Yesterday, like every other October 26th, I sent a happy birthday up to heaven. When I was eleven, almost eleven years ago now, my father passed away. My world shook, and if I'm honest, it hasn't stopped. It is a copper basin, deep and somber. It echoes when the teardrops drops fall, and they do fall still. It is fresh and old all at once, this grief. It has become a part of me, but it is not me.
I think so often we see people, and ourselves, broken and hurting and we just want to fix them. We want things to be all better. But transformation, wisdom, perspective — these all take time. There’s something to the idea of growing pains. They’re painful, but take away the pain and I would argue you take away the growth. As much as grief sucks, if you dismiss it or rush it, you don’t fully realize the depth of emotion and understanding that comes along with it. People grieve because they care so much, and you can’t just take that away. Tears shed for another person, a broken heart, and destructive world, a lost soul are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.
I know, grief is a freight train, a sucker punch to the heart. But it is not a definition of who we are. We are okay, and we are not this grief. We are not lost in some labyrinth. There is a way out. Maybe we won’t find it today, and maybe we won’t find it at all, but we can never stop fighting. There is a rendition to grief: beautiful, magnificent, amazing rendition of a better tomorrow; of a better next breath; a better next step; a better next thought. There is a rendition here – and that is that we are still living – this is not the end.
We are a living rendition of life goes on. A breathing proof that we are not over yet.
And death, heartbreak, failure, regret, mistakes and every other mishap in life could never touch that.
Loss and pain have no set format, no five step list to be "OK." Grief ebbs and flows like an unpredictable tide, but it is never far from the shore of happiness. Joy and pain for me are part of the same memories, joined together as an inseparable part of my life. When I grieve, I will also laugh and celebrate the imperfect father that taught me to be strong and courageous. I will remember the man who taught me to throw a softball properly and who never let me give more than one hundred and ten. Eleven years of memories are not enough. Eleven years of knowledge shared, wisdom taught, and lessons barely learned are not enough. And yet, that is all that I have to celebrate and hold. So, as always, I will turn my father's favorite music up loud, dance and cry and grieve in my own way.