July 29th marked two years.
Two years since my dad passed away. Two years that he hasn’t been around for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Father’s Day. Has it gotten easier? I’m not sure. I miss him but I’m not expecting to see him anymore. Others have assumed his place at the holiday table. Father’s Day has taken on a new cadence. It’s now fully directed to my husband and the father he is to our children. That sense of loss is still there but it’s familiar and it’s now the new normal. I don’t like that, I wish I could change it but that’s the way it is.
More and more, I see and hear others of my generation walking the same walk. In the frequency we used to get wedding invitations and baby announcements, we now get word of someone’s father or mother passing away. The generational baton is being handed off. As Gen Xers, we are now taking on new titles like “grandma” or “papa.” Along with that, we’ve lived through our grandparents passing away and are now often dealing with the same passing of our parents. Where did the time go? It’s difficult to wrap my head around because there’s a part of me that still feels like a kid, desperately wanting and needing my parents. So no… I guess it hasn’t gotten “easier.” It’s just gotten familiar.
I can’t imagine what the future holds but there’s no doubting that death will be a part it. Will that experience become routine? Become overly familiar? I hope not. Each person is unique. The way they’ve impacted you and the way in which you’re close to them will mean each situation is a difficult experience all its own. This is the significant downside of aging - everyone ages along with you. However, there are many upsides as well. For instance, I look forward to the amazing “firsts” we’ll experience with our children and future grandchildren. There is much ahead and much to enjoy today. Being encumbered by grief isn’t much of an option. It’s just every once in a while that the sensation of grief appears again. It’s often triggered by an anniversary or a holiday. Consequently, it’s not surprising that July 29th was a tough day. It was tough and yet familiar. It had been around before and it’ll be coming around again.
Thankfully, even as grief stirs memories, those memories of my dad are good. I can wrap up in them like a coat and just reflect. I’m one of the lucky ones. I had a dad. Even though my dad had his flaws, I’m very grateful for him and I'm grateful that he made his presence known in a way that he’s now missed.
What about you? Has grieving a loved one gotten easier? How do you choose to remember them today?