Nostalgia

I visited my parents’ house yesterday. I’ve been grief-stricken again lately about my dad. It’s about two years since it all began. I think there are not only conscious triggers but subconscious ones–a smell, particular weather, my car–that bring it all back. And that make me fear the future…fear for myself, and for my loved ones.

I oscillate between wanting to wrap myself in all my memories like a blanket and never leave, and wanting to get as far away as I can. Home was always my “safe” place–I would go there and be loved, and escape from whatever latest heartbreak, failure, or nastiness had happened. Now home is where my dad died. I don’t know how to feel any more. Maybe it will be good to move someday.

I don’t talk about my dad much, except on here. My husband is not really a sensitive person and I don’t know what I’d say. I’ve been churning with all this angst and grief and yearning and longing, and I just keep it inside me. I said for the first time yesterday that I was feeling a bit depressed and missed my dad. It was kind of a test balloon to see if it was safe to talk. But my husband sort of said “oh okay” and changed the subject. And so I was quiet again.

He didn’t really know my dad too well; we weren’t married very long when all this happened. My dad was a quiet person, too. That’s been hard…not having people to talk to, and just turning things over and over in my mind. I often wish I had a sister. Then I feel upset with myself for wishing because it’s not productive to wish things like that, and I understand how hard it must have been for my parents to raise me with no help and why I don’t have siblings. I don’t want my mom to feel guilty.

My daughter looks just like little me. Seeing her makes me miss my father so much. Not only do I think about what he would be doing with her and how much he would have enjoyed it, but I miss being little myself. I hate how life is a one-way street and I will never experience that time again–never experience being with my father again. I read some article the other day about parenting without parents, and it talked about how women are having kids later and later, and how one factor that nobody thinks about is how much their kids will miss out on by not having grandparents. I did think about this, especially as I never had grandparents. Two were dead and two were on the other side of the world in a time when there was no way of communicating. But despite my best efforts I married late, and my own parents had me late, and the combination means that my dad isn’t here. The article went on to say that those of us who have experienced loss parent differently. That we now know the horrible things that can happen in life and we feel afraid at every turn. That is very true in my case. Come to think of it, I guess it was also true for both of my parents, who experienced untimely losses early. They knew what I didn’t–how fragile life is.

Everything that was born has to die, and everyone has to experience it, and experience loss. It shouldn’t feel so bad; so unfair. But it does. I’m a different person than I was–I feel so bitter about what happened and that my dad is gone–and I feel guilty about feeling bitter too. Many people die much younger than my father did, and in much more prolonged and horrible ways.

In some ways the longer I live and the more I see, the more willing I feel to let go when my time comes. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be very old, with all of your peers already gone, your parents and peers gone, and your own health failing. Dad always said he didn’t want to live too much longer than eighty. I get it now. Wish I could tell him that.

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