I am a writer, so my mind is always thinking and formulating new ideas: TV shows, movies, books, poems and posts. People have told me for years that they would love to be inside my brain, even if for a day. Honestly, if that were possible, people would learn about every celebrity on planet Earth and wonder how a 16-year old could write about the topics that I write about.
I do my very best thinking in the shower at night. There is just something calming about standing under the warm water that makes my brain want to work overtime. Oftentimes, I am thinking about my future. I cannot tell you how many times I have imagined being at the Emmys or Oscars and what I would say in my acceptance speech. Would I be boring like everyone else and just thank people? Would I try to make people laugh? Or take a more heartwarming route and dedicate the award to my father? However, I also take time to reflect on my emotions and come to terms with my feelings.
The other day, I thought about dreams. To some, dreams may not be all that important, but for me they are the only ways that I get to see my father. I get to hear his voice, his laughter and spend time with him. A few months ago, the two of us were in a club together and he gave me a hug. I had no idea how much I craved his hugs, until I woke up in the morning and remembered that he is not real. I also realized that we go into our dreams looking the same way we do in real life. We are not older or younger than our current selves, so it is also the only time that my father gets to see me. He may not get to watch me grow in person, but a dream is better than nothing.
When you first experience a loss, you see no way out of the pain. You don’t think that there will come a time where the tears become less frequent and the agony does not sting as much. You may not believe me when I say that you will be okay, but you will. Take it from someone who used to get angry when a person would make that statement. Listening to people speak those words made me want to cringe, but they are true. You. Will. Be. Okay. I am not saying that the pain is going to leave you, but it will stop controlling your entire body. I did not notice that I was doing better until I took the time to examine my growth. If you look back at where you were when you first lost someone you loved, I think that you will be surprised at how far you have come. Even in the darkest of days, we can only move forward, not backward.
Lately, I have thought about the hardest part of this past year and a half. Sure, losing my father was difficult, but it was not the toughest nor the scariest. Because he only died once. I read somewhere that the hardest part of losing someone is actually learning how to live without them. It is accepting that you have to go on with a void in your heart that can never be filled. It is accepting that there was nothing you could have done to change the outcome. The scariest, though, is actually living without them. It is getting up in the morning and getting everything done that needs to be done. It is realizing that the person you lost is not coming back, but that you are still here. The only life my father took with him was his own.
I sat in my bed last night and I cried. I stared at my curtain and I talked to my father like I usually do when I am sad. I remember the tears as they fell from my eyes. In the midst of all that is going on in my life, I just wanted to hear his voice. I wanted him to reassure me that I would not forget the memories that we shared, and that he would not fade from my mind. I mentioned to my therapist that when my biggest fear came true, mini fears stemmed from that. I know that I got more time than some kids, but I also know that other kids will get another 30 years or more. Those people will go on to have children of their own, and their fathers will be around to be “Grandpa.” I realized very early on that my own children will only know my father though stories and moments that I remember. It haunts me.
I don’t normally ask things like this, but if anyone has lost a parent before they had their own children, how did you keep their memory alive? How did you cope with the reality that your child would never know your parent? I know I am a long way away from having children, but I was just curious.