February for 14 Years

I know I haven't said anything here lately, but the only things I have to say are things I don't want to write about, things I don't want to think about.

February is really hard on me. I talked to Sis tonight and we agreed that it just seems to get harder every year. 

On February 10, 1994 my dad died of a massive heart attack. I still remember how that morning felt even though I don't remember most of what happened between the 10th and the funeral on the 14th. It was cold. It was the coldest I've ever been and I can still feel the shivers in my stomach as we climbed into the car at 4 am to go to the hospital. I feel it everytime I get cold. I think about that morning every time I get into a cold car. The rest of the day, I can't really recall, but I remember how cold I was.

For the last fourteen years I've tried to find the silver lining in that black cloud. I have tried to make myself believe that I am a better person because of it and, while I believe that I am the sum of my experiences, I wonder about my life if I still had a dad. How bad could that really be?

I looked around and saw everybody crying in 1994 and decided that I need to be the one who wasn't and I don't think I ever really realized how hard that would be. I'm tired now. I don't really want to keep it up, but I don't necessarily know how to give it up either. 

Part of me hates to say this stuff, but I also don't want to avoid what I'm feeling. 

I miss him terribly. I don't know that I've admittted that to myself really, but it's true. I realized that this week. I miss being loved by my father. A lot. 

There's nothing I can do to get that back and it breaks my heart. For fourteen years it's broken my heart and I think it always will. 

Grandma Rosie died in 1997 and I remember the feeling when I realized she was going to die. I left her hospital room and felt my heart break. I mean that literally. I could feel it. My heart broke for losing her, but all the more because this time I knew what death meant. I never knew that someone would just stop being in my life before my dad died. Do you know what that's like? I truthfully pray that you don't.

And how is a person supposed to deal with that? Please don't really answer that one. As well-intentioned as your response will be, it'll be offensive to me. So, it's probably best to consider the question rhetorical. After all, I'm not really looking for advice or your approval of my emotions. I just want to say what's on my mind.

Then Aunt Che died in 2002. I've been thinking about her lately, too. She was really sick when she died and I prayed for her a lot.

I prayed for her to die. I thought that was the only way for her to be healed. I thought it was the only way that she could be free and happy.

I wish I could have had enough faith to believe she could be healed, but I didn't. That makes me sad. I remember thinking that maybe people would just keep dieing until I got it right; that it was all a test to see if I could learn the lessons of life.

I thought I had it right that time. I thought that by accepting her death before the fact and being unselfish enough to put her needs first - and in fact pray for death which would be hard on us, but freeing for her - that I had done it right.

I don't really want to go into it too much, but I thought I'd share it, too, while I'm being open and honest.

Please don't comment on this one either. If you've never been in this position, I don't want to hear your trite reminders about the nature of God. I have no need to hear from inexperienced theologians, thank you.

But, thanks for reading it anyways. 



Yes, that Cristi said...

i did read it, and i am crying. hopefully we are crying together.

Jason said...

Following my parents divorce (I was 12) my mother met a man named Michael, who she seemed to genuinely love, and together they quickly planned to marry. While the divorce had been somewhat of an emotional blow to me, the truth is my mother's fiancé was everything my father wasn't: affectionate, determined, goal-oriented, and successful. He was meeting my emotional needs in a powerful way, and my mother seemed happy for the first time. I remember consciously deciding (and there's no way for me to overstate the significance of this) that I would consider him to be my father, thereby rejecting my own father, and I looked forward to a better future with him.

Then, just a few months before the wedding, at the age of 34, Michael died of a heart attack. This emotionally devastated my mother and me, and immediately threw us into instability. For the next year or so we lived a difficult and almost transient life, moving from house to house, taking on roommates, and transferring schools.

We eventually landed on our feet. And although this period marks one of the most difficult times for me, it was the most strategically important. For the brief period that Michael was part of our lives I felt empowered for the first time (my own father was never able to instill this). He exuded a posture of discipline and determination, and furthermore, seemed genuinely impressed with me and convinced that I could accomplish anything I wanted.

I believed him. I developed a sense of destiny about my own success. With him, I thought I could do anything. This conviction continued in an amplified way for a brief period after Michael's death (a kind of personal epitaph to his memory), but soon subsided.

So...while there are certainly some positive outcomes from this part of my life, ultimately I've concluded that my needs could have been better met if Michael had not died. While I think I'm a better person for having known Michael, I honestly don't think I'm a better person for having been through his loss. Whatever benefits I have gained from knowing him for a brief time, and suffering his death, are overshadowed by the benefits I would have gained by having Michael as a consistent, long-term fathering presence.

So I guess what I'm saying is, I agree with you.

I'm convinced that while God may be able to weave together the elements of this tragedy in my life to work out some kind of residual good (an idea I affirm), the fact remains that death itself is evil - even when it represents the most compassionate remaining option (relatively speaking), and even when it represents, as it once and for all did, the means of the greatest good of all.

Death is evil. No amount of well-intentioned platitudes can ever make it otherwise.

Sorry if I offended you.

rdmeeker said...

Thanks for the comment, Cristi.

Jason, for the record, I consider you a professional theologian, so no offense.

Seriously, though, Thank you for reminding me that death is evil. Sometimes, I forget that very simple fact and instead consider it a natural and normal part of life.

Thanks for what you said.

Tammy said...

close your eyes, feel my arms enfolding you and I'm holding you tight. I love you!

Nikki said...

I am thinking of you. I love and miss you!

Kate said...

I really miss you.
I wish I could be there.
You aren't alone!
I love you

Anonymous said...

I have no words other than we love you.


Aimee said...

I'm only responding to let you know I'm here for you (and Ang and the wee one).

I don't want to offer any stories or tell you that I understand. I'm just here. Listening.

Death hurts. 1993, 1998, 2006. No matter how many years go by, I miss them all. I think you know what I mean. And I hope I didn't offend or hurt you by saying so.