We buried my Dad today. The wooden box chosen as an urn looked very small. Smaller, even, than the last time I saw it. And we left him there with his parents and maternal grandparents. Family in a family town.
It’s hard to believe it was so long ago, and such a short time ago, that we got the news and started reacting.
When I went in to see him at the visitation I talked to him and I told him how angry I was, because I wasn’t done with him. We weren’t done yet. My daughter wasn’t done with her Grandpa yet – and dammit he was a better grandfather than he was a father.
It occurred to me today that part of the reason I wasn’t done is that I have now lost a huge part of myself I still had to figure out.
We were getting there. I was getting over being angry and wanting him to be someone that he just wasn’t. I had figured out that a lot of the barrier between us was my own doing.
So now I’m sitting in regret. Regret for things I will now never be able to fix.
Why did it take me so long to realize that he didn’t have pictures of me up around his house because I had never given him any?
Why didn’t I ask him to please stay for pictures after my wedding?
Why didn’t I get pictures of him with my daughter every time they were together?
Why didn’t I ever get a chance to apologize and ask for an apology?
But there are things I’m glad of and lessons to learn. And because I know how much like him I am, I also know the strength I had. I can find his confidence, his determination.
When he was in his 60s his doctor told him he had to change his entire life – every habit – if he didn’t want to die. And he did. Somewhere in me, there is that. I just have to dig a bit.