In six days it will have been one year since I lost my father. Those words echo within me as I write this and I wonder how the woman of more than a year ago might have felt if she’d known. If I could travel back in time, using pictures of the past as portals, I’d gather all of the photos of my younger self and tell her to be strong. I’d tell her to be prepared for the worst day of your life because it’s on the way. I’d probably even give her a hug because I know that she’ll need it.
There’s a picture on my desk of my dad and me. It’s about twenty years old and was taken at my dad’s house. He’s sitting in his recliner and I’ve snuggled up next to him, my arms around him and smiling at the camera. Dad is leaning back, eyes closed, his expression of pure contentment. As I look at myself, the person I was back then, I want to tell her to appreciate every single moment because it will all disappear in a flash. I also want to trade places with her so I can be that innocent young girl who knows nothing of pain. Then I’d make sure to tell my dad how much I love him every single day.
I tend to hide from the things that cause pain. Perhaps we all do to a certain extent. I’m in the NYC Midnight Short Story contest and we received our prompts last Friday. Ironically, my prompts were comedy, eulogy and thrill-seeker. The moment I saw the word eulogy, my brain screeched to a halt. I’m not sure whether it was coincidence or my father guiding the assignment, because he did have a sense of humor, but I haven’t been able to write anything. I’m frozen. I sit down in front of a computer or with my notebook and nothing comes to me.
This morning I realized why. When I write, I connect to the deepest part of myself. It’s the place where my true emotions reside. With the rapid approach of February 6th, I’ve put a barrier up and shut the shop down because I know this anniversary of death is coming whether I like it or not.
I’ve been told that it doesn’t get any easier. They’re right. It becomes manageable, most of the time. I go to work, clean my house, go out to dinner and talk to friends but the pain of loss is always there. I would give anything to pick up the phone and listen to his voice on the other side.
But, I’m made of sterner stuff than that. I’m not the type to dwell upon what I’ve lost. It’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward again. Maybe the contest was a nudge from up above; a reminder not only of what I’ve lost, but how much I’ve grown over the past year. Other than this past week, I’ve written each week for the Yeah Write weekly challenges, helped create an Anthology due to be released this week that has three (count them three!) of my stories inside and managed to keep moving through my everyday life at the same time.
I’ll always miss my dad. But I will write again because it gives me tremendous joy to watch a storyline grow into something that might make someone smile, cry or laugh. If I can make someone else feel, then the burden of loss is little bit lighter. Each story that flows from my heart is a child that I’ve created and nurtured for someone else’s enjoyment. Strangely enough, each child is also my father’s grandchild, and I plan on giving him plenty of them.
Love you, Pop.
This week’s post will also appear on the Yeah Write Non-Fiction weekly challenge. Click on the link to check out and vote for your favorites!