As my father’s 60th birthday approaches, I can’t help but think about celebration and grief.

I would love to call my Dad on the phone and remind him that he’s another year older and that his hairline has disappeared. I would probably call him the ol’ Onceler and we’d talk about our days and the grandkids and all things good and bad. He would reminisce on a full life and we would laugh. He’d probably answer “Yello…..” and he’d inevitably throw in a “quitcherbitchin” when I started to rant about any nonsensical thing.

Celebration

Maybe a surprise party; balloons, cake, and presents. We would discuss my dissertation and all of the studying he did in college when I was a kid. He would share all of the wit and the troubles. He would also remind me that he made more money than I probably ever will,

-because he did not finish college,

-life was not fair,

-and I should not stand for that type of treatment.

This was his gentle, and obvious way, of ribbing me into a competition to push beyond the limits he envisioned that I had set for myself. I also would never do the types of manual, dangerous work he did, so there is that too.

He would tell the very best “dad jokes” and about how my driving always scared him. “She always said the lines on the road were a suggestion…..” Or, he’d do that weird egg crack trick on top of my head, because no matter how successful or old, making your child’s stomach turn is somehow hilarious. And when he did, I would gently remind him of how when I was little I removed the fish from their meticoulsly pristine home, dried them off, and put them back! *That’s one of those stories you tell your parents later in life because you’d get in major trouble when you were six*

No matter how exciting or mundane, I would love to see these pop up again.

Time to go fishing
Always fall back on what you know of sports ❤ (I totally passed stats and I’ve taken more)
🙂
My graduation moved to Spring
December 2020 ❤ I’m going to walk the stage this time

Grief

This isn’t the first time, and I hope it is not the last time I have written about grief. You are welcome to see Like A Stone for more about losing my father. There is no going back to whatever I pictured an ideal existence to be before. This is my new normal.

There is nothing exceptional to any part of the story other than it is my own. Maybe there is someone that needs to know that a new normal is possible. Maybe someone needs to know that coupling grief and depression is not crippling, but it is ok if sometimes it needs to be. For 24 years, he knew what life was like without me, but I did not learn how to exist without him for 31. This is year 4, and I am ok.

I was so damn angry when it happened. Then I was relieved. Today it is fine. I cannot tell you what comes next. Through death I learned that nothing I care about and intend to protect can be bought. Time is a far more valuable currency.

I learned that letting go is an option. There is nothing I need to inject where the universe is perfectly qualified. The integrity that I so fearfully wanted to protect was not going to be sustained through any venegful or foolish acts. I learned that people can be gentle and loving and people can be selfish and hurtful, and when the strings are pulled tight the spirit that they feed will not hide for long. I learned that no one gets to define my intentions but me and I learned to live with the words that convey misunderstanding. I learned to accept the apology that I was never given. And I learned to forgive myself for being human; weaknesses and all.

I learned that the example that I set will only be positive if I let go of fear. I appreciate all of the times when my heart was hurting and I was simply told, “you don’t have to put up with that”. So, I changed my response instead of controlling the situation. I learned that I am too small to carry the weight of everything. I learned to appreciate travelling places where I am reminded that I am small.

Have you ever watched animations of the universe? They tend to start at Earth and pull back through systems and galaxies until we are all but unrecognizable, but an integral piece. Makes me cry, every-dang-time.

Next….

I have spent time educating children and adults about safety. Here may be just the spot to interject some of that transferrable advice. If you, or someone that you care about, is struggling with addiction, depression, or other mental/physical health concerns, take time to identify the people in your life that you can go to for help. Whether directly affected or an observer, it is ok to reach out for help. You are not a burden.

Eve is a mom, student, daughter, sister, blogger, doer, thinker, and more. Any and all blog content should be viewed as opinion and any sources should be verified prior to using any of these words in that particular order to form your own (opinions). For more, visit: Happy Kotter: Disclaimer. Have a great day!

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Beyond some superficial discussion, I have not said this out loud…

The reflections here are my own and are not intended to be representative of anyone other than myself. Take what you need. Leave what you can.

Some of my favorite people have been beautifully broken. The best part about a break in perfection is the unique way that healing takes place. Scars are not made to match another, but to represent a story, an experience, or an injury. I love to know that at some point you have failed, learned a lesson, and found that part of you that wants to carry on. I admire what happens to people when, for a moment, the obstacle looks much larger than the will to overcome it.

Imagine that on any given day, without warning, the baseline that you encounter falls at less than zero. You are wading just below the surface. The waves are insurmountable and your arms are weak. The only thing that unites your lungs with the air you need is a brick. As you grab the brick, you are able to float briefly. You can see the sunshine. You breathe in deeply. Then you are back under. This happens repeatedly and in short enough intervals for your body to sustain life. It does not end.

Take yourself to the shore. That is where you can find me. Watch as someone you love gasps repeatedly. There are moments when the time above water lasts for a moment. You can see that if they just let go and relax, they will float. In this time you can speak, you can dream, and you can hope. Then the waves rise and the brick comes back. You are not equipped with the tools to break this cycle. Left helpless, but hopeful, you are an onlooker to destruction.

In brief, I am the child of addiction. There is no simple way to encompass what that means. There is no further validity in giving a vice a name. There are groups, complete with manuals, for people like me. There are people that think addiction is a weakness, a complete an utter lack of perseverance. There are also people that are not correct. There are people fighting to survive now. And, there are people that are watching at a safe distance, probably silently ripped to shreds.

There is relief now. There is no worry when a car accident has been broadcast that I could know the driver. There are no more questions when my phone rings. The days of wondering how it could end are a safe distance behind me. I find myself in a parental place. I hope that for a moment, or for a collection of moments, there was peace. I want to believe that joy permeated every part of his being for a moment.

I am thankful for an incredible work ethic. My improvement, though, is determination to succeed without sacrifice to self. What would my life be like today if I was never able to lose myself in textbooks? What if he never gave me my first complete set of encyclopedias? What if I never watched football? What if my lullabies were never written by Kipling?

My father passed away. I was naive. Although there are always stories, or someone else’s experiences, I made death a romantic process. There would be a time to be old, and health would decline in a way that was not tragic. In my bubble, I imagined, there would be sadness, and I could see it coming. Sudden, ugly, and painful were not on my imaginary menu of experiences. It is impossible to say what was felt, because a combination of everything and nothing does not have a word.

I have stumbled repeatedly over what kind of message I wanted to relay when I decided there was a message to give. There are moments that can not be duplicated. I am the child of addiction. I am also the child of a father that did everything he could with everything he had to make sure I did something more than he could. Fear-driven rage turned to empathy with time. I have genuine compassion for anyone touched by the pain that addiction can bring. We cope differently. I have learned that the best relationship I can have with some people is a complete absence of one.

Grief will not expire. I do not want to meet the day that apathy wins over an intense emotion. One extreme will not exist without the other, and I remind myself of that when the feelings are blue. When thinking about my own approach to spirituality and death, as concrete as it is, there is poetry. I will, often without intention, assign a song to something or someone. The following is where I keep myself close to my father.

Take What You Need. Leave What You Can.

Audioslave- Like a Stone

“On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on

In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone”