24 days since they found my dad dead.
In the past three weeks, a sadness and unraveling has overtaken me. I took a week off to mourn with my family. We shared stories and meals and reminisced about the past. Pictures have been shared that captured memories now frozen in time. For being my dad who showed little to no affection to me or words of affirmation while he was living, his influence has followed me around like a ghost.
I went back to work after my bereavement leave and have tried to get back into the rhythm of life. Making sure I intentionally pour my love over those whose life giving presence makes me feel solace. But, I can’t seem to answer the following question: why do I mourn?
Do I mourn the man who chose to alienate himself from his family?
Do I mourn the man who was raised in a home of laughter and love?
Do I mourn the empty seat at our recitals or games?
Do I mourn the tears I shed in fear as his anger made my soul rattle and shake?
Do I mourn the broken promises and hours playing alone in the desert sun?
Do I mourn his absence at my daughters’ birthday parties he never attended?
Do I mourn seeing him drunk and his words slurring from his mouth?
Do I mourn that despite how disfunctional and harmful he was, it didn’t erase the truth he is my father?
I don’t have an answer to these questions. I’m starting to think it is the relationship I mourn, more than the man himself. It is difficult to feel sadness for someone who has caused me so much sadness while he was alive. I want to believe in redemption and chaos becoming comfort. Tears being wiped from my heart and pain turned into peace. But, belief cannot be birthed without contemplation, deconstruction, blood, sweat, and tears.
As I walk and stumble through the shadow of his death, I don’t think I will have an answer immediately. I am not an expert in grief but daily becoming more aquainted with its foul odor. Each day, a part of me seems to be shed like a butterfly abandoning their cocoon in spring. I’m sure butterflies mourn too.