a) separation in time
b) an extent of advance from a beginning
c) personal and especially emotional separation
It’s been 19 months since dad died. That is a lot of time. 582 days or 13,968 hours, or 838,080 minutes give or take. That is a lot of distance between now and then. But some days it still feels like seconds.
I’ve written about how my mom is serving an LDS mission. It is tradition that the Sunday before a missionary leaves they give a talk in church. So my family, and my sister and brother’s families, drove down and went to church with her that day to hear her speak. It was nice to be all together. The grand kids had fun playing together and it ended up that a lot of extended family and friends came and supported my mom as well.
This is where my point of “distance” comes in. In my mind I think I have been doing very well with everything the last year. I still get sad. I miss him. I still cry now and then. But I have been able to control it. There seemed to be enough distance between the actual event of his death and now that I was able to focus on his life and not that horrible 9 days before he died/the funeral/the 3 month black hole afterward.
Until I sat down on the same bench, in the same spot, at the same church as my dad’s funeral. I sat there and listened to the prelude music for about 1 minute and looked at my husband and said there is absolutely no way I can sit here. I was trying not to cry, which I’m not very good at, and got up and quickly moved to the far back of the church. I did pretty good after that, only sending my husband out once to get me tissue. Then my mom got up and talked.
She talked about hope and faith. She is a good speaker, always has been. Honestly I don’t remember a lot of what she said because in my mind I was thinking “Please don’t let me totally lose it when/if she talks about dad.”
I am not a beautiful crier. I don’t look Demi Moore in Ghost, or Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail. I am a horrible ugly crier that snorts and sobs. (I have wedding video proof.) In the last minutes of my mom’s talk she talked about how she had faith and hope that someday she would see my dad again and live for eternity with him. There was another 5 minutes after that that I didn’t hear because I had to get up AGAIN and leave the chapel and run RUN into the hallway. Where I proceeded to hyperventilate because on top of all this emotion I was sick with a cold so I couldn’t breath out of my nose. My kind and loving sister followed me out and talked me through it, helped me start breathing again normally, and gave me yards and yards of toilet paper. I felt like an idiot.
I don’t know if there will ever be enough distance between the death of my dad and me being ok with it. I think with time we just get better dealing with the grief publicly. It gets easier (most of the time) to not cry when you see a cute little old man that reminds you of your dad at the grocery store, or feel empty inside when you can’t call him and tell him that BYU still sucks even though they did win their first football game, or just want to hug him. You just learn to control it. But it still hurts.