It’s been a year now since my Baba departed this world into the next. Since his death, I wrote several blog posts about him or with significant mention of him:
- A Daughter’s Pain in Losing Her Father
- A Daughter Losing Her Father: Six Months Later
- We Stood on the Shoulders of Our Forefathers
Writing about my feelings over the past year has helped me. The simple act of getting what’s on the inside to the outside is helpful, of course. But more importantly, the comments I’ve received on my posts either directly on the blog or through discussions with family and friends has helped me learn that what I’m going through is normal. I had never really seen people in mourning. Mourning is such a private thing. Too many people don’t share it, including me. I share it through my writing. But I find it extremely difficult to share it by visibly displaying it. I suppose we don’t want to burden others with our pain. Or maybe we don’t want to appear weak. Or perhaps we know that life is already hard enough for everyone; we might as well deal with our own issues internally so others can get on with their own lives and issues.
Whatever the reason, we tend not to share our mourning with others. And the result for many of us is that we don’t understand the process and we find it difficult to deal with it. This is why I’m going to continue to write about this until I feel I don’t want to anymore. Many people have arrived at my blog by doing a simple Internet search using keywords such as “father”, “death”, “passing away”, etc. This means that there are people out there that need to understand their own mourning process through learning from the experiences of others. I know that I’ve learned much from my readers’ comments. I thank them dearly.
This past year has been very difficult for me. It doesn’t seem to be getting easier. I had expected it would. I thought time heals. It hasn’t; at least not yet. I remember my Baba all the time. Sometimes when I remember him it puts a big smile on my face. Most of the time it causes me to break down crying. I miss him more than I could ever describe. I’ve probably already said this in a previous post: it feels like I have a phantom limb. It feels like a part of me has been amputated but the rest of my body will not acknowledge its absence. I know he’s there. I just know it. But then I look for him and he’s gone. It’s a horrible horrible feeling. This feeling actually makes me feel thankful sometimes. I’m thankful that God knows my limits. Some people have to deal with the loss of more than one family member at the same time. I don’t want to imagine what that must be like. I am fortunate. God is teaching me about death slowly. I would not manage learning the lesson any other way.
I still dream about Baba. But they are more normal dreams as opposed to the dreams of burials that I had in the early days of his death. They are dreams of him still being in my life. He’s just there. And it’s nice to have him back that way. It’s a blessing.
I think the worst of it is when something triggers my memory of difficult times my father went through. This happened last night. A family event reminded me of an incident, several months before my father’s death, that caused him real heart break. He cried for days. My cousin called me while I was in the midst of an emotional breakdown remembering this. “Uncle Abbas is not worrying about these things now,” he told me. “He knows all the details about this incident now and more,” he continued. “And he could care less about them.”
My cousin was right. I know he’s right. This leads me now to understand that sometimes we continue to carry our loved ones’ pain with us even after it has gone away for them. Their pain is as alive in our hearts now as it was in their hearts then. It is for me, at least. I wish I knew how to release that pain. I don’t. This is a lesson I still need to learn.
My father’s death makes me think about my own death when the time comes and the effect it will have on my children. I want them to know how much I love them. I want them to know they are the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. If anyone ever tells them that I was angry at them for doing one thing or the other I swear to God I will haunt that person forever. My children are and have always been perfect. My children need to know that they are free to do with my memory as they please. They can keep it to themselves or they can share it with the world. Their memories of me and their experiences with me are theirs to own and no one else’s. I continue to feel guilty that my father died in a hospital. He wanted to die in his own bed. We had no choice but to take him to the hospital. I know my Baba won’t be angry with us about that. But it still hurts me to think about it. It hurts me immensely. I want my children to know that whatever happens, there is nothing they can do that will make me angry with them (except the fact that they never clean their rooms anymore…that makes me angry!). I want them to live their lives to the fullest. I want them to know they can do whatever it is they want to do with their lives. If they need to be far away from me to do that, then so be it. If they don’t speak with me frequently because they are busy with their own personal stuff, it’s all right. I’ll be all dramatic about it. I know I will. I’ll throw temper tantrums when I don’t get a call once a week from each and every one of them. I promise. But all I really want is for them to be happy. I want them to know that I’m here for them whenever they need me. I had that with my Baba. I always knew I had that. He gave me my sense of security no matter how far away we were from each other. I was blessed.
Kids, when I die, bury me whatever way you see fit and wherever you think is most suitable. At this stage I have no after-death instructions. I may have figured it all out later in life. If not, just do what you think is best. I’ll be dead so it won’t really matter to me. The only important after-death instruction from me is for you to be happy and to live your lives the way you want to. I’ll be happy no matter what you do as long as you do what you want to do.
A final note to the readers of my blog: my kids don’t read my blog as far as I’m aware. So when I die, can you please direct them here? :-)