Welcome to December's Use Your Words post. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked four to six words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words are:
holiday ~ celebrate ~ bittersweet ~ heavy ~ love
So, the moment I saw these words, I was like wow. I mean, if you think about my life these past few months, and you look at these words, you cannot help but see they are perfect for me. I normally like to have some plan for Use Your Words posts, and occasionally, I just kind of wing it. I am not necessarily going to wing this, but I am just going to write whatever comes to mind. These words really are perfect, for me to just write.
This holiday season, has been very bittersweet, but my desire to celebrate is at an all time high. I normally love this time of year, and this year is no different. What is different is me, and my heart, and my thoughts about life. My heart is still heavy, with the pain of losing my dad. I am already crying as I type this, and I am sure I will cry even more, as I go on.
I got a tattoo today, and as I was talking to the artist, I really got deep into my thoughts on the whole losing my dad thing. I told him that my dad and I had an unusual relationship. It was good and bad, all at once, and it was one of deep love, and at times some anger and hate. I never realized how deeply losing him would hurt. I never realized how deeply losing a parent could hurt. It makes me wonder what others experience, when they have even closer relationships than my dad and I. It must just be purely unbearable. I told him I have always felt deep sympathy for anyone who loses a parent, but I don't think I have felt enough sympathy. It is a worse pain, than I could have imagined.
As part of my faith, I believe there is an afterlife. My dad was far from perfect, but after much reflection over the past few months, I have to believe he is in a good place, and he is happy. He was at his core a good man. I wish I had spent the years focused on that, and not on grudges I held to so tightly. Losing him, made me realize the truly important things. Spoiler alert, the important things were all the things I did not focus on. Total missed opportunity.
I have always been stubborn and strong willed and a wild child. I like to live life on my own terms, and that has really led to me being far away from the people I love most. I am definitely a nomad. When I think about all these things about me, it is so obvious, that I get those from my dad. He was stubborn and a nomad and he lived life on his terms. I think us being so similar, led to us having many of the issues we had. Another part of it, was I born in the eighties and my dad was born in the forties. The life he grew up to and lived, was so vastly different that life in the eighties and nineties. I could not understand that, and I took thing more personally than I should have.
I think many of my dad's actions, were misunderstood by me. I genuinely think he did the best he could, with what life had taught him. He was from a different era entirely. His actions made perfect sense for that, and just did not fit into what I grew up learning from life, about how it should be. By the time I was born, my dad had nieces and nephews, that were grown. I did not grow up with my first cousins. I grew up with my second and third cousins. There was quite a gap between my dad and I. I understand things so different now. Being faced with the loss of him, really opened my eyes.
My dad always told me he loved me, but he was a man of few words. I guess, that led me to fill in the gaps myself, and honestly, I think I filled them in so wrong. I wish I had asked my dad so many more questions, than just thinking I knew what he was thinking and feeling. Lucky for me, though he was a man of few spoken words, he wrote quite a few. I have found every card and letter I ever wrote him. Though, he never mentioned them to me, or really replied ever, he actually took the time to write notes to me on them. Notes I found after he passed away, and I had to go through his stuff.
They really showed me my dad in a completely different light. A light I wish more than anything, I had seen while he was still here. I really failed him as a daughter. So badly failed him. He deserved so much better and so much more. I left miscommunication and misunderstandings guide our relationship. I wish I had spoken to him more. Asked more questions. I mean, we spoke constantly, but I always kept it very surface level. I have so many questions I wish I had asked.
It is funny, because if you had asked me where my dad stood, while he was alive, I would have said that he was my dad, and he gave me life, and things were complicated. Now, knowing what I do now, looking back, I would answer totally different. I would tell you he was my biggest fan. He was always there for me, whether I wanted it or not. He always had my back, even when I did not realize it. He loved me deeply, and he did the very best he could, with what he had.
It really stinks that I know all this now, and he is gone. I wish I knew it when he was still here, even if just long enough to have one conversation with him. One conversation, spoken with the knowledge I have now. The one really good thing that has come from this, is it has shown me the mistakes that can happen, between children and their parents. I am aware, and will do everything in my power, to make sure these same misunderstandings never happen with Gigi and I.
It just sucks, y'all. I wish I had better words to explain it, but I don't. This loss has been one of the biggest of my life, and it has hit me deeper than I knew possible. I am handling it as best I can. It is complicated and hard and frustrating and confusing and it hurts. I have really had to dig deep inside myself, and I am doing my best to cope. I have pulled very much back. As you probably noticed, I stopped interacting on my Facebook page. I miss everyone, but I just need some time. Time to process. Time to heal. Time to understand.
I guess if there is anything I can say.... Talk. Talk to your parents. Talk to your kids. REALLY talk. Communicate clearly. Ask the questions. Explain the feelings. Be open. Be honest.
There is going to be good times. There will be bad times. Yes, the bad times matter, but please don't get so focused on them, you forget the good times. When they are gone, suddenly the bad times don't matter as much. You see things more clearly, and you remember the good times. In the end, that is what matters most. Never stop making the good times.
Are you all ready for the holidays?! I feel ready and yet totally NOT ready, all at once. I am excited for next week. Chad is on vacation, and we will be getting a lot done. We will also be spending time together, just us. Gigi will be in school, and I will get to hang out with my best friend. Just us. Well, just us and the TV. I am hoping we can catch up on the shows we love to watch together, but never seem to have the opportunity to do so.
I hope you all have a wonderful end of 2018. I am excited for 2019. I hope it is my best year yet.
Don't forget to check out the rest of December's Use Your Words posts!! I will meet you there. I just need to grab a refill of coffee, and get snuggled in my heated blanket (California seems extra cold this Winter!).