It is true that everyone grieves in their own special way. I think it is obvious, by now, what approach I have in my road toward mental health - writing. But let’s all be honest, this is how I’ve always processed through things in my life.
For the most part of this, I have been able to accept things for where they are at. My dad and I , right now, have a beautifully close relationship. I tell everyone, “I now get my dad, the best parts of him, next to me at all times”. I truly believe that.
Call it “woo woo”.
Call it delusional.
That’s fine - you’re entitled to your opinion.
There are just too many people that I have heard from who say they have become closer to their loved one, after they passed. For those people, I believe that I am might be on the right track.
What never fails to derail me, though, is seeing his obituary photo. That is the #1 cause for me to spiral. Immediately, I find myself right back in a hot shower (my ”no anxiety allowed” place) and asking, “Hey Dad, you’re still with me right?”.
I get my answer and I am back, on my way.
The problem with the photo? That man is not the human that I encountered during his last week. The smile and life behind my dad’s eyes is absolutely everything that he is and not what he was in the end.
By the way, this is where I applaud my uncle for choosing such a perfect photo, of my father. It’s like an actor’s performance that leaves you truly believing they are that person. My Uncle Glenn should just be a professional obituary photo picker-outer.
In that photo of my father, I realize that is truly who I saw take his last breath. I am reminded, that healthy man was indeed the person I stuffed down every last piece of my emotions for, just so I could plead with him to leave this world. I realize that man’s hand is the hand I held, that head is the head I kissed, and those eyes are the eyes I begged to look into mine - so when he woke up with fear on his face, thinking he had already passed, he had a soft visual to land upon.
I understand that not every one person feels this way, and maybe those postings are comforting - but, it makes me never want to share another person’s obituary on my social media, ever again.
Okay, maybe my band-aid isn’t totally torn off yet and you may argue that I need to actually look into that face so that I may accept the “reality” of my situation.
I ask you, why? Why do I need to accept a reality that I saw in front of my eyes? I know damn well that he is totally gone. I saw it. But, seeing him in a casket, or being slowly lowered into the ground - that is where I needed to draw my line, and frantically scroll past that photo of him in his obituary.
I am not here to say that you shouldn’t post those types of things. If you’ve found yourself as one of the people who posted, I truly believe in you seeking your own healing - regardless of how I or any of my loved ones react.
I just know my personal limitations.
In those limitations though, I am reminded of my father always telling me, “Canni, you’re like an ostrich with your head in the sand.”
Maybe in this case, yes.
However, I allow myself to live life in peace, with my father next to me, because I haven’t subjected my mind in putting his everything into that ground. For in that moment the color left his face, all bets were off. My dad was no longer there, and he immediately started to forge my path forward.
So why in hell would I want to rob myself of the blessing that has been put upon my life to lead me?
Forward I march, dodging that photo of my father. Maybe one day I can look at it. But until then, the video below is the man who walks beside me every moment.
This is the whistle that I hear when I walk through my home - aimlessly, still in shock.
And these are the memories that I don’t want to lose because I “should” process the way you think I should.
This is what I choose to remember.