Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Dad,

Mentioning your death in social situations is such a mixed bag. Sometimes it is uncomfortable because people want to say something sympathetic or empathetic, which is quite sweet and kind, but often makes me want to disappear. It's like I want to be able to say "my Dad died" and then teleport back to my room where no one can say "Oh, I'm so sorry" even though I know they mean it and are being considerate and caring. Other times it can be angering because people often want to do their own teleportation away from the subject. Death is something that most people do not want to discuss. So when it's mentioned it's a "oh please get me out of here now and away from this horribly awkward subject!" type of situation. And I can't blame them, it's no fun. But sometimes it pisses me off that they don't ask when you died or how it happened. I mean, it's a pretty major thing, shouldn't they at least pretend to care?

But sometimes it can be a thing that connects me to another person. Because they have lost someone too. Sometimes a father. Tonight I was in a social situation and I mentioned your death in front of someone I know lost his father when he was quite young. To be honest, I mentioned it on purpose. I am hoping that he and I will get to talk about it eventually. But I am nervous to just say to him "Hey, both of our Dads died, can we talk about this?" Because I feel like it might be good for us to talk to each other, even though there are some major differences surrounding the deaths of our fathers. I guess I just wanted to say it out loud in front of someone who knows what it's like as opposed to in front of people who can just sympathize from a theoretical place. Not that their sympathy isn't genuine, but you know what I mean.

I guess the truth of it is, sometimes I want to talk about your death a lot. For hours. I feel like it's such a difficult subject that so much of it gets locked away inside me. That's part of why I write these virtual letters to you. I know this means I should possibly seek out a support group, but I don't know if I am ready for that scale yet. I have friends that I can sit around with and talk about various subjects for HOURS. But I feel like this is The Subject We Don't Do That With. But I know that's why I brought up your death tonight in front of that specific person. Maybe he will be someone who can talk about it with me. And we can say "death" and "died" and "dead" and not hide behind "passed away" or "lost my/your father". I know those phrases can be good in certain tactful situations, but they usually seem like cop outs to me.

Well, this is not my cheeriest of letters to you by far. And it's a bit disjointed. But see, you showed up in my dream last night and that is always both welcome and throws me out of whack for the day. It makes that low-level hum of grief that's always playing in the background turn up a bit louder and make itself heard. But that doesn't mean you can't be in my dreams tonight if you want to. Because I'd rather have that mental visit than nothing at all.

Goodnight Dad, I love you,


jason said...

these are beautiful posts.

Dear Dad said...

Thank you Jason. It's nice to know that someone is reading and feeling it.