Sunday, June 15, 2014

Remembering...

It's Father's Day and, naturally, I am thinking of my dad and missing him, just as I do and have done for every day of the year for the past 6+ years. My daughter recently told me that she read that the grief for a deceased parent never really passes. I believe that. The other night I dreamed about my parents and awoke to find that the tears I cried in my sleep had left little salty trails on my face. I wept in my dream - the kind of 'I can't breathe because I am so sad' crying. I've not done that during conscious hours. Maybe I should. Maybe I would feel better. But nothing will keep me from missing them both so much that it physically hurts. I feel so blessed to have my own family. I would be lost without them. Whenever I feel sad that my parents are gone - when I glance over at the framed photograph of them taken on the porch of the house on Tams Street - I just remember that they live on through Caroline and Catherine and that as Catherine gets older, I may come to recognise bits and pieces of my parents in her words, her expressions, her gestures, her being. I see so much of my father in her anyway, as I do in my daughter. Strong, good genes. Thank goodness I have them to comfort me when I feel so sad about being a parentless adult.

This is Chris' first Fathers' Day without his dad. He is still grieving and coming to terms with the loss of his father, made a bit more complex by the fact that his father had vascular dementia, so, in a very real way, had been gone for a long time. My mother-in-law recently said that she felt as if the dementia softened the reality of his death. I suppose it would. But still, there is the reality of his death and dealing with it has proven complex, to say the least. My mother-in-law is coping so well. She is an amazing woman.

There is another daughter grieving for her father this Father's Day. My daughter's dad, my ex-husband, died on May 22 after courageously battling brain cancer for 23 years. Her grieving has been compounded by having to deal with his seriously horrible family. Or, used to have to deal with them. Just as his death finally and at last released him from any connection to a family and mother he simply couldn't love because they exhibited no real love to him, his death has released my daughter as well. My ex-husband loved our daughter very much and was a remarkable father, seeing he had no decent role models on which to pattern his own parenting. He did the best he could and he knew that and she knows that, and that is all that matters. As was the case with my father-in-law, my daughter's dad had been slowly slipping away for years and in the month or so leading up to his death, Caroline says their phone conversations were mostly her speaking because he was having so much trouble forming and uttering words. She was amazing - keeping in touch with his doctors and arranging with social workers for him to be admitted to hospice when the time came. Unfortunately, his family decided he would be better off with them and came and took him away about 10 days before he died. But both he and my daughter know she did everything she possibly could for him. And the important thing is, he isn't suffering any more. For that I am ever thankful.

I continue to love my home here in the Highlands of Scotland and hope we have had the last of family deaths so I can start writing about my life in this beautiful place again. But for now, I remember my dad, my father-in-law and my daughter's dad and wish them all a very happy Father's Day wherever they may be.