Farmer Boy and I went to get groceries yesterday after a weekend of moving Elizabeth to college.
As we were driving he turned to me in his sincere way, that I sometimes dread, and asked, "How are you doing?"
I turned away to look out my window and muttered something like, "fine" or "good", hoping he would stop.
He didn't. He never does. He's masterfully annoying that way.
"It is August you know. Aren't you going to blog about your dad?"
Of course he went there. Of course I didn't. I didn't want to talk about it. But it did make me think and so I guess he won.
August hangs over me like a rain cloud. Not only is it the end of summer and all the joy that summer is, it is another anniversary of losing my dad. It is the month of loss.
My dad was killed in an accident back in 1971. I tell myself to get over it. I didn't know him anyway. I have no memories of him. My mom remarried and I have a man in my life who has always been dad to me. So what's the problem?
And there it is.
The problem that I want not to be a problem.
Does that make any sense?
I simply don't know how to feel about it. I believe it was the turning point in my life because it has shaped everything and yet since I wasn't quite two when it happened, I had no part in the planning of it. I didn't choose it.
I have always known that my 'real' dad died, but I don't know him, I have never known him. Yet if he would not have died, life would not have happened to me the way it has, I would not be sitting where I am right now, married to the person I am married to, be the mother of the children I have, and would not be living in the country I am living in.
This thing that happened, this person that was, affected my personality, my relationship with my mother, my siblings, my husband, with everyone I know, but I don't know how to think about it or him. I don't know how to frame this thing, how to put it into words, how to make a helpful list to throw out into the world on how to deal with death. I honestly don't know.
I've got nothing.
Well. That's not exactly true.
I have tears at odd moments like when Farmer Boy is with his girls and I can't help but wonder what it might have been like.
I have my personality that tends to want to control everything. I blame it on being forced into a vulnerable situation at such a young age and being frightened. To deal with my fear I chose to control, to plan, because if I have a plan, then I can avoid vulnerability, and if I can avoid vulnerability, I won't have to experience fear. I have an inability to manage fear.
I have questions. Lots of questions. I simply want to understand the whole picture but I don't, and I won't this side of heaven.
I have a dear friend Joe who also lost his dad on an August day when he was a kid. He calls or shoots me a text during the month of August. I got this year's version last week and he told me he was struggling with the month. We both hate this month.
I don't think either one has ever offered advice to the other because I don't believe either one of us would know what to say, and yet we simply understand each other in a way no one else, besides our dear siblings, can.
I know that death sucks. It not only hurts the heart, it pierces it, and leaves a scar so horrifying that I rarely want to look at it or touch it. This is not a healing, 'go-away' type scar. It doesn't go away, even with time. It oozes, slithers, warps, twists, and deceives.
It pierces to the point of brokenness which is something I have buckets of.
I am broken.
So very broken.
I have chosen to live with some of the lies and make them my own. I didn't know at the time that I chose to believe a lie but I did. Lies lead to brokenness.
Only something broken can be fixed. Something broken can be put back together again, properly, and so, I get to come to every new day with my arms lifted up to the heavens, offering all my brokenness in the hope that He, the fixer of all things, will take what I offer him and make it whole.
I can't make myself whole. I have no power to fix myself. I have tried but it simply does not work.
I want it to. I want to bend my experience with death, to twist it, and frame it, so I can control it, understand it, and present it to the world as a list of things we can all do to conquer the fear and the pain of death. Maybe I should make it into a presentation or speech to give to a large crowd so they would know that I did it. I took my horrible, oozing, slithering scar, and made it into something presentable.
But I can't.
I can only shed tears when I am alone. I can only stop and stare at the picture I have of my dad and wonder if he'd be proud of me and want to hang out with me. I can only continue to work on allowing myself to be vulnerable and to need people without fearing that they may disappear. I can only keep clawing and climbing my way through brokenness with my hands lifted up every morning, hoping for that one day when His hand will reach down, grab me, and tell me, "Good job my sweet curly girlie. You made it. I know it was difficult but it's been a complete thrill to watch you take every, single, step."
But that's all I've got.