Six Months

Lizard Eater wrote last week about “Big C” day, about how some days cancer stays in the background and then other days, well, it is Big “C” cancer–when all focus must be on it.

I’m having a Big “D” day or would that be a Big “G” day.  Death.  Grief, in case you didn’t know it.

Today is six months since my dad died.  It’s not different than yesterday, so why today am I tearful and, thank God, working from home. 

A few weeks ago someone called our house looking for my dad.  We still get mail here for him, too.  It’s because he had to go the emergency room here once (for what?  not sure), and used our address and phone number.  Made sense at the time, but …   Eldest daughter answered the phone and handled it well … ish.  Then got off the phone and asked “can I have permission to yell at the next person who calls here looking for Poppa?”

“Nope,” I said, and tried to pull her into a hug.  “They don’t know.  Can’t blame them.”

“Don’t they know that six months is a pivotal time for grieving?” she yelled at me.

Hubba-wha?  Where does my kid learn to use words like pivotal?  “Where’d you hear that?” I said, knowing full well that they probably covered it in her first high school summer class, “health.”

Well, I told her after she vented for a while, it still isn’t six months, so, no, you don’t get to yell at anyone.

“Is to,” she said and then we argued over the date of when he died and what month it was.

But now it is.  Six months.  And I go through my days like I’m supposed to, laundering and working and making sure kids have been to the orthodontist or the eye doctor or whatever is next.  I go to the grocery store mostly daily (perhaps this is part of my grieving process, as my dad seemed to do the same thing), and put gas in my vehicle and take the girls to get what they need for school and I even try to have fun on occasion.  But it’s there, in the background, always.  And today, today it came forward, and boy did it come forward. 

So today I’ll write this and move on, and do the work I’m supposed to be doing and listen as the men we hired to do so dismantle the bathroom over my head.  Today I’ll spend a minute or two being intentional about this grieving process and pay attention to the hurt that I carry, the hurt we all carry and sometimes allow to spill forth.  I just noticed a big old tear splash on my shirt.  At last.  At last.

We don’t get to hold it all in all the time, do we?  Nor were we meant to.  We are meant to carry on, but never as we were “before.”  Stoicism is great for rocks and sticks, but we who love and lose are meant to feel the burden as well as the joy of that, are we not?  Just sometimes more acutely.  And that’s to be expected, too.

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About TinaLBPorter

I write poetry and blog at www.tinalbporter.com. And I'm thrilled to be writing with you.
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8 Responses to Six Months

  1. Jerry Boyd says:

    UUMomma,
    It has been over a year since I have visited your blog. I’m a guy, a gay guy, but nevertheless a guy, and we know from stoicism, being a good sport, and all those manly rules for being a man. After my best friend of 18 years died of AIDS in October of 1995, I finally, at the age of 49, confronted grief and deep loss. A few months later my father died and I was emotionally numb from the double whammy for 2 years. Even though I cried and cried, mostly in the shower where the warm water tried to carry my grief away, I too was sometimes blindsided by tears seemingly out of nowhere. (It is rough when a song on the radio while you are driving makes you cry, hard to see the road sometimes.) I also had vivid dreams of my friend in which I tried to talk to him but he would not or could not talk to me and we replayed our parting over and over again. My father was a different loss, from my viewpoint we had a difficult relationship. I explored both losses by writing about them. It definitely helped me get to some kind of closure.
    But one of the things I noticed about finally opening my heart to such profound grief, was that my grief was not only specific to me, it was linked to all the losses of all the people on earth, maybe all the people who had ever lived and suffered the loss of a dear one. I cherish that openness to grief, it means I’m fully alive and not living a stunted emotional life like I was before. I allow myself to tap into that grief when it happens, even though I still don’t relish having it happen in public. (I did sob silently in the theater when Leonardo DiCaprio froze in the icy waters of the north Atlantic, but I wasn’t alone.)
    I really just wanted to say that I think you are doing a terrific job with your grieving. Just be aware that grief is woven into the tapestry of everyone’s life. No, that doesn’t make it hurt less, but it might make it more bearable.
    Have you ever notinced that tears of joy also feel painful?

    Best regards, Jerry Boyd

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  2. Pingback: Grieving « yoga gumbo

  3. Yogamum says:

    It will be six months since I lost my dad at the end of this month. I hadn’t realized it until now. Gosh, six months *sounds* like a long time but feels so very short.

    Love and hugs to you!

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  4. uuMomma says:

    Thanks to all of you. Hugs to Jackie and Laura.

    I wrote this, then went to get the mail and there was a letter from the Hospice group, helping me through the grief process. This all helps. Crying, too. Thanks once more and I will hold you all in my thoughts, as well.

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  5. Holding you in my thoughts, Momma (and you too, Jackie) – There is no timeline, and no “orderly progression” to grief. It’s been 11 years since my dad died – and I was blindsided by grief & tears at odd moments for years. We were blessed to have dads we loved, miss and grieve for…

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  6. laura says:

    My dear, lovely grandma died in December, and I didn’t cry or mourn at all for months… well, not much, anyway. I loved her so passionately that I gave a sermon in church five years ago listing her as the hero of my life. She truly was. I have never met a more extraordinary person, and the love I felt for her rivals that I feel for my husband. Her death was hard, though completely expected… and she and I had long before said our goodbyes and gotten on with the business of living and dying, seeing them as natural processes and very pragmatic things.

    Then came the day of her birthday this year (May 23) … and all of a sudden I couldn’t function… I curled up in bed and just wailed like I haven’t wailed in years. Heaving, hiccuping sobs. It continued all day long, well into the night.

    Now? I mourn, I laugh, I giggle – and I cry still. Her house sold a month ago, and that was *really* hard… and I will likely never go to her home town again for so many reasons. It’s just too difficult to handle.

    I understand your pain and love and how difficult it is to move forward, especially when you are still getting calls for him. It just opens fresh wounds you are trying so hard to come to grips with. Milestones are hard, too. Good heavens, milestones are *so* hard.

    I will hold you in my thoughts, and hope you find peace.

    Much love, Laura

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  7. jacqueline says:

    The 10th will be four months since I lost my dad. It is mind numbing. My friend, and hospice social worker, called last week to check in. I just lost it. I miss my dad every single day. I wake up and can’t believe he is dead. There is no replacing a fierce love like that. Most days I am fine and the tears well up only so often.

    Stoicism sucks. I hate that people avoid me at church picnics because they don’t know what to say. I hate that mostly I cry alone in the shower because I don’t want to make it a big deal. I hate that we are supposed to be on some timeline.

    Losing people is hard and crying about it is normal. Crying for a long time is normal. Yeah, we go on with our lives, but there is a puzzle piece missing and we will keep looking for it forever… and that is ok.

    Love to you. – Jackie

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  8. Lizard Eater says:

    Sob. Hard as you can. Wail, if possible. Hug your knees to your chest and rock. Have a big pile of kleenex or if you’re like me, and there’s never kleenex in the house, a big roll of toilet paper. Cry til your eyes are swollen and you have to breathe out of your mouth.

    It’ll be worth it.

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