This past May 5th, my father passed away.
Even though he'd been in delicate health for years, and on an intellectual level I'd come to understand that we wouldn't have him for a whole lot longer, when the end came it was nonetheless surprising, shocking, and incredibly painful.
The week he died was dizzying, exhausting, poignant, frustrating, neverending, and now, thankfully, over. To see my dad committed to the earth from whence my people believe he came - to be asked to take a shovelful of that earth and cover my dad's coffin with it - was almost too much to bear.
I'm not the first person to lose a parent. I know that it is nature's way, if she is kind, that one loses one's parents.
But even though I'm fast approaching 40, I find myself a little bit lost without my father. He'd long since stopped providing anything to me aside from his love and unconditional support, but I still have moments when I ask myself just what the hell I'm going to do without his steadying presence in my life. With no disrespect to my mother, who raised us well and in a house full of love and happiness, it was my dad who taught me the big life lessons - what it really means to be a man, how one should act even when no-one is looking, that kind of thing. He very much made me the man I am and now he is gone, irrevocably and permanently.
And, eleven days after the fact, there are still days where it all seems a little too much to bear. Everyone I hear from who's lost a parent says the same exact thing: You never stop missing them, ever ever ever. The pain might lessen but it just never goes completely away. And that seems awfully big to me - maybe a little too big right now.
My mother, my brothers, and I will all eventually normalize. I am aware of the amazing healing power of Father Time. I wish life had a fast-forward button, but as it is we're all just going to have to drag our asses through each day until memory brings a smile instead of a lump in one's throat and a tear to one's eye.
Thanks for listening. Do me a favor: if you still have your parents, give them a big hug when you see them.