Thursday, November 7, 2013

This is the day

My heart used to ache on this day. This is the day that my father died. This is the day that I received the horrifying call from my sister that I needed to come home, that dad was dead. This was the day that I somehow managed to get from San Francisco to Maine, by myself, with frequent interruptions of nonstop crying. This is the day that I first learned what grief was: real, intense, there's-no-escaping-this grief. This is the day I lost a parent, one of the most familiar and loving people in my life. This is the day. November 7. It comes every year.

This is my 9th year of recognizing this strange anniversary. It's strange to have "a day" that stands out among your other days, and stranger still to be able to comparatively track your own heart's grief. This used to be a terrible day for me. Grief used to be so palpable, so on edge of my heart that simply noticing it would release a well of tears. But things have changed, and my heart has taken that grief and processed it. Slowly and gently, grief transformed. Slowly and gently grief lost its hold to gratitude. Slowly and gently I arose from underneath those sad waters and I had a healing in my heart, and a better understanding for the immensity of grief and love.

Today is the day that my father took his journey to the other side. It is the day that his soul left his failing body, released to freedom and to a place that all of us will one day visit. I'd love to know where he is. Does he still exist? Is he ever present or he is only alive as energetic memory?  I don't know. But what I do know is that what happens when we LIVE is carried on in so many innumerable ways, pulsing and taking new forms far after we die.

Today I want my sister and brother and mom to know how much I love them. And to dad, if you're still checking in...thanks. You made me a better person. I miss you. I love you. And I am so grateful that YOU were my dad.

- Summer


Mike said...


M Reep said...

Losing my mom was the first terrifying loss for me. It's been 13 years. Other losses have come, more will soon follow. Some years, I can remember with joy, other years are my weepy ones. Thank you for your thoughts on grief, loss and living on.

Karie Ouellette said...

Hi there. I don't know you, however, I came across your blog via a friend's facebook and had to comment to thank you. I shared this post with my sister because it is so shockingly similar to our "day" and so very well said. She called me to tell me dad was dead and the next thing I knew I was on a plane from Colorado to Maine. Although I too no longer ache so badly on "the day", 8 years later, that "day" was just the beginning of the heartache. Ten-thousand thank-yous for writing and sharing this. You may never know how much empathy it has blossomed.

Summer Nicklasson said...

Karie, thank you so much for this lovely comment. It's hard to lose people we love, and I'm so glad you found some empathy in this post. Hugs!