Saturday, June 19, 2010

father's day

you are never easy. you sneak up on me when i am alone to remind me why i am alone...while everyone else is celebrating father's day and i am not.

my dad passed away eighteen years ago. i dont talk about it a lot, because i'm not sure what to say. i still hate having that initial conversation when someone finally acknowledges that i never mention my dad. i preface my explanation with: i was four, almost five years old, so it was a long time ago. i say that to assure the person, and myself for the thousandth time, that it doesnt hurt anymore. then the next inevitable and painful question comes, "how did he die?" i've never learned the right delivery for this answer. do i pause before i tell this person the truth? do i just rapidly spew it out? i dont know. i dont know! but then i answer: a drug overdose. i feel small and helpless immediately after. i want to explain to them that i understand his choices, or at least the explanation of those choices. i want them to unconditionally love my dad just like i do, even though he made a mistake.

a brave or curious person will ask me if i remember him very much. and i do, i so do. "it's a blessing and a curse," i add always feeling shamefully cliche. i shouldnt reduce my dad's memories to a cliche. but i do remember him, and it makes it hard.

father's day and the anniversary of his death sneak up on me like a sickness. at first it's a subtle tickle in my throat and i wonder what is wrong with me? i grow increasingly sad for what i think is no good reason. then one night it haunts me in my dreams. i see my dad, dream the same haunting dream i had after his death for years. as i grew older, the dream frequented me less, but it never left my subconscious. then the tickle in my throat becomes a fever, then chills, then i cant get out of bed and im down for the count.

the illness traps me and i am a four-year-old girl again. i am hiding tears from my mom alone in my room. she cant know it hurts this much. i am calling to the moon because that's where heaven is, right? and just because he died of a drug overdose doesnt mean he didnt go to heaven, right? and even if he is gone, i can still be the proverbial apple of his eye, right?

i was a daddy's girl. and i still claim that title.

these days dont come at me with grace. rather they shake and shock me to remind me i am just a daddy's-girl who lost her dad. and while im convinced i am a strong woman -- sometimes, these times, this time i am a delicate little girl and i miss my dad.