The Circle of Life

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This morning, this was the first status I saw on my newsfeed on Facebook from a friend that shall remain anonymous:
Today, I realized my dad has been gone for exactly half of my life. That realization and looking at the complicated woman I am today, wondering if he'd be proud and knowing I can't ever dialogue with him again had me choked up for a while at work. Losing a parent is like cutting off an arm and still being expected to function properly.
Now this friend is young, younger than me. And her dad has been gone for exactly half her life! I sat there, at the bus stop, stunned. I know the grief I feel and I had my dad in my life for 41 years. So I cannot even imagine losing him when I was 20. The relationship between a father and daughter is so important. For most women, it determines what kind of man she will seek and end up with. To a daughter, a father is the ultimate example of what a man is. So when a father is absent or not fully present in every way, it's the daughter that suffers. Because she will always look for what she missed in her relationship with her father when looking for a man.

When I read the part of this status where she calls herself a complicated woman and how she links that with the death of her father, I was so moved because I thought, wow, I was pretty damn lucky to have my father for as long as I did. He may not get to be at my wedding or hold his grandkids but he did see me graduate from high school and go on to be the first one in our family to graduate from college. He saw me travel the world and relished in the fact that his baby girl was out there, living life. He loved to hear my stories about where I have been or what I was doing. So today, instead of dwelling on his absence in my life now, I thought of how much I did get to share with him while he was here. Some don't get that privilege.

And as I thought this, I was outside waiting at the bus stop with my mom and I looked up at the beautiful blue sky with the perfectly placed clouds. I felt so close to him in that moment. Dad and I always had this thing about clouds but we didn't know we were connected in that way while he was alive. After he died, I found a bunch of old pics he had taken when I was a kid and they were all of clouds and planes. He was an aspiring photographer. He was a man of hobbies and photography was his main one. I take pics of clouds all the time, have been for years. But I never knew that my dad did the same thing so many years ago. If that ain't the circle of life, I don't know what is. I am my father's daughter and I continue to see evidence of that every day of my living.

So while at the bus stop, after looking at the sky, I then looked at my mom and stared at her for a minute and tears streamed down my face. She didn't notice because I had my big Audrey sunglasses on. I looked at her and my heart swelled. Our relationship has had its ups and downs over the years and I was always closer to my dad. But at that moment, I realized that she is still here and I need to celebrate that. And I cannot even imagine how I will cope when it is her time to go. But I will. However, she is still here so I need to focus on that. I need to spend as much time with her as I can while I can. Because as I saw on FB this morning, I am one of the lucky ones. I had my dad for 41 years and I still have my mom.

The last sentence is so true: "Losing a parent is like cutting off an arm and still being expected to function properly." That sums up how it feels to lose a parent.  I am still determined to find a way to function properly. Things won't ever be the same. I won't ever be the same. But there has to be a way. Because I am still living for a reason. And I am so determined to do what I was destined to do in this life. I want to live as much as I can...laugh as much as I can...and see the world. I want to get married and have babies. I don't care what people say, how I am too old or whatever. It's going to happen - all of these things. Because I believe that they will and I am speaking them into existence.

Just when I thought I could not appreciate life any more than I do, seeing that FB status made me appreciate it even more. Love you, Daddy.

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