I'm not a sad melancholy kind of person. I don't do sad. I don't do melancholy. Anymore. Usually.
As a teenager and young adult, however, I was a dramatic-oh-woe-is-me-self-pitying-ass-hole....as most teenagers and young adults are. Actually, I should probably narrow that down even more to teenage GIRLS and young adult WOMEN...as I don't think this dramatic sorrow afflicts most young men the same way.
My father died when I was five. I spent the better part of my life up to young adult hood dwelling, mourning, and grieving over that fact. I wrote in a journal to my dad almost daily. I prayed every night...not to God...but to my Dad. Was constantly dwelling on the what coulda beens and what shoulda beens of my life and just generally feeling sorry for myself. I ENJOYED being sad and would purposely MAKE myself sad. I would sit in my room and play sad music and MAKE myself cry. Pathetic.
But somewhere along the way self preservation kicked in and I decided that self pitying melancholy is quite unhealthy. Depressing even. And I decided that was not how I wanted to live my life.
I pushed the self pity aside and stopped dwelling on thoughts of my Dad. This was a conscious decision. When thoughts creeped in...I replaced those thoughts. When sad songs played....I changed the station. I still to this day HATE sad movies. Movies like "The Titanic", "Philadelphia" & "Step Mom" will NOT be played in my presence. They're depressing and they suck!
But I'm human. And every now and then when the hormones are raging....like now for instance....and hubby is out of town....like now for instance.....the thoughts invade my brain and WILL NOT LEAVE.
It started this afternoon....in the car....having a conversation with my daughter.
"Mommy, I miss Gracie, when can we see her again?"
"Honey, we can't see Gracie....she's in doggy heaven"
"Ummm? (insert uncomfortable chuckle) Way up in the sky above the clouds"
"Will we see her when we die?"
"I believe we will"
This is an abbreviated version of the conversation as it continued on for almost an entire 30 minute car ride. 30 minutes of question like...why do people die?...when will we die?....what happens when we die?....will we see God when we die?....who will be my mommy when you die?....ugh....
My daughter is obsessed with the topic of death and dieing. I think it may be a phase as I've heard other parents say the same about their own kids who are roughly the same age. She wants to talk about it ALL. THE. TIME. Heaven is such an abstract concept and difficult for even adults to grasp....how do you explain Heaven to a five year old? It makes me desperately uncomfortable because I don't know how to answer her little five year old self.
This conversation reminded me that my daughter is almost exactly the same age I was when my Dad passed away. I also remember shortly after he died my Mom took me and my brother (along with other family members) on a trip to California. While in the plane, (I remember this like it was yesterday) I was looking out the window and in awe at how beautiful it was above the clouds. I remember asking my mom "Is this Heaven?" I remember her chuckling a little...the way adults do when they are perhaps a little uncomfortable with answering a child's question....and she said "yes." I remember looking around at all the clouds bright with the reflection of the sun and then asking "then where's daddy?"
I have only a few scattered memories of my dad.
1) I remember when he was sick my parents chose to prepare me for the inevitable. I remember them telling me that "daddy was sick but the doctors couldn't find the right needle to make him better." He didn't LOOK sick to me. I remember him coming home one day....I'm not sure if he was coming home from work or the doctors or somewhere else....but I remember when he walked through the door asking him "did the doctors find the right needle yet." I remember he kind-of chuckled and said "no." The funny thing about that is I believed that story all the way up until my tween years. I remember being in the car with my mom one day when I was somewhere between the ages of 10 & 12 and saying "mom, if the doctors lost the needle to help dad then can't you sue them or something?" I wasn't the brightest child. That was the first time she explained to me that they had told me that story because how else do you explain to a five year old that daddy is dieing. I was only five and wouldn't understand words like leukemia, chemotherapy, prognosis....
2) I remember sitting on the floor with my Dad and younger brother and rolling a ball back and forth between the three of us.
3) I remember standing in front of my Dad while he sat on the floor in our front room. I thought he was making funny faces at me and I ran away laughing. I over heard him ask my mom "what is she laughing at?" and my mom saying "you were biting the inside of your cheek and I think she thinks you were making funny faces at her." I wonder if cheek biting is hereditary because I habitually bite the inside of my cheek.
