The Sun Keeps Rising

Grief is a strange process. Especially when you avoid it at any cost. I make posts on social media and occasionally I may verbally say “I miss my daddy,” but any expression that requires depth, I avoid. It’s a defense mechanism I guess. I have to keep going, keep living. I don’t want to be the sad girl. It’s approaching two years and I don’t want pity. I don’t want judgement. However, I have not properly dealt with my grief. I sit in my regular therapy sessions and I discuss my mother or romantic relationships, and even my relationships with friends. Rarely do I talk about my daddy or my grief. I don’t talk about him. Not really. I don’t explore my hurt. I don’t explore his absence.

A few months ago, I went through a bout of depression. I had the desire only to lie in my bed and binge watch Blue Bloods. Blue Bloods is a show that my daddy called “our show” because of the father/daughter relationship between two of the main characters. One day I realized that I was watching this show because I missed my daddy. It was my subconscious way of dealing with my grief. After years of sacrifice and consecutive tragic life events, I moved into my first apartment in Houston. It was joyful and stressful. Particularly because my car required a series of expensive repairs around the time of my move. Even though I always have consulted my mom and not my dad about my car troubles, I found myself feeling and saying “I miss my daddy.” The day I picked up the keys to my apartment, my mom was on the phone with someone sharing my news (as she often does because she suffers from verbal diarrhea) and I said to her, out of my mouth, “Who is that, daddy?” I immediately bursted into tears in the leasing office. A couple days later I was driving back to Houston from Dallas and my car wheel was giving me some trouble and I said to my cousin after I couldn’t gain assistance from my mom and others, “I’ll just call my daddy.” Even though something similar happened days before, I still shocked myself.

I’m so happy to start this new chapter, yet there is a damper. There is something missing…my daddy. (I just realized as I typed that sentence and my eyes swelled with tears that THIS is why I have been so moody) I have been depressed, needy, lonely, moody, and simply unpleasant. And I have been in my bed in my new apartment, alone, binge watching Mad Men. The main character and his life reminds me of my daddy. Watching the shows that have connections to my daddy have been unintentional but makes sense. Subconsciously, I’m looking for ways to be close to him, to fill the void that is impossible to fill. My daddy would be so happy for me and taking this step, living my life for me. Even with that being true, I can’t be happy. I can’t help but wonder if every life event that is to come will be challenged but this dark gloom of my father’s absence. I’d like to believe that when I stop avoiding and actually deal with my grief, I will handle life events in a more healthy manner. For now, I am up at 3 am watching Mad Men, feeling every bit of my daddy’s absence and it hurts like hell.

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Timehop

So I check Timehop and Facebook Memories daily. It often provides me with little jewels of my daddy. Today’s timehop was a sad but real moment for me. My dad lived over a year past the video I will be sharing today. Moving forward, time to time I will be sharing some memories provided by Timehop and Facebook.

Numb.

I use to be a very emotional person. I expressed everything I felt. I cried a lot. I mingled with my feelings. As life’s experiences grew more complex, my relationship with my emotions grew more distant. I cant say that I don’t feel, but my way of coping is to keep it moving and not deal with the issues. I know, it doesn’t sound healthy. I can’t say that it is healthy. I am able to cry, just not in response to my personal feelings. I can cry for my loved ones struggle. I can cry at Grey’s Anatomy. (and other emotional entertainment, but MOSTLY Grey’s lol) but I cannot cry from my own hurt, disappointment, or frustration.

I explored this revelation when my mother came in my room an emotional mess (which is more common than not with her) about my grandmother’s mental condition. My grandmother is 89 years old and up to this point has been as sharp as a tack with a very sassy and direct personality. Recently, she has been having hallucinations. It has become difficult for her to decipher what is reality and imaginary. It breaks my mother’s heart, mine too. I just can’t express it. I also cannot help my mom work through her emotions (probably because I haven’t worked out mine). I am grateful for the 87+ good years my grandmother has had. To be celebrating her 90th birthday this year is a blessing. My mom sometimes sees other elderly people who can get around well and gets sad saying she wish that my grandmother could do so as well. I have to remind her that my grandmother lived on her own for years and that she is old. (cruel but honest). I often come off cold to her because I cannot effectively relieve her emotional storms. She doesn’t understand that I cannot relieve my own emotional storms.

