Eleven Years Ago

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I buried my father eleven years ago today. It is the exact day; a cold Sunday that seemed to go on forever. When a funeral home employee pulled me aside that day and asked me to identify the body, I tried holding my brother back, in an attempt to shield him from what I’d just seen. It was not a peaceful image, and it still haunts me to some extent.  

So YES, the holidays are hard, even though Chanukah and Yule are over. Minimal celebration was had this year. It was as if I didn’t exist and YES, THAT HURT.

Eleven years ago, I eulogized my father in front of family and friends (Many of his coworkers attended, and we were quite surprised to discover how loved my father was. At the end of the service, one woman came up to me to tell me how much I meant to him; how he always lit up whenever I would call him. It was hard to compartmentalize the information at the time, and it’s hard now, too.), and his nieces, nephews, great niece, and great nephews didn’t even bother to show up. 😡 They didn’t call, didn’t send a card, and they didn’t acknowledge what my mother, brother, and I were going through. My mother’s extended family was not much better. When someone is more interested in their spin class instead of the death of a family member, I should be permitted to shoot them in the ass, thus making spin class unnecessary.

The family member who called the night of my father’s funeral and told me “G-d isn’t ready for your mother yet.” 😲😡 #InsensitiveAF I don’t think I’ll EVER be able to forgive her for putting that message out into the Universe, because five months later, I had to return and do the whole thing all over again. She offered to be there for me after the fact, but after a few months, I soon realized her guilt taught her nothing and my contact with her ended. 

We knew my father was dying. It was not a secret. He had terminal cancer. I began writing the eulogy in late September, and I finalized it around 2:00 a.m. the morning of the funeral service. With my Mom, it was so unexpected for me that I wrote everything at the last minute. I’m not really sure how I got through either eulogy, but I remember reading them and trying to emotionally detach.   

The holidays are hard for so many people, all for different reasons.

I’m SO PROUD of my amazing friends who baked for people who are suffering so they wouldn’t feel alone or be forgotten, those who passed over time with family in order to help feed the homeless, those who participated in charity fundraisers to help those in need, those who sponsored families to ensure there would be gifts, food, and necessities, and those who donated their birthdays this month to raise money for worthy charities.

Today, I’m trying not to revisit the pain. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check because I KNOW I’m still angry. I also know I have every right to be. My feelings are valid.

Check on your strong friends these next few weeks. Sometimes, the holidays shatter our lives. It may not be permanent, but right now, it certainly feels that way. 😦

I’m okay-ish, but I’m not good. I don’t think people who haven’t experienced loss quite like I have are able to fully understand what it takes each day to get out of bed and live. I know so many people who have never been to a funeral or lost anyone. They have Great-Great-Grandparents who are still alive (which is pretty amazing, when you think about it.)! Their naivete is unbelievable, but hopefully they will understand at some point. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone, but I do worry about those who lack empathy and compassion. Where is their humanity?!

Today, I got to relive the horror of what my brother and I have been through. Our text messages to each other were short, simple, and impersonal, neither one bringing the subject up. I know we’re both thinking it, though. I know it is too hard for him to fully focus on, so I take up the responsibility. We’re as different as we are alike, but last year he told me “You are the best of both Mom and Dad. You inherited all their goodness.” I was so stunned by his comment, and now it just makes me wonder because I’d never use the word “good” to describe myself. Perhaps he sees something I don’t. In many respects, I am my own worst critic.

If it wasn’t for medication prescribed for Complex PTSD, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the holidays. I’m barely keeping it together, but my brother’s words… They kind of stick in the back of my mind. I have witnessed so much goodness in him, so I think he might be overestimating me in some capacity.

Regardless, this is rough day for me. The fact that I’ve had a migraine since last weekend hasn’t made things better, either. C’est la vie. Somehow, we survive specific life experiences and we move on, but I’m far from healed. That’s been part of my focus this year; learning how to heal.    

copyright 2018 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All written work may not be re-posted anywhere without express written consent from the author. This authors’ work and personal photos are protected under United States and International copyright laws. Additional protection is covered under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  

 

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