alive means feeling all of it but knowing that “all” passes. The joy all and the yucky all, it passes.

Now as for the kids, cause really, the day is more about them, than about me …

This year I watched the grief and hopelessness catch up with Paytun and flip her and for moments pin her to the floor. I have watched her look for relief in food, in friends and in music. I have stood beside her, nodding my head, rubbing her back, or laying in bed with me.  She is walking her own journey and it is not for me to dictate it, fix it or say “No, no don’t go that way!” because she has to find her own place of strength. I have to remind myself that it is not one I can create for her.  Her blessing through this? It seems that it is dawning on her (slowly) that the outside things bring her only temporary relief. She’s learning to turn into the loss, too. (That’s more awakening most adults 3, 4 and 5 times as old as she is!)

For Taryn , I still worry. I’m not sure where she is. I watch her float around with her friends, and with me seemingly content. I worry but as the saying goes, “Worry is putting a negative spin on the future.  I watch her fear the fear of her loss, hold it in till she turns blue with it and then let it out because she doesn’t have the strength (who does?) to keep it all pent up! And then worry what we will think her less than when it comes tumbling out. I am waiting for her to discover, like her sister, to run from it, gives it more power.

They lost a father, a man that cannot be replaced. I lost a husband who frankly, can be replaced. (I don’t believe there’s only one soul mate per lifetime.)  The journeys my kids travel are their journeys. Not mine, I have to be careful not to confuse the two.

No doubt Father’s Day will mean different things to them as they grow up, as they discover and acknowledge their own courage and growth as it spills out of them in this life.  This year (cause next year may find me in completely different place!) Father’s Day is a day to give thanks to Cory for being a decent dad and for mourning the kind of father he “could have been.” It’s also day for me to marvel at my children as they make their way in the world without a dad.

The one thing I hope for them for forever is that Father’s Day doesn’t scare them, doesn’t become a day to avoid.

I hope that Father’s Day becomes their independence day.

XOXO

April McManus