These last few months have been difficult. My level of motivation has been pretty much nowhere to be seen and my patience level has been slim… to almost nothing. I’ve tried not to let the passing of my dad in December to COVID-19 change my life too much. I still have to be a husband, father, colleague, and friend but the weight of what happened makes my shoulders stiff and sore. The only way that his passing would change my life would be that I try to do my best to live my life in a way that my dad lived his life.
In a way, I haven’t completely processed everything that happened for those two weeks in December. As a nation and throughout the world, we were fighting through a pandemic that was and still is killing so many people. The virus doesn’t care whether you are healthy or not let alone the demographics that we identify with. We’ve continued to fight it since the passing of my father and I take every day to try and make people aware of the gravity that is COVID.
In the weeks and months leading up to December 2020, I am on the record for saying, “I wear a mask because I don’t want to be the reason I pass this onto your family members, who then pass it to someone who loses a loved one because of it.” Unfortunately, that happened to me but the reality is that I don’t even hold any ill feelings towards whoever it was that passed it on to my dad. I’m frustrated that there are those who made a choice to not listen to my concerns or that of the people who are studying the virus and how it affects people.
I thought parenting when I had depression was difficult, it had nothing on trying to be a father while grieving the loss of my own father. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and my eyes get a little watery. Each day I step foot into our garage I’m reminded of him. We bought his brand new 2020 Toyota Highlander from his estate. He was so proud of that car and he had some big plans to travel in it and see the world. It’s one of the things that we plan to do to honor him.
It hasn’t been easy handling my father’s estate either. There are days where it could be a full-time job fielding phone calls and signing paperwork. And then there is all of his… stuff. He was the type of person who never would let a piece of paper go. He had checks and bank records dating all the way back to the early 70s. Joseph has asked me several times as we go through my father’s “stuff,”
“Dad, what are you doing?”
Many times, when I explain that I’m going through grandpa’s things his response is, “Oh… grandpa died.” and it tends to make things worse for me internally. Not only is going through box after box a reminder enough of what happened, but then my youngest reminds me on almost a daily basis.
The where, the how, the crazy that happened over Thanksgiving and into December no longer matter at this point. What matters to me is I am here for my family. Where I am now, is that I want to show my boys how great their grandfather was. I want them to know how lucky they were to have him. I want them to know that it’s ok to miss him and we need to continue to live out his legacy.
Parenting through all of this has not been the easiest. I admit that my temper at times spikes… and does so rather quickly. I am having a harder time leaving work at work because it serves as a distraction. When I have a bad day at work, my family can typically tell as I’m more prone to yelling and just being generally grumpy with them about some of the littlest things. It’s mostly on the days that I am having a hard time working through internally the death of my father. There are periods of time when I zone out and think about the memories that I shared with my father. And then there are times that I break down in tears for no reason at all. Then there are all the nightmares that one has living through the moments that lead up to and the time after a traumatic event in their life.
It’s hard for us as men to admit that we are going through a rough time. But when it comes to parenting through the loss of a loved one, it is important to let your kids see you grieve. They need to be able to see that it is OK to be sad and upset but that it is important to see them push through and celebrate the person was.
I’m not guaranteeing that it will be any easier moving forward but when I look back at the man that my father was, I strive to be half the man that he was and that is what I want my kids to see.
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