Today would be my father’s birthday.

Apr 15 JDN 2458224

When this post goes live, it will be April 15, 2018. My father was born April 15, 1954 and died August 31, 2017, so this is the first time we will be celebrating his birthday without him.

I’m not sure that grief ever really goes away. The shock of the unexpected death fades eventually, and at last you can accept that this has really happened and make it a part of your life. But the sum total of all missed opportunities for life events you could have had together only continues to increase.

There are many cliches about this sort of thing: “Death is a part of life.” “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s all making excuses for the dragon. If we could find a way to make people stop dying, we ought to do it. The other consequences are things we could figure out later.

But, alas, we can’t, at least not in general. We have managed to cure or vaccinate against a wide variety of diseases, and as a result people do, on average, live longer than ever before in human history. But none of us live “on average”—and sometimes you get a very unlucky draw.

Yet somehow, we do learn to go on. I’m not sure how. I guess it’s a kind of desensitization: Right after my father’s death, any reminder of him was painful. But over time, that pain began to lessen. Each new reminder hurts a little less than the last, until eventually the pain is mild enough that it can mostly be ignored. It never really goes away, I think; but eventually it is below your just-noticeable-difference.

I had hoped to do more with this post. I had hoped that reflecting on the grief I’ve felt for the last several months would allow me to find some greater insight that I could share. Instead, I find myself re-writing the same sentences over and over again, trying in vain to express something that might help me, or help someone else who is going through similar grief. I keep looking for ways to distract myself, other things to think about—anything but this. Maybe there are no simple insights, no way for words to shorten the process that everyone must go through.

3 thoughts on “Today would be my father’s birthday.

  1. Sorry to hear you lost your dad and he was so young.

    I lost both my parents. Time does help some, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of them.

    Hope you are doing ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The pain is real and as Megan Devine writes “It’s OK that You’re Not OK.” Know that I love you so much, partly because you are part of him. We made you together and when I look at you, my son, I see your father. I see him in your eyes, in your smile, in your gentleness, in your intelligence and love for truth and knowledge. He was so proud of the man you have become as am I. No one can replace him in our lives, but we can reflect him to each other in our love. ❤❤Mom

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The death of a parent when you’re young is just hard. The cliché “Everything happens for a reason” gives false hope that there is a good and rational reason for something as sad as death. There is no good reason. It’s just hard. The cliché “Time is the only remedy for the sadness of death” does not provide comfort, either. But it’s the truest thing I can think of. You can’t rush it. That balm takes its own time.

    Liked by 1 person

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