This is the fifth post of six in a series called Life Without Dad that will be made throughout 2012 about my life without my father. The first part, Life Goes On, was posted back on January 25th. The second part, Urgency & Complacency, was posted on Fathers Day. The third part Reflection & Respect, was posted on his birthday (September 4th). The fourth part, Sacrifice & Opportunity, was posted on Thanksgiving. The last part will be posted on New Years. The loss of a parent is never easy, the loss of the parent who you didn’t necessarily get along with but were always able to talk to is even harder. Thank you to all of my family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances for your support during this, the, first year of the rest of my life.
My father passed away one year ago. Christmas Eve Day marked one year since he died but he was on life support for four days before we confirmed our lost hope for his full recovery as a family and a lot has changed in the last year. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that the family is seeing my new attempt at independence as awkwardness.
Dad, over Thanksgiving I spent a good amount of time with the family and a few hours before Frieda left to go back to California her and mom mentioned to me that I, “am awkward”. When I asked them why they feel that way all they said was, it is awkward to be around me.
Dad, there are two reasons this comes as a major news to me. First, they are my family, of everyone I know they should be the most accepting of my awkwardness since they have known me my whole life and not judge me for it. Second, I am an adult and I no longer feel a need to talk to them about my issues and mistakes that I am making.
Dad, the truth is if you were still with us I would be bringing these issues and mistakes to you. For the first 24 years of my life any time I came and asked you for your time you were there to listen to what was on my mind and give me advice in a non-judgmental way. Masood and Frieda have always been willing to listen but they can also be very hard on me at times and being an adult now I have decided that I do not need to report my entire life to them.
Dad, I left mom out of that intentionally. I left mom out because it was not until about a year before you passed away that mom started to be hard on me and she only got hard yet on me over the ten months after you passed away that I was still living at home. Since moving out at the beginning of November she has really loosed up on me and reverted back to be more like she was a couple years ago. Dad, I like the feeling of knowing that she is there to listen to me and hearing me out before giving her advice and opinion and not judging me for the mistakes I have made along the way.
That said, there is still a lot that I have to tell her that I am not ready to tell her yet. Dad, when I am ready I will tell her. I am hesitant to tell her a lot of things because she is very quick to judge me and not very careful where it comes to my feelings.
Dad, you always understood that I was being myself. I think in the last year since you passed away the family has failed to put themselves in my shoes and realize that I am a 24 year old MAN who just lost his father and thus failing to attempt to understand what your death has actually done to me.
Dad, you were able to work around your frustrations with me in conversation without letting on that you were frustrated. Dad, while I am working on changing my communication style this is something that will take a long time to change and as a result I feel that it is time for the family to learn how to adjust. Unfortunately, though, I can not change them and they can not change me. We can only change our selves and ask others to adjust to how we are changing, it is up to them if they they decide to adjust or not.
Dad, you were the only one in this family who truly understood me; Even though I never showed, through my actions, while you were alive that I was grateful to you for everything you did for me, I am going to show it, through my actions, moving forward. Dad, I know deep down that even though you can no longer convey cryptic messages to me such as that night in early November after my interview in Crystal Lake, when in passing you said, “Einstein was a slow starter too”, that you are still watching over my left shoulder wishing you could; I have every bit of confidence that when I see you in the afterlife you will be able to praise me for taking care of mom, Masood, and Frieda the in same way you took care of us for the last 34 years. Dad, thank you for being the role model you were and teaching me to never give up.
Dad, the only lesson that will ever mean more to me than the lesson of reflection is that of RESPECT. This is something that I definitely still have my issues with and it is something I continue to work on. But these are two lessons you taught me that I continue to live by. I reflect daily on the times where I failed to respect someone else or myself and those reflections are helping me make tremendous strides to be more respectful to everyone around me.
RIP Dad. September 4, 1944 – December 28, 2011.