Remember Me?

 

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Remember me?

Five months ago my father died after a lengthy illness.

Remember that?  

Sure you do. I mean he was sick for seven years.  You floated in and out of our epic battle like a plastic bag floating in the wind.  When it became obvious that Dad was dying your visits became more frequent, your unsolicited assessments irritating and monotonous. When Dad died you vanished like a thief in the night. Which is confusing because you really had me fooled.  I have to be totally honest, I really held you to a much higher standard.

Remember me?

In case you forgot, Dad died after a gruesome battle  with cancer.  I was given a front row seat for seven years.  I watched my real life super hero transform from a healthy, vibrant man to a very frail individual.  I am haunted by his screams and his cries for Jesus to take him.  I am haunted that he died unable to eat a morsel of food or drink an ounce of liquid. I am haunted that the last four years of his life was spent with us eating in front of him knowing he was quietly watching, praying to regain his ability to eat just one more time.  I am haunted that during the last days of his life I had to suction gunks of saliva out of his mouth so he would not choke to death.  I am haunted that his cancer prevented me from quenching his thirst on his deathbed when he asked me for a sip of water.

Remember him?

My father was the funniest, most outrageous, most loving soul you ever met. He was also extremely kind, highly intuitive and unbelievably wise.

Remember him?

You claim that you enjoyed his company and “loved” him, so I am compelled to ask you this.  Do you believe that your grief outranks his immediate family?  The people who now have a massive void in his home.  Do you think your grief is more significant than his widow of 44 years, the woman who was his primary caregiver and handled the most private affairs for him? Do you think your grief dominates the children who share his DNA and cry for their father?  The children he raised since birth, the children whom he adored and they adored him back?

Remember us?

I must confess, I’m truly baffled by your behavior.  I’m not dismissing your pain and grief, I’m just questioning your actions.  Perhaps our grief is too overwhelming for you and our pain makes you feel uncomfortable.  Sorry not sorry, our family is mourning the loss our hero, the man who played the leading role in our family.  We are uncomfortable all the time now, it’s the new normal for us.

Remember us?

Someday something will remind you of Dad and his family.  Someone will ask you how we are doing.  What will you say?  How will you spin this? Will you tell them we are so grief-stricken that we have lost our minds? Or will you tell them the truth?  They say the truth will set you free.

Remember us?

I lost a prominent figure in my life, the patriarch of my family. They say as time goes on the sting won’t be as bad. But I wouldn’t know as its only been five months. I have read what has happened between us is referred to as “secondary loss.” Quite frankly, it is very disappointing. One of my Dad’s all time favorite sayings was, “family first.”

Remember him?

Now this is the part of my letter where everyone expects me to say it’s okay and I’ll forgive you. But I cannot do that.  My grief has heightened my senses and opened my eyes.

Remember me?

Like here’s the thing, I’m surviving all these horrific firsts and where the hell are you?  I recently spent my first Father’s Day in my entire life without seeing my Dad, without hugging him and telling him how much I adore him.  There are moments when I have to hold my chest because the pain is so devastating. Sometimes something as basic as putting sugar in my coffee strikes a nerve and I’m hurled into the ebb and flow of my grief and sorrow.  All because I put sugar in my coffee, and a silly little memory popped into my head.

Remember me?

I thank God everyday for the countless friends and family reaching out to make sure we are surviving our horrific, dreaded firsts. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries now all come with an emotional roller coaster.  Father’s Day really sucked.  You should have made contact, but you didn’t.  The past five months have had so many horrifying firsts for our family, we survived each one, without you.

Remember me?

At this very moment, I’m having a very  difficult time letting go of the fact that my father’s death has morphed you into a coward.  Some people will argue that you have not experienced loss and are not capable of understanding grief, but I say that’s rubbish.  You sobbed crocodile tears when Dad passed, and vanished like a thief in the night when his family needed you.

Remember me?

My grief has opened my eyes and closed parts of my heart.  I do have some good news for you.  Despite all this, I wish you happiness and I wish you well.

Signed,

A Disappointed Grieving Daughter

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