I suppose I tend to take a hiatus every year around my busy travel season. Usually, it’s because I stop being a productive reader in that time and I’m not sitting down long enough to write. This year, I have a different story, unfortunately.
Two months ago, my dad passed away due to complications from cancer. Sometimes, saying that phrase sounds so bland. Of course, cancer kills people, but if you had seen my dad just two months before he passed, it was like he had made a miracle recovery. He was in great shape, his hair had come back, and besides a lighter appetite, there wasn’t much difference. He would go in for routine chemo, lay low for a day or two, and then get back up. In late August, things just got bad quickly. He spiked a high fever that wouldn’t come down, and after entering the hospital, he was put on assisted breathing within a couple of days, and came in and out of consciousness for a few weeks, until it was obvious that he would not be getting better, and we had to make a decision as a family to let him go and be at peace.
Right after my dad died, I did the only thing I could think to do, which was to return to work. I didn’t have to. My boss gave me open time off, but I wanted something else to focus on. Travel season is busy and solitary. It allows one to escape and focus on one thing at a time, which is all I could manage. I retreated. I numbed, and would only allow myself a few highly emotional moments of grief. While a lot of friends reached out, and I appreciated it, there wasn’t much I could say back to them. I can’t help feeling like I’m missing a part of myself, like a part of my heart is gone. And for everyone who has felt this loss, and is feeling this loss, I’m so sorry. I know that it hurts, and that it hits you at the most random of times, and that hearing a phrase or seeing something particular can just trigger it for you. For me, I don’t know that I can hear Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” without crying ever again. It was his favorite song and one we sang a lot and danced to, often, including at my wedding.
My dad was my champion. He was the best dad a girl could ask for, and I mean that literally, because I think it takes a special kind of man to raise daughters, and he definitely was. He instilled in me my love for reading and my love for learning. He is who I got my talkative nature and people skills from. He loved singing and hearing people sing. And he just loved to call to talk about random things.
In two months, I’ve done a lot: a lot to escape, a lot to reflect, and a lot to grieve. I don’t know if the process is over, but I’m back.