Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How I Am

It’s impossible to tell someone what it’s like to have someone close to you die without warning. One day they are there. The next day they are gone. Forever.

It’s been 8 months since my Dad died while skiing in Colorado. How bad did it hurt to lose him? Wow. It was so painful, I could literally feel my heart breaking. The grief was unbelievably intense. I really thought our lives were ruined. We were a very close family - how could we go on with one of us missing? I remember telling my mom during one of my breakdowns, “I CANNOT DO THIS! I CANNOT DO THIS!” And I really thought that I couldn’t.

I went through the “It’s not fair” stage. It’s not fair that Three and Green don’t have their Grandpa here to watch them grow up. It’s not fair that Dad won’t know any of this other grandkids that may come along. It’s not fair that he didn’t get to retire. It’s not fair that mom has to be a widow at 55 years of age. Everything about it was not fair.

I went through the “mad” stage. Why didn’t he know that someone with high blood pressure should not be skiing in Colorado? I had been looking at renting a place in Nebraska that week so we could meet my brothers half way instead of Mom and Dad going to CO. Why hadn’t I pushed that idea? There are millions of people on this planet who do nothing to take care of their health. Why don’t those people die instead of people like my dad, who always exercised and was keeping an eye on his blood pressure and cholesterol?

I’m done with those stages.

Now I can say honestly say that I’m doing ok. On the one hand, I feel horribly guilty about that. I’m afraid it appears to others that I didn’t care about him and really don’t miss him. Nothing could be further from the truth. You just learn to deal with it because there is no other option. Dad would want us to be happy. Everyone always says that, but I put myself in that situation: If I were to die, I would not want my death to ruin the lives of Pool Boy, Three or Green. I would want them to smile and laugh about all the fun we had together. I would want my family to continue to live as we did before – playing sports, going on family vacations, staying up too late on weekends nights, cleaning their rooms, taking out the trash. Life has to go on, whether we want it to or not. My death would be tragic enough – I would not want to see their lives ruined from it because that would be another unnecessary tragedy. My Dad would feel exactly the same.

This will be my last post before Christmas. Hold your family and friends close all the time, especially during the holiday season. May you find the joy in life and continually strive to make this world a better place. Peace to all of you.