After my dad passed away last week, I was unsure of how to feel. I mostly felt at peace because he was sick, and he was old. He had lived through the loss of his wife, my mother, 3 years ago and was ready to join her. And I felt okay with that. It felt promising even, for a girl with little faith.
But after the memorial service yesterday, I mostly just feel alone. What do you do as a young twenty-something, in the midst of the most confusing time of her life? We are buying our first home. Eventually having kids, maybe? So who do I get to turn to, to ask questions when I am lost? To call in the middle of the night when I feel like giving up? To show up unannounced and know that they are unconditionally happy to see me?
Even if my dad was sick and old, he was still my dad and that meant something to me, even if he didn't always know who I was. But my brother said something in his eulogy yesterday that struck me. He was talking about how sad he was for Dad and for his son that they wouldn't have a relationship because his son is so young. But then he realized that he would be mostly sad for himself, because Brady won't understand that he doesn't get that relationship with his Grandpa and therefore wouldn't think he was missing out. It is a purely selfish reason to feel sad that Dad won't get to be there for my new experiences, or that Mom has already missed some of them. My parents aren't sad... because they aren't alive. I am sad for me. But I think I should get to be. This is where the whole, "who am I, what am I doing" aspect of my emotions come to bat. I don't feel like a whole person anymore.
But Joey has been there for everything. He knew my mom, and he watched her die. He knew my dad, he said goodbye to him too. He promised them both that he would take care of me and I know without a doubt that he wasn't saying it for show. He really is going to make sure that I know I am loved every second of every day. And by god, I am going to make it difficult. I know me. I know how I act in the face of adversity. I shut down. I want space. I need to lash out, to feel the guilt that follows. Because I get numb. And any emotion is better than emptiness. And I hate that I do it. I hate even more that I do it to him. But he understands, and he still loves me. Unconditionally.
I can honestly say that I am ready to put this part of my life behind me. No, I will never forget my parents. I will never not love them, either of them, for as long as I am still alive. They are a part of me and I am forever grateful. But now, now I need to focus on myself and Joey. I need to make this chapter of our life even better. And what better way to start out than with the purchase of our first home? A place that we can call home, we can hopefully start a family in, even if we just give that dog thing a try again. I am ready to grab life by the horns and stop playing chicken with my emotions.
I won't give up. Even if the skies get rough.