I have to stop doing this to myself!

EVERY TIME I have a good day with Dad (which is pretty much every time I see him), I fall apart afterward.  Many times it happens in the car on the way home.  Sometimes I’m crying before I’m out of his driveway; other times I make it half way home.  But I always crumble over the crushing, sad realization that OUR TIMES TOGETHER ARE NUMBERED.

Rationally, I tell myself that EVERYONE loses their Dad; people have been saying the hard goodbye for as long as the earth has rotated.  And people survive the experience.  So why does this feel so horrible?  So inconceivable?  So inconsolable? Why does MY dad take the cake on the hardship scale of death?  What makes ME so special that I’m consuming all of this energy and dread over a fact of life?  I just can’t pull myself out of the abyss for very long at any given time.

Today was Father’s Day and it was amazing.  My mother and brothers and I all had a perfect day with dad.  He got meaningful gifts and played with his only grandchild – God, is he amazing with kids!  He’s so childlike in his ability to play.  I think that’s part of the sadness I feel – that this special, special man is limited on how many more lives he will touch.  And, then, he’ll be gone.  Ashes blown into the wind, and only our memories of him will be alive – and we know now how fleeting memories really can be.  So, then, you have to rationalize that all memories of him will one day have completely faded away.  Who will know that this amazing man ever walked this earth?  Probably no one.  And that sends me over the dark edge crying all over again.  I feel like we’re being robbed of one of the earth’s natural resources.  And it feels so sad.

My husband keeps telling me that I have to stop focusing on every day like it’s the end.  He reminds me that my dad could be around for ten more years and that most of those years could still be very vibrant.  He’s right.  But it’s the NOT KNOWING that’s slowly choking me.  I realize Dad’s not in physical pain, but this emotional torture is hell – for me, for him, for all of us.

I’m bouncing down a daily crooked path of extreme highs and lows.  My dad seems to be on a similar path.  My brother Todd is rationally coping with the news.  My brother Frank seems to be in complete denial.  My mother is scared to death but is handling everything with managed order, preparing everything in checklist order, not realizing that her emotions need to be experienced and filed somewhere as well.  We are all stumbling down this path alone yet together; it is an odd sensation.  And the path just appears to be so long…

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