Loss doesn't end. I am not saying that to be pessimistic nor do I mean that it is always a horrific struggle. What I mean is this: When someone is in your life, they are a constant presence. So how can they not be a constant loss when they leave us? It just makes sense that they would be.
I have had a sad week. I am not saying that to gain sympathy nor do I mean that I haven't had some wonderful moments. But the past few days were some in which I was in the whirl of missing my Dad and it covered most things with a layer of grey soot.
However, the reason I entered this sadness came from something warm and moving. A photo my Mom had given to my daughter had been altered at some point. She added a heart to it and the heart reads: I miss you.
It made my heart stop when I came across it because she said my words. She said my feelings so simply. I knelt on her rug with my hands filled with her toys and scraps and crayons, trying to clean her always messy room, and I let the tears slide down my cheeks as I stared. I let the mess fall a bit, from my hands, from my lungs, from my heart, because really. What is the use of trying to pick it all up? Some just has to fall and stay down all around us. We don't have to carry every bit of loss with us.
I had been avoiding my mom as I always do when I am feeling sad. Always certain that the thing to do is not share it with her. And when I call her, kicking and screaming, and I hear her voice, I know I just have to tell her. And I know she just has to hear it. We both feel better after. Someone to mirror your grief.
Realizing the loss extends past me seems obvious, but I think we can get wrapped up in it, trying to contain it and layer it away in our own selves. Seeing the photo in Evie's room- her simple announcement to whoever should hear it- brought me back to the day I told her that her Da was dying. All my children had their significant reactions. Brendan just laid down on the floor when I told him I was on my way to say goodbye to Da. Colleen kept her quiet presence, afraid to move, afraid to cry.
But Evie. She rounded on me with all the anger and sadness I felt in me screeching out of her. She was the mirror of the little girl losing her Dad with all the rage I would have never shown. When she pointed at me and said, her diaphragm shaking her words out, "You don't go say 'Goodbye' to him. You go there and tell him that I say 'Hello'. You tell him 'Hello!'" I wanted to scream and kick the stuffing out of my bed. I wanted to let my face get chapped and my hair get knotted and my sorrow to send me into a fitful sleep from which I would rise out of later, confused.
Thankfully, she did that for me, too, when I got home and told her that he was gone.
A friend wrote me last night about how she misses her mom. I was grateful for her words so I could share my sadness, too. She wrote how she thought that by now it would have lessened. We all hear that the pain of loss will get better with time, but I find that inaccurate having barely got my feet wet in this. The pain and the missing will happen always as the person we have lost will always be lost. It just learns to visit you at certain times. And in those times I am learning to poke my nose out of my hole to find someone else who is feeling it, too.
I miss him. I will miss my Dad for my forever.