Monday, November 19, 2007

Grief Sneaks Up

My dad passed away over a year ago. I heard an old wives' tale that a person has to survive a year and a day after losing a loved one before truly realizing that life continues despite the loss. I lived through my dad's birthday, my parents' wedding anniversary, Father's Day, all of the major holidays and finally the one year mark of my dad's death. Father's Day was the worst. I loved to buy clothes for my dad. He was a self-professed cheapskate, and a bit proud of the fact. I love a bargain, but I also love good fashion and quality craftsmanship. I wanted to keep my dad looking dapper in clothes and accessories that weren't from WalMart. As Father's Day 2007 approached, I caught myself thinking so many times, "that's a nice shirt/tie/pair of shoes. I want to get that for Dad." Then about four seconds later I'd experience a little jolt and remember that he no longer needed any material possessions, and that the US Postal Service doesn't deliver to Heaven.

As Thanksgiving approaches, one can't help but think of family. As I struggled to complete my course on the elliptical machine at the gym today, I glanced up at one of the TVs mounted on the wall above me and saw a commercial with a happy family sitting down to their Thanksgiving meal. For the first time since January, I cried on the elliptical machine. (My dad died while exercising on his treadmill. Sometimes the gym does not hold happy connections for me.) I soldiered on and finished my workout, crying only for a minute or so.

I made it through that year and a day since my dad's passing. I'm well aware that life continues. But the grief sneaks up on me still.