I went to bed last night with a stomach ache knowing that today was the first time I couldn’t talk to or see my dad for Father’s Day. So far, it hasn’t been as emotional or as hard as I thought it would be, but I have a feeling that might change tonight.
When I was 12, I asked my dad (and mom) if we go to see a professional musical. My mom was active with the local community theater, but I wanted to see a big show. On April 6, 1996, we went to see our first pro show in Denver, CO, and from the first note we were hooked. 23 years later, we have seen roughly 150 shows (both new and repeat performances). This year would have also been our 12th year as season ticket holders at The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, Wa. Tonight will be one of the first Father’s Days that we didn’t go to a performance together. Luckily my best friend is coming with me tonight to see The West Side Story, so that I don’t have to go alone.
A major thing that I have noticed dealing with my grief over the last 8 months, is that it is so unpredictable. I was able to get through first holidays, birthdays, and the 6th month mark so much better than I thought, but then will burst into tears or have panic attacks over the smallest thing. I don’t know if more people are like that, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I need to allow myself to grieve however I grieve. I need to be patient and kind to myself. That is the hardest part.
I think one reason today hasn’t been as hard hard as expected (so far) is because I think back to last Father’s Day, and remember how much he was starting to suffer. He was in constant pain and nauseous from the esophageal stent that had been placed. He couldn’t sleep laying down anymore because of risk of aspirating, he was losing muscle and strength really fast, and we found out that day that he was sensitive to Ativan/Lorazepam. He was confused, slurring, and had slow reactions to things. We ended up taking him to the ER incase he’d had a stroke. They gave him more Ativan before tests because he was claustrophobic, and that’s when he started hallucinating. That was the start of his rapid decline. He died less than 4 months later. Maybe today, and the other holidays aren’t as hard as I expected because he is no longer suffering. I would take all the pain, grief, and anger 1000 times, if it meant he wasn’t suffering for a minute more.
My dad was an amazing father. He was funny, smart, sarcastic, supportive, kind, so easy to be myself around, forgiving, understanding, a major pain in the ass, and my best friend. I am so thankful that he was my father and he was a huge part in making me who I am today.
I love you to the moon and back Dad, and I miss you with every breath.