Back during my divorce, my therapist challenged me with the idea that amid the chaos and craziness that ensues during the course of ending things it is so important to recognize the GOOD, the IMPROVED, the BLESSINGS that exist in our lives, no matter how small, or how insignificant it may seem. Recognizing that we do have good things in our lives allows us to refocus and gain perspective during our rebuilding efforts.
I am in a melancholy place today - tomorrow is the 4 year anniversary of my Dad's passing. My emotions are so all over the place this week! It feels weird to realize it was 7 1/2 years ago that I found out my Dad was diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn't know men could get breast cancer before that - and you know what? Most men diagnosed don't find it until stage 4 because they don't know it either. I watched him die a slow and painful death over 5 years. With the loss of my sister, and the loss of my youngest baby girl, my father's death was one more log on the fire of grief and came just before my 19 year marriage ended. I was angry with God, with life in general, and when everything settled -the one thing that overwhelmed me the most was grief. It nearly overwhelmed my soul.
Today I am a grateful for the man my Dad was in my life.
I could just paint a really great picture of who he was - but reality is - he had lots of things he struggled with - his temper, he need to be right, yelling, spanking, reacting in anger over little stuff, passing gas regardless of who was around - the list could go on and on. When I was a small child, my Dad scared me. He was gone on TDY a lot, so when he was home, adjusting to having all of us around (there were 8 of us) was hard on him. The noise, the mess, the chaos - it's only been as an adult that I have grown new appreciation for all of that. It wasn't until after my sister's death (I was 14) that he chose to stay home more, chose to be a better person, to overcome hard stuff, chose to change his future. He made me want to be more like him in that way.
Having endured the rollercoaster ride for the past couple of years, I have pictured the conversation we could have multiple times -
Him - This is a great ride!
Me - Not so much, I want to get off.
Him - but look at the beautiful view ahead!
Me - The up and down is making me sick
Him - It's like being in the back seat of the car, just look straight ahead and breathe in and out through your nose!
He's right - I need to stop twisting around in my seat and just look ahead and breathe deeply.
My Dad was one of those guys that you could just talk to - he had a high expectation for doing things to your best ability and often complimented me on my talents with mundane tasks making me appreciate them in a new way. One thing in particular that he would sing high praises for was my cooking ability. Having been in a large family, you learn early to be really good at the jobs you like so you don't get stuck doing the yucky stuff like dishes! For me, baking in particular is a great talent. Breads, Cinnamon Rolls, Cakes, Pies, you name it - I don't need recipes - somehow I just know when it's right.
So this week - I made my Dad's favorite sticky buns and delivered them to a friend for absolutely no reason! She was surprised and we had a good chat.
I miss that guy.