4) I remember going on a helicopter ride with just me and my dad. Someone (I can't remember who) when I was younger said that there was no way I went on a helicopter ride with my Dad....because helicopter rides aren't done...or not allowed....or something of that nature. I thought it was my mom that told me that but I was wrong. So this person had me believing that this memory was dreamed up. I never discussed this memory with my mom until a few years ago. I said "I don't care what anyone says...I REMEMBER being in a helicopter or a small plane with just me and dad." She confirmed my memory. She told me that YES he did....he set up this private helicopter or small plane ride after he was diagnosed and he wanted me to remember that helicopter ride. I wasn't crazy after all. I remember trying to stand on the seat because I was too short to see out the window....I remember him pointing down and saying "LOOK, there's our house".....but there were 100s of houses and I couldn't figure out how he could possibly tell which one was ours. I remember being disappointed because he made me sit down.
5) I remember I had gotten in trouble for something and was sent to my room. I remember my dad walking in my bedroom after awhile and I pretended to be asleep. I remember him sitting on the edge of my bed and stroking my hair in silence for several minutes before walking out again to let me "sleep."
6) I remember being at someone's house....a friend of my dad's....possibly his boss?....or a co-worker?.....and I remember them sitting me on top of a unicycle (which felt like it was 6 feet tall) and trying to teach me how to ride it.
7) I remember the day I got my ears pierced...I had just turned 5....and I remember being very excited to come home to show my dad.
8) I remember one night my dad was laying on the couch and he said "Mama Smurf (I guess it would have been baby smurf back then), will you do me a favor" with a very serious tone....I, of course, eager to please said "yes"......"will you please go to the bathroom for me cause I really have to go". I walked half way to the bathroom before I realized that he was just kidding.
9) I remember what I THINK was the last time I saw my dad. He was at the hospital. In a hospital bed. With an oxygen nasal cannula in his nose. I remember that it was a very short visit. I remember that he looked sick. This was the only time I remember seeing him LOOK sick. I remember being disappointed that we had to leave and I remember being disappointed and hurt because I was told that I couldn't kiss his face goodbye. I could only kiss his hand. Now the nurse in me realizes that he was probably on neutropenic precautions....but my 5 year old self didn't know that at the time.
10) I remember the day he died. I remember a house full of family members (my Dad was the oldest of 8) and I remember my mom pulling me into my bedroom, shutting the door, and sitting next to me on my bed. The room was dark. The shades on the window were pulled down. She explained that daddy was in heaven. I remember walking out of the room and into the bathroom to dry the tears. I remember walking into the front room to a room full of questioning eyes.
11) I remember the funeral home. I remember sitting on my mom's lap crying with my brother. I also remember being in a sitting room in the funeral home playing on the floor with other kids and laughing.
And that is literally the entire list of EVERYthing I remember. 11 random memories. That's it.
So, looking at my 5 1/2 year old daughter today...I can't help but wonder what she will remember about these days of her life. This 5th year of her life. I guess that sounds a little morbid. But that's why I write this blog. To record not only memories for my kids to look back on and laugh about in the future but to record who I am.
I've heard people criticize bloggers as being narcissistic. And maybe it is narcissistic to constantly be talking about myself and my family. Maybe I am slightly narcissistic. There....I said it.
But I remember snooping around my parents' bedroom one day as a teenager and coming across my Dad's diary that he kept while he was in Vietnam. There were only a hand full of entries in that diary..... but to read my Dad's writing and see his sense of humor and get a glimpse of the man he was through the words he wrote was like a treasure to me.
I'm not a writer. I have no aspirations to be a writer. I'm sure the writers in this bloggy world cringe at my grammar and punctuation mistakes and my misspelled words. I'm sure the perfect wholesome church going mothers cringe at my foul mouth and sometimes inappropriate stories. And I'm OK with that. This is who I am. I don't let my kids read my blog right now. Obviously. But one day when they are adults and have kids of there own I hope they will. Or maybe my Great Grandkids will sit down with my kids one day the way I have with my Grandmother and learn about this family through my little blog entries.
So what does my teenage drama and my random memories and my daughter's obsession with death and my reasons for blogging have to do with each other?? I have absolutely no fucking idea and now that I've ranted on and on about all this drivelling (is that a word?...it is now!) nonsense I'm reading it over and realizing that I've gone on and on about a bunch of shit that has only loose (at best) connection with each other. But then that's what hormones do to me. They turn me into a hormonal emotional irrational mess. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the hormones and more to do with the red wine I've been sucking down. Did I mention my husband is out of town. Yeah. He's out of town.
Dudes...for those of you who have stuck it out and read this entire rediculously long post....you rock....(add a double tapping fist to chest peace out sign)....