Three weeks, one day

Three weeks, one day.

These days, I measure the passage of time based on my father’s passing. In these subsequent 22 days since his death, grief has taken its place in my life like a shadow. My only real reprieve is for a few hours of work each day when I’m so immersed in the crazy world of employee relations that I can compartmentalize my pain.

The rest of the time, I am amazed at how fast I can go from being fine one second to crying the very next. It doesn’t take much. Yesterday, it was because I was putting pictures of Dad in frames. Today, it was because I found a birthday card – wholly inappropriate but hilarious – while going through stuff to prepare for our yard sale. I remembered getting a call from my mom before the card arrived with the warning: “When you get that card, just know that your Dad picked it out. I would have never gotten you a card like that!”

I have also discovered that I’m tired of condolences. I don’t want to sound unappreciative because the outpouring of support has been lovely, but a simple “I’m so sorry about your dad” is all it takes to make me bawl. And then there are people whose motivations I question. Case in point: this gentleman that Tim doesn’t know called to say he heard about my father, wanted to give his condolences, and that he and Tim met at a previous real estate event. He then began to ramble about religious things and Tim basically tuned him out once he started talking about Lazarus rising from the dead. That was last week, and then the guy (who Tim STILL can’t recall at all) reaches out this week because he wants to stop by our house. No. It’s obvious that it’s going to be some type of religious invitation/high pressure sales pitch and we don’t want those uncomfortable conversations in our home.

So I’m muddling by. Every morning I make myself get out of bed, get dressed, and face the sunlight, even as a weight the size of a truck presses against my heart. I’m still getting groceries and cleaning my house. I’m still making challah and lighting my Shabbat candles. We even made it official and finally joined the shul where we have been attending Shabbat services. We really are both trying to do the whole “living” thing, even if every step is painful.

I’m aware that grief will linger and that it will be months, if not longer, before this burning ball of tears at the back of my throat finally dissolves for good. I’m aware that a heavy wave of sadness permeates from me. I’m aware that I’m probably not a pleasant person to be around.

I can’t help it. I don’t actually care right now. I miss my dad with every breath I take, and for the first time in my life, I’m homesick for a person and not a place.



6 thoughts on “Three weeks, one day

  1. Rachel,
    I lost my mother when I was 26 and my father at 36, three days after I found out I was pregnant. I am now going to be 58 and although it gets easier after all these years and you trade the recent memories of I should’ve done, if only I had, I wish he, I could’ve been, with the memories that will make you smile, it is unfortunately always a part of who you are now.
    The is no magic that will help you through this period. It will take years to understand why and sometimes there is no answer. You learn to live with the regrets and the wishing he could see the other milestones in your life that he will miss.
    You will learn that there are reasons for things you will never understand and that as you and your parents get older the roles change where you became the parent and they became the child.
    You will try to put things in perspective and come back time and again to the realization the first man you ever loved is gone.
    Although many people would disagree with my views I believe that the people you loved that are no longer here are still with you. Right now your heart is broken and only time will fix that. Your broken heart will be whole again. Because you will know instinctively that when it mends your dad will be able to live in that part of your heart with you. You will realize that he really never left you.
    In time your heart and your mind will make thinking of him less painful. Do not rush through this, take as much time that is needed.
    The one thing that helped me was something a friend at the time said to me. I had just given birth to my daughter. I was in my room alone and she was in the nursery when my friend stopped shortly after her arrival. I called the nurses station and asked them to bring her in so my friend could see her. They brought her in and my friend picked her up out of her little plastic bassinet. I burst into to tears. My friend asked what was wrong. My reply was I really wished my mom were her to meet her. Her reply was so comforting right at that moment. She said, she already has. She met her before she was born. They already know each other.
    My heart goes out to you. When you think of him just know you were loved by him. That’s what’s important.
    Thinking of you.

  2. People find it so difficult to know what to say to someone who is grieving. Even those of us who have been thru our own grief over the loss of a loved one have trouble knowing what to say. “I’m sorry” never feels like enough. I can’t remember how many times I simply responded, “Thank you” when I really wanted to say, “Sorry isn’t enough.”

    Losing my son was by far, the hardest I ever grieved. I wish I could say I grieve no longer, but grief is tricky. Sometimes it sneaks in when least expected.

    I wrote a blog post 2 years after the death of my son I go back and read it periodically because the crossroads of life have a way of pulling grief to the surface.

    Time helps heal a grieving heart. Listening ears (or reading eyes) also help.

    • Thank you for sharing, although I’m deeply sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine. You actually reflected on a lot of what my mom and I have been talking about. Those “crossroads” or firsts that we’ll have to deal with minus dad. My dad-shaped hole is still very raw, but your post gives me hope that someday, who knows when, I’ll feel better. Thank you.

  3. I got this in my email a couple of days ago and I wanted to wait, till I had a nice quiet moment to read it through, fully and completely…. and so here I am.

    August 28th will 38 years since mi mama passed. I was just a little girl, and sometimes it still feels like it was just yesterday. To this day, the strangest things will make me bawl, tear… that never stops. Reading your post, yeah, made me cry. It made me miss my mother.

    But here’s the good news: sometimes, the weirdest thing will also remind me of mi mama and I’ll find myself laughing out loud! Sometimes, I smile or giggle just because of the thought of her…. and that never ends either.

    I am sending you some good vibes and lots of positive energy. No one can walk you through this part, but you will be okay because your father needs you to be. Clearly you loved him and he loved you. And in all that love is so much joy. And even if it hurts a bit right now to miss him, to not be able to see him, you’ll feel it soon enough that he lives through you — just like mi mama lives through me — and it’ll be okay. I promise.

    I’m now smiling as I write this — because in this moment, I’m remembering my mom and how after all these years, she’s still the amazing light in my life.


    • Thank you. I have had a few moments in the last few days where my husband will say, “Remember when Dad did…” followed by a ridiculous story of something my dad said and did. And then we’ll both laugh because he was a funny, quirky man. I still end up crying at the end, but there are usually tears AND smiles, which is a weird combination. I’m SO sorry that you lost your mom at a young age and had to grow up without her, but I appreciate your advice. I know you’re right. I’m hoping the laughter comes more and more as time passes. Dad wouldn’t want me to be sad.

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