Today is one of those days where I wake up, look at the calendar, and wish I could sleep through until tomorrow.
It is Dad’s birthday today. He’s been gone almost eleven years, but there are certain dates–today, October 16th (the day he passed), and Father’s Day–that still get to me.
The hardest part of losing Dad wasn’t so much the not seeing him part, or the hole he left in our lives. It was watching my sister fill that hole with negativity, self-abuse, and drugs. It was growing up and learning all the things my mother tried to hide from us. Mostly it was learning that the man I idolized wasn’t perfect by any means.
But he was still my father.
Over the years I’ve come to grips with the things my father did to our family. The numerous times we were forced to move because he spent the rent money on things we didn’t need. The verbal and mental abuse done to my mother. The drug use, alcoholism, lack of self-discipline that resulted in his obesity–forcing my mother and I to become his nurses.
Most of it I don’t really remember. My brain functions strangely. If something truly upsets and hurts me, I forget it. Through conversations with Mom, I’ve recovered most of my childhood. The details are hazy, like I’m seeing it all through a layer of cheesecloth. It is probably for the best. Emotions and handling them in a healthy manner are not my strong suit.
I guess I’m just…reflecting on how far I’ve come in eleven years. Days like this don’t completely break me any more. It still sucks. But now I take a few moments to wish Dad a happy birthday, then go on with my day.
It isn’t often I talk about my past. Actually, most people have no damn clue about what’s gone on in my life to make me who I am. Growing up was rough, but I wouldn’t trade in any of the pain, bullshit, poverty, and stress.
I was forged in emotional fire, tempered in bitter cold snow, and came out sharp as a sword to cut out my chunk of this world.