I have always loved Christmas. I can’t ever remember it not being my absolute favorite holiday. What’s not to love? You get presents, food, candy, time with family, a week off from school (or a day from work) the smells are marvelous, the songs are cheery…. It is as if Christmas has the complete package.
But for the past couple of years Christmas just hasn’t been the same. I feel as if I have less Christmas joy and spirit. I’m sure most of it is what everyone else goes through. There’s the growing up factor (which includes Santa) then there is the fact that it seems repetitive, as if each year is a continuation from the previous, with the same songs and hassles. Of course, one must also not leave out the commercialization that comes with this glorious holiday. Instead of celebrating this day for what it is all about (the birth of the Savior, Jesus) it morphs into a day about buying and spending all the money you have on people you rarely ever speak to.
However, one real underlining reason as to why Christmas has lost its spark for me, is the loss of a loved one. Ever since losing my Dad, holidays haven’t been the same. It’s a strange feeling. You want to enjoy the season, but you are constantly bombarded with memories of when they were with you—and of how much better life seemed to be then. Whether it’s seeing Dads and their daughters Christmas shopping at the mall for Mom, or just going to church and singing Christmas carols, each time it feels as if my heart is breaking a little bit more.
Perhaps to most this sounds a bit melodramatic. I think it almost does to me as well…. I think my main problem has been that I have never really been able to talk about his death—or now that he’s gone I feel unable to talk about him at all. It may seem crazy, but it’s sadly true. The people that knew him live far away. My mom and sister don’t talk about it or him (or I fear to bring it up in because it seems to only upset them), and everyone else reacts so oddly to the subject. I feel as if I ever want to talk about him or his death to anyone they shut off—as if they don’t know how to handle me talking about a dead man, so they get quiet and pray that I quickly change the subject, when the truth is all I want to do is talk about him. I have gone six years without really doing so. Sure, I’ve brought up how he died or certain memories including him, but nothing of lasting conversation. And I hate that. Maybe it was my mistake not ever joining a support group, or something of that nature, to help me get by….. I’m glad that none of my friends have had to go through losing a parent, but I honestly just wish I could talk about him. But instead, I am left writing all of this down in a blog and sending it out into the internet world hoping that someone understands.
But does anyone understand?
After my parents became separated I started really getting to know my dad as a person—not just a parent. He and I became close and I considered him to be one of my best friends. We talked every night and I spent every Sunday for a year with him (which also helps to explain why Sundays can still be so hard for me). The thing is—he was number one in my life and I knew I was his. I never doubted his love for me, and I always knew that I was his number one person. I haven’t been anyone’s number one since, and I am scared that I never will be again.
For at least a month after he died I would call his home or cell phones just to hear his voice- perhaps a little pathetic, but this is me we are talking about.
It’s been six years and I still sometimes cry myself to sleep missing him. I had thought those feelings would subside by now. That all my grief would turn into fond memories and I’d miss him, but not this much—not like this. But my heart is still recovering.
Tonight all I could think about was the weekend of his death.
Thursday I hadn’t heard from him, but I let it go, thinking nothing of it. I would talk to him on Friday.
Friday I hung out with a friend of mine, and still had yet to hear from him. My friend told me not to worry, that she was sure he was fine. (But I knew it wasn’t.) And by the way, this is also why I HATE when people tell me that “everything will be ok” or “everything is fine” or whatever other variation. The truth is, you don’t know- so don’t assume. My mom, friend and I drove to his place after the movie that night. He didn’t answer the door, but his car was in its parking spot.
Saturday. I called him multiple times, never hearing anything.
Sunday. My dad didn’t pick me up from church like usual. I waited for him for over an hour, but he never came. Later I called my aunts to see if they knew anything. They told me they hadn’t heard from him and I could tell in their voices that they were worried, though they tried to hide it. By 11pm my mom decided to go check on him again. She made me pack my bags and go over to my best friend’s house to sleep over. The next day was the first day of high school and I needed to get ready for it. Although all I could think about was why my dad wasn’t there for me that day. We were suppose to have an end of the summer blow out, celebrating me going into high school.
I tried so hard to sleep that night. I was continuously tossing and turning though, picturing what might have happened to him. At 6 am on Monday, I heard a car door in my friend’s driveway. I knew it was my mom. And when my friend’s mom went outside to greet her and they stayed out there for what seemed like an eternity, I knew my worst fear had come true, yet I still wasn’t ready for it. When my mom walked in the door, her eyes were blood shot and swollen. She was trying so hard to put on a brave face to tell me the news. She sat me down at the kitchen table and then somehow found the words. “You’re dad is dead,” still haunt me. Dead. It’s such a harsh and straight to the point word.
I didn’t even cry when she told me. It felt like a nightmare and I was unable to comprehend what was racing throughout my head.
I spent my first week of high school in bed.
Later my mom told me more about that fateful night. She had called 911 before she left, so when she and my aunt arrived at my dad’s, the police and emt had already arrived and found him. When they checked his pockets, they found a note. At first, they thought it may have been a suicide note, but upon further inspection, they found that it was a note from me.
Every time I went to his place, I would leave notes all over his apartment, telling him thanks for lunch or thanks for hanging out with me, or reminding him that I thought he was the world’s greatest dad. I knew that he was sad and the little kid in me figured my notes would help him in some way. So it was one of those that he kept on him at all times, and it was one of those that he had on him that day.
I knew he loved me. And I know he knew I loved him. What hurts (besides the fact that I lost my number one) is that I never got to say goodbye. I don’t even remember our last conversation.