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Remembering My Dad On His Birthday

The 24-hours before my late dad’s birthday are a blur. My coping method of choice is repression and over the years I’ve become a true master.

I sat down to write this blog as a timeline; I thought it might be helpful to organize my thoughts so you’d be able to fully understand the complexity of the situation. As I started to type, however, a big issue arose… I just don’t remember everything that clearly.

I opt for repression, my mother chooses stoicism and my brother just wants everyone to be happy. We were not strong enough to accept the shitty reality none of us admitted: We were still grieving and desperately in need of each other’s love and support. We all very much wanted the same thing—to be together—yet none of us said anything.

Fast forward, the waterworks started at 7:30 am the next day. They were not the feminine tears that gracefully glide down my cheek and leave my eyes a few shades lighter (I always found that attractive and thought of it as the silver lining to crying). These tears, however, were the ones that come from deep down. There is no perk to these; I am left with a swollen pink nose and the deep realization that my dad is gone.

The next three hours were not pretty. I cried. I cried a lot. I replayed memories in my head; I cried because I longed for more of the good and I cried because I hated that dad suffered and died. I cried. I canceled all appointments that day (even joyous ones that I was looking forward to) and I cried some more.

With sobbing on hiatus, I confessed to my mom and brother that I needed to be with them; I convinced them we all needed each other. We all changed plans and spent the rest of the day together. The tears were replaced with smiles. I may have lost my incredible and irreplaceable father, but I am so fortunate to still have two unbelievably supportive and loving family members.

I didn’t think September 13th was going to be so hard for me. I think about my dad everyday, why would one calendar day make a difference? I told myself that it’s been seven years and I should be “better” by now. The thing is, it happens. Maybe it’s not your loved one’s birthday, could be the anniversary of his death, a holiday, or any significant random day; it hits and it hurts. These events are going to come up multiple times a year and we must find a way to cope in a healthy way.

What do we learn from these rough times? It may have been my dad’s birthday but he’s the one who gave me a present; I accept reality; I still have a family whom I can depend on and compassionate friends who want to help me. I suggest to all of you that you honestly vocalize your feelings and ask for the support when you need it—you have no idea what a difference it will make.

So, now, without tears, I can wish my father a belated very happy birthday. Rest in peace, Daddy.

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