Three years ago I still remember. The air smelled of coffee that lingered too long, sandalwood, and of a vanilla Glade plug in. When I walked into my old room, my father laid in a hospital bed in the place where I spent most of my childhood. Within two seconds, my husband checked my father’s pulse and told me in three words, “He has passed.” I didn’t believe him. Screaming inside, my mind insisted that my father was still alive. That it wasn’t time yet. The words I didn’t get to say goodbye throbbing in my head. The sadness of that moment enveloped me so much, I was not even aware that my three year old daughter was witnessing my unfiltered pain. It’s a startling pain, one that persists, one that tells you won’t ever be the same again. The grandeur of that sadness doesn’t go away; it just becomes muted as time pushes you to excavate other experiences.
These last two days, I’ve spent time near the ocean. The vastness of the blue, I’ve found, is somewhere I can sink that sadness. I’ve watched my daughter scavenge for sea shells, make sand castles, and enjoy the way the sand moves in-between her toes. She reminds me that there is life. And through her I am able to fully realize that, yes, you can move forward from immense sadness. The rhythm seems right near the water, the back and forth motion of the waves calms any lingering melancholy. As the warm sun hits my face, I understand the grandeur of happiness that I’ve experienced in the last few days. Walking through a meditation garden, sitting on a towel on the beach, and breathing the salty and crisp air near the ocean.
The swing between the grandeur of sadness and happiness is both startling and stunning. When you are immersed in the depths of losing a loved one, you cannot conceptualize that you will ever move on. The sadness of it is too vast. But over the last three years, I’ve really learned that you can. This week my mind drifted toward happier memories that I shared with my father. And as I honored each memory, I decided to eat some of my father’s favorite foods – German chocolate cake, Thai food, masala covered cashews, and potato salad. I also repeated some of his catch phrases that he liked to integrate into his conversations. He often used the words, “round-a-bout, we will see, you listen to me, and something like that.” Remembering some of his quirks, made me chuckle to myself, look up, and smile.
It felt right stepping away from the sadness into the grandeur of happiness.
I know this doesn’t justify your loss – not at all – but at least you had that kind of relationship with your dad that, years later, you still mourn and yearn for. I envy you that. And may you continue to find peace in celebrating his life. What a man he must have been!
Your words resonate with me today, Rudri. And I remember from the previous year that this date is important to both of us as it’s my father’s birthday. Loss is such a huge change to deal with but so much about what life offers can really help us recover in due time.
Rudri, your writer’s voice sings whenever you write about your father. This is a beautiful, bittersweet piece.
Sending love to you among the sadness and the grandeur. xo
I’ve found that with the loss of my mother and, more recently, the loss of my uncle, it seems to bring me happiness to recall the best parts. I, too, am learning to move beyond the sadness. It’s been a long journey with my mother but am trying to continue to resolve the grief that haunts me still.
So sad, your words resonate with me. These last few days my grief comes and goes as memories arise. Hugs to you. So sorry.
Thinking of you, Ru….
You have been beautifully honoring his memory in your writing.
As you move from darkness to light, and sift through the joyful memories of your father in the sun and sand over these past few days, may the joyful thoughts overcome the sadness. I am sure his spirit honors your loving memories and I am so sorry for the loss of this very special person in your life. I hope I will be remembered by those who are close to my heart, the way you remember your dad.
Thinking of you and sending you loads of hugs. Your father sounded like an amazing man and I know he is proud of you and all you’ve accomplished in the last 3 years.
Bittersweet indeed, and beautifully written.
It’s only natural that through loss, we come to appreciate our own children more readily, and hope we will leave our mark on them in positive ways so they too will remember.
I’m sure your father wouldn’t want his loved ones to be drowned in the sea of sadness, but rather celebrate the grandeur of happiness life has to offer.
Welcome. Yes, I agree with you. I’ve slowly realized that my father would not want me to dwell in the reservoir of sadness, but embrace life as completely as a I can.
Thanks for visiting my post and I appreciate your words of support.