The world around me moves on. Everyone goes to work. They go to bed at a decent hour, get up early…or late. They skip breakfast, rushed lunches, and lonely dinners. For friends and family, their world was upset, but as of now, just a small piece of their heart is missing. They will see something that will remind them of my dad, they will smile, and move on. Their life has changed, but only slightly. It’s not something they think about constantly, it’s just another passing thought.
For me, the thought is constant, all day every day. I sale a fidget spinner at work and I think of how my dad loved those stupid things. Someone talks about going fishing and I am reminded that my dad really wanted to go fishing again. Someone asks a question about how to get rid of ants in their yard and I recall my dad walking around the yard with a gas can and a lighter, burning all the ant hills he could find. Someone has car issues and I instantly think “my dad can fix that.”
The world continues on, nothing much has changed for people that didn’t see my dad everyday. But for my mom, brother, and myself, or norm has been flipped upside down. Our norm was 4 people and a dog. Our norm was leaving my dad and the dog at home while we did things around town or got dinner because daddy didn’t like going out much and “someone has to stay with the dog.” That was his excuse for not leaving the house anyways. Our norm was bringing home food to my dad after we ate out. Our norm was coming home after work and my dad having dinner ready for us.
But we have a new norm now. We are 3 people and a dog. The dog now has to sit at someones feet or sit in her chair if no ones lap is available, because daddy’s lap was always available for her. We now go out to eat and leave the dog home alone, or my brother uses it as his excuse to stay home. We no longer bring food home for my dad, and only sometimes bring home food for my brother. When we go on vacations, the dog will have to stay in the hotel alone, because I still won’t leave her with someone, at home, or at a doggy daycare place.
Our new norm is something I am still trying to wrap my head around. It doesn’t feel real. It hurts like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. My new norm is constantly worrying about losing someone else in my life. My new norm is being scared to death that I will not survive another death in my family right now. I can’t lose another grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin. I can’t lose my dog and I shouldn’t worry about that because she is only 3. But my new norm is realizing that no matter how safe you think you are, death will find you in some way. But can my heart take anymore pain?
What I have realized through all of this is that the human heart is the strongest thing in the world. I know I am not the only one that has survived a parent. Some people have lost both of their parents younger than what I am now. And I am so sorry to all of you that have. I understand your pain now and I want nothing more than to hug you. But so many have survived and moved on and done great and wonderful things in their lives, even after a devastating loss. Our hearts can handle it. Our hearts can be broken into a million pieces and crushed into the ground and we pick it up and put it back together. We may not have all the pieces again, but it’s enough to function, to move on, to be happy again.
I am part of a new world and I don’t like it, I don’t want to know this world yet.
I am not sure if I am happy yet…I feel like I will never be happy again for more than a few seconds. But I am trying. I am moving on like my dad would want.
Better yet, I am writing again. And not just writing, but researching. My dad told me a story once, it was a dream of his, and he wanted me to write the story so bad. I would roll my eyes at him and laugh. I wish I had worked on it sooner, but I know this is what he wants me doing right now. I am a writer and I have found my muse again. My heart break has brought me back into my element and I know my dad will take this walk with me.