Sunday, March 13, 2016

At a Loss

Some days you don't get to pick your attitude.  I know there is many a pithy quote to be found on Facebook about choosing a positive thought and about how all you can control is yourself so you have only yourself to blame if you are not happy.

Well, when things are on an even keel, sure.  Some days, though, we need to cut ourselves some slack if we don't have the energy to force some more noble perspective.

My birthday is this week and I'm not feeling good about it.  It's my first birthday without my dad.  His birthday would have been on Easter this year and it's the first one of his since he died.  I don't like these kinds of firsts.  I keep tearing up unexpectedly.  I can go weeks at a time at this point where I don't think of dad in terms of loss, just in terms of pleasant memory, but not this weekend.

He still shows up in my dreams, and I get reminded in them every time that he's really dead.  I'll be laughing with him, cuddled up the way we used to do, and then my brothers or my mom will be there and make sure I remember he's supposed to be gone.  I wake up crying.

I don't want him to be gone.  I miss my dad.

I miss everybody.  My brothers and mom are too far away and hard to stay in touch with.  There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about calling my grandma.  I feel like my kids are growing up way too fast and as much as I love seeing who they have become I miss my babies.  Ian and I have to resort too much on tag-teaming all the work and parenting responsibilities so we don't have the time with each other that we should.

I'm feeling lonely this coming birthday in way I haven't in the past.  Lonely and overwhelmed.  And even when I do try to put a positive spin on the day, that doesn't change the fact that I will never see my dad again.  That's having trouble sinking in since his absence doesn't impact the function of my daily life.  Only these odd milestones bring  home what's really happened, what I've really lost.  I can't just "choose" happy.

This weepy stretch will fade, I know.  They always do.  But I'm amazed every day how even a good life, the best life, can be hard.


  1. What strikes me about this is how you seem to have thought it out so well, how aware of your own feelings you seem to be. I think what you are experiencing is normal, and has nothing to do with choosing a better attitude. Sometimes self-care means valuing our negative emotions along with the positive ones. And just months after your fathers death seems like a healthy period of time in which to be acknowledging that all of life is not a gigantic smile fest. I hope that as time goes on you feel less grief, but I'll send a hug over the toobz until then.

  2. Once again, beautifully said. Sending love.

  3. I'm glad you are being gentle with yourself and I hope you are surrounded with others who recognize your feelings are normal and not just something you can snap yourself out of.

  4. My parents, at 87, are fading, and I know I'm going to be missing them some day in the not-too-distant future. Like you, I live pretty far away from them, so they aren't part of my daily life. I've been making more visits to see them, and I'm glad I am, even if sometimes I end up feeling a bit of resentment at all the travel time.

    Rob and I are sort of just coming out of the period of parenting you are describing, where you never seem to see each other. There's so much to do, you can no longer do things together --you have to split it up or it won't get done. And we only have one kid! Emma is 15, and will be taking driving lessons this summer. Already she's not at home so much anymore, and Rob and I have had time to reconnect. It's been really nice --it's probably not much help to hear that right now, and I'm sure you already know it intellectually, but that time will come again.

  5. Sending love and comforting thoughts. Loneliness is not fun, especially around life's milestones. I hope you have some time to reconnect with your kids, Ian, etc. soon. xoxo

  6. I'm going to say Happy Birthday here even though it seems strange to put it on this post- but there are already a lot on Facebook. The birthday wishes are simply for a better year than this last one and not at all a suggestion that you should choose happiness today, when your circumstances are clearly not the sort for that.

  7. Happy birthday, Korinthia. I feel this sadness, every day. My mother passed away 2 years ago, and she was always the first to call. Sometimes I can't believe she's gone. I'll be at the store, and pass the chocolate eclairs that she loved so much, and just about fall to my knees with the blow of her absence. It's hard, this life without the ones we love since the day we were born. It's heartbreaking. Sending you love.

  8. Thanks to everyone for all the thoughtful comments. They helped.

    The day before my birthday I got to go to a beautiful quartet concert, so that was my present to myself. And even though I had to work all day on my actual birthday I skipped an evening rehearsal in order to stay home with my kids and make a "ruffled milk pie" which sounds awful, but Quinn and I saw Martha Stewart make it on PBS and it looked yummy. And it was! Although we are renaming it "crinkle custard pie" because that sounds better. So not an eventful day, but the best kind of ordinary.

    I'm feeling better. Being able to write about when I'm down certainly contributes to my feeling better. Thanks again to everyone who reads what I put here.

  9. Dear Korinthia, I come hear to your pages quite regularly, (I've liked your writing since Babble) and although I am not much of a commenter we "talked" about teaching when you wrote about your challenges with Mona. Anyway, I want to say that I hope you and your family are fine and I hope you had a nice Easter. Just wanted to say that since I missed congratulating you on your birthday. Hope you are well. Wishing you all the best,