Or, Damn, I Miss My Dad...
I sat watching Gray's Anatomy last night enjoying a glass of wine. I knew it was a rerun, but no matter, I missed most of the season anyway. In this episode, George O'Malley's father died. It was a wrenching episode. Made all the more so by Christina welcoming George to the club--exclusive to only those whose father has died. George says that he doesn't know how to exist in a world where his father doesn't. Christina replies yeah, that doesn't get any easier, or something along those lines.
My father died in November 2003 of cancer. He was away from me most of my life due to divorce and bitter rancor. When he died, it was as if a part of me died. I was completely unprepared for the depth of my grief, how long it would persist, and how profoundly it would affect my life.
I still miss him terribly. I hate what Vietnam did to him. I hate that he is dead. I hate how he died. I hate that I didn't get to say good bye. I hate that we took tomorrows for granted, even though we knew he was sick. I love that he introduced me to big red Bordeaux wines. I love the way he said "Love my girl" at the end of every conversation. I love hearing his mild drawl in my mind's ear. I love that he loved my husband. I grieve that my son doesn't know him.
Upon his death, my father left me a tremendous gift: a very large extended family. Were it not for his brothers and sisters and all my cousins who welcomed be back to the family that I had been so long without, I think I would have been lost. I finally could be among people who looked like ME, who were of a similar character. It was the most affirming experience of my life. While I wish life had been different, that my family wasn't so fractured for so damned long, I can't spend too much time in that place. It would tarnish what I have now, and be a gross injustice to my father.