It’s going to get better.
That was something that I kept telling myself during these last 12 months. It felt as is if I was waking up and saying that to myself and then I would go to bed telling myself that. So many days I would just go through the motions, unable to process the death of my father.
It wasn’t until what would seem like an innocuous phone call with the company that is storing all of my dad’s things that I was finally able to process it. It was as if just the mere thought that we were getting ready to donate all of his belongings that none of the family wanted, was the reality check that I needed.
While there is still so much processing and trying to understand, it was a week after that phone call that I was able to say, “I’m starting to feel like myself again.” I was out on a short 2 mile run over my lunch hour when I stopped looked around and smiled. I was at a point in my run where I would have normally been exhausted. But when I was smile and say to myself that I am feeling better I knew the reality that was hitting.
At some point during the grieving process, I knew I would be able to say that things are starting to get better. I just didn’t know what it was going to take. I knew that I was going to have to just continue to push through the hard times. Would it take me months, years, or longer to grieve, I had no idea. I say had like the grieving process is over, but I know full well that it is far from that.
Up to the point that I was able to say that I’m feeling like myself, none of the hobbies that I enjoyed brought much joy into my life. The thought of picking up my camera to go take photos of my family on a given night exhausted me. Whenever I was thinking about picking up my laptop to do any sort of blogging, I would turn the TV on. This isn’t to say that there still aren’t times when I just want to relax when I know I should be doing something like blogging and or out taking photographs.
My level of energy was next to nothing. The only thing that brought me any sort of joy in my life was coaching. I was given the opportunity to be the head coach for my 9-year-old’s baseball team. It did bring back many memories of my dad coaching me as I grew up but in a way it also served as a distraction from it all. I’d spend hours working on the best lineup and positions for our team. While the teams that I have coached have ended with a losing record, I was channeling my dad in that I wanted to make sure that kids had fun. While at times my competitive streak did come out it was my focus that these kids have fun and want to play next season.
It wasn’t until a night after a particularly hard game during a 6 game losing streak that I was talking to myself in the car. I was telling myself out loud that I didn’t want to be “that” coach. Meaning that I didn’t want to be the coach who parents felt that I played favorites.
But the moment my 5-year-old heard me say, “I don’t want to be that coach” the conversation turned.
“But dad, you can be THAT coach” he said excitedly.
Confused I asked him, “What do you mean?”
“That coach dad.” at which point I look in the rearview mirrot see him pointing to the front of my car.
Still a bit confused, “What coach bud?”
“The coach on that hat.”
It was then that I realized he was talking about my dad’s Los Angeles Dodgers hat that has been sitting on the dashboard of the Toyota Highlander that we bought from his estate. It was at that moment that coaching started to bring me joy. My 5-year-old made me remember back to my dad coaching not to win but to have fun. The coach that would constantly remind us to keep going up to bat even when we are in the midst of a hitless streak. That’s the coach I wanted to be.
That is the person that I want to be, the type of person who even though things are looking bad or that there is no hope that keeps pushing through.
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