When I was a little girl I never understood how someone could cut themselves. I didn’t understand the point. It is not something, even to this day I am capable of doing but I sometimes pinch myself to be able to feel. I think I maybe afraid to feel, afraid to love, afraid to be vulnerable. To allow myself to do any of those things, I will have to deal with the stuff I have kept bottled up for the past few years. I can’t work through my dad’s diagnosis, my Uncle Larry’s death (which is still unreal to me), and the other painful events that have transpired in my life. My way of analyzing: I do not have the time to spare for a breakdown and if I do break, who would help put me back together again. I isolate myself (others isolate me as well). I don’t care to talk about how I feel and why I feel that way, I just keep moving and hope that things will get better with time. “You are so strong”….I have no other choice, so I numb myself.

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Time.

Can you imagine knowing the exact moment that would be your last on earth in advance? When we face deadly diagnosis we often ask “how much time do I have?” The truth of the matter is the answer we are given causes more anxiety than peace. We all know that we will die one day, but most people generally do not wake up thinking, “Will today be the day that I die or will it be tomorrow?” Having a numeric time stamp placed on your life, puts a dark cloud over everyday. As much as you attempt to live your limited days to the fullest, in the back of your mind is that clock that is running out time. That is no way to live. Even with world-class training, doctors are only human and can be wrong. And they often are. They did not create life, therefore their estimation on when life will end is not definite. We all know the clichés “Live life to the fullest”, “Spend everyday as if it were your last”, “Carpe Diem”, blah, blah, blah… Lets be real, while we would like to believe that we are all extreme optimists, many of us spend most days looking forward to sleep. We carry around baggage, resentment, and frustration from day-to-day. Many of us are not making every moment count. I am not going to say change who you are and become happy-go-lucky, but I will share what my Daddy has told me time and time again and what I find myself often repeating: “Time is your most valuable asset, because it’s the only thing you can never get back.” That has become more real than ever at this moment in my life. No one knows how much time we have, not the infant who was born this very moment and not the hospice patient who has been given a few days. We all will have frustration and disappointment. Take a moment, acknowledge your feelings, and realize there are so many other things in life that are a million times more important. Spend your time in a way that is satisfying for you and that you will have peace with when the time comes for you to take your last breath.

 

-Chris

Control.

Not having control. That’s the hardest part. Seeing something break your heart and slow motion and the only thing that you can do is watch is so hard. I have always had trouble with needing control. I feel like I need to fix things: people, situations, anything that requires improvement. It has only brought me anxiety and disappointment, yet I continue to try to help improve. That anxiety is nothing compared to what I have been feeling as of lately. Some moments my heart beats so rapid and hard, it seems that it could literally jump out of my chest. I get lost in my thoughts. I’m walking around in a cloud. Riding as a passenger on my father’s roller coaster of emotion. There are so many highs and lows, that literally change within moments. What can I do, I cannot allow him to ride alone. So I go through the highs and lows with him, praying for more time. My friends always tell me how “strong” I am…especially now. I never looked at it like that, I just do what I have to do. I just keep going, because if I fall, when I decide to get back up, I’ll be in the same place. “You’re the strongest person I know Christina!”  Sometimes you don’t have a choice. Who do I have to share my weak moments with? Certainly not my dad, whatever I am feeling he is feeling times 1000. Not my mother or step-mother, they are both so emotional and it would probably only bring me more stress. My friends are all moving forward and I can’t hold them back with me. Im stuck here. In this situation. With this diagnosis. In continuous pain. And I have no control.