Sorry I have been gone for an entire month (give or take a few weeks) but things were happening and I just could only focus on so many things at a time…and then I realized it was “that” day again. My caregiving days have been over for four years for my mother and nine years for my dad but those memories and scars still linger to this moment; they will never go away, they just get less painful as time goes on. In preparation for some remodeling I have been girding up my loins and going through the house getting rid of things that either needed to be donated or just thrown away.
Let’s just say the big trash can was very very heavy by the time I was through. A couple of the boxes I went through and consolidated into one contained things that belonged to both of my parents. I was actually able to get rid of some more things this year. Right after they passed away I clung to their belongings as if through them I would have some psychic link or something like that with them. I didn’t want to totally let go – I felt that it would be callous of me if I did. But that is just another stage of grieving and eventually as time has gone by I have gotten rid of more and more of their belongings…but I will never get rid of it all.
I’ve gotten much better with feeling blue when it’s their birthdays, certain holidays, and the days they left this world. I still cry a bit and there are often big sighs as I look at their pictures but then I get back to the here and now and acknowledge that life goes on. This time I almost forgot it was the day that I watched as my father’s spirit departed his body (yes! I’m pretty sure I saw that happen!) If it hadn’t been for something someone else posted about hurricane Katrina I think I might have let the day slip entirely.
Dad was in ICU on life support as the news covered that horrible event of Katrina and it’s aftermath. I cannot separate the two in my head anymore; they are entwined with each other forever. But it all came back to me as I was rummaging through the boxes and decided what stayed and what went. For someone who often forgets where she put her keys and you don’t want to know about how many times I forget where I left my phone, as I went through their belongings I could remember where things came from, when I gave them to them, and where they were placed in their rooms at their nursing/veterans homes. Funny how memories can be, huh?
And then there was this one plaid shirt that belonged to daddy. I looked at it, saw my handwriting in the collar of it to help the laundry room folks know who it better come back to, and then it was put it in the throw away pile. By the time I was satisfied that I had culled the herd enough for this year and was getting ready to put “their” box back into storage, I had this pulling sensation inside that whispered to me that I needed to keep the shirt. I picked it up and held it for a minute before I realized that this had been a favorite shirt of his before he took ill. In the box it went.
A couple of days later I was going through some old photo albums taking cell phone pictures of some of the photos to send to my son. He loved the ones I sent him of him with his grandparents when he was a child. And then there it was! A photo that I had totally forgotten about. It was my dad, my son, and some other relatives sitting around in the living room playing a game and guess what dad was wearing? That same plaid shirt I almost threw out! All I could do was close the album, put it away carefully, and cry. I’m so glad that I didn’t throw that shirt away. Maybe one day I will but not this time – not this year.
You are still missed and will always be loved, daddy.