You would have turned seventy this month. That’s right 7-0.
Seventy on the seventh.
I still remember your face when your walked into the restaurant for your surprise 60th that Mum threw for you. I remember the tears of gratitude that filled your eyes as you looked around the room and saw all your family and friends sitting there just to celebrate you. I never imagined that it would be your last big party.
To be honest – I am still pretty angry that you had to leave us.
I know that eight years on people are probably thinking that I should be past the anger stage by now, but every now and then it comes in like a giant tidal wave and completely wipes me out with such intensity.
And I never ever see it coming so I’m never fully prepared.
I never used to swear this much. And I never used to struggle with the massive anxiety that I have had ever since the strongest and most loving man I ever knew closed his eyes for the last time on this earth.
Death really sucks big ones.
Right now, it’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting in my driveway in my car that’s got an empty petrol tank that I couldn’t be bothered filling.
The engine is on and I expect it to die very soon but I need the air conditioning turned on because I can’t open the windows due to the shouting I’ve been doing, and the manic banging of my fists on the passenger seat in total frustration.
Its all slightly insane but oddly cathartic to be so geographically close to my family but so far away emotionally.
They haven’t found me yet and I’m not ready to go inside and adult or parent. I want to get this out of me before I explode and end up hurting someone else by reflex.
The grief is crippling me at this moment and I just don’t know what else to do with it so I’ll scream until I lose my voice or one of the neighbours calls the police.
I kid of course .. Writing to you is calming me. It’s helping me feel heard and valued. It’s allowing me to purge this anger a little and make room for the peace that my soul craves.
I’ve become a bit of an expert at pretending, but Mum knows the truth. She wants me to go and get some grief counseling. But I just don’t know that I can ever trust another counsellor again after the marriage counselling went catastrophically badly and almost ruined me. Ruined us – ruined my hope and my belief in human nature.
I want to go back on the medication that I despise because I need to once again be numb.
I need to not feel so much and I need to be able to function again.
I’m going to be ok Dad, don’t worry about me.
But I would give anything to have you put your arms around me one more time and tell me that ‘God’s got this kiddo’.
Because Sunday’s are always the worst day of the week for me. I just can’t do church anymore – I can’t keep pretending for the sake of not making other people feel awkward at my outbursts.
So I’m going to sit here in this hot car and wait for Jesus to come meet me where I’m at.
Because that’s what you would have told me to do. Because you raised me right .
I love you. I always have and I always will.