(Katherine, 25, Mexico City, blog founder)
I don’t feel sad. I feel love and overwhelmingly grateful for what I had and what I still have.
I can’t believe that it has been five years since a police officer brought me the worst news – that my father was gone and that I didn’t get to say goodbye – I didn’t get to say anything. My heart was ripped out, my life stopped. Time stopped.
I can’t believe it has been five years. Looking back on the first moments and first few years, I can’t believe I made it to today. A long process of love and care has brought me to where I am today. I opened a journal this morning from a few years ago to a line that said “I feel embodied by grief, it defines who I am.” It hurts now to read about all of the pain I went through in trying to remember my father, let go of the grief, move on, and redefine myself. I remember the pain that memories brought me for years that I can now think about with feelings of peace and happiness.
I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye, but it was not necessary. Our relationship consisted of love and respect that neither of us wavered from. I feel the essence of my father every day – in strength and love. I strive to be more like him.
Periodically through each day something reminds me of him. Whether it is the smell of a type of food he made, the mention of skiing, a pickup truck, flowers, or many other things. I now smile, say hi, talk about him, and continue to live my life in a way that I know he would be proud. I am not stuck anymore.
When I think about the expanse of the past five years and the various celebrations of his life I have hosted and attended, I am grateful for old friends who have weathered the storm with me, new friends who listen and are patient as I untangle the past five years, and other friends who have lost family members who have come into my life. I know I would have survived the past five years without my friends, but I am glad I didn’t have to. My friends have been the most important part of my healing process, by allowing me to be me in whatever state that was.
So is the five year anniversary of when he died sad? Is it a celebration? For me, today, it is a recognition of life – of my life – and of all that his life gave me. So, today I will call my loved ones and tell them I love them, walk alone in beautiful Mexico City parks, and meet friends for Mexican food and beer – a perfect day to celebrate my dad that he would have loved. I will celebrate what was lost, but also the strength in what remains.
I am not sad, I have wonderful memories of my father and gained more than I could ever put into words from him – but he is missed. I miss him every day and I want to just say thank you to him – for everything.