I forgot. For a split second, I forgot he is gone.
I was getting ready for a family dinner party, and just for a second, I got excited to see my dad. Of course he would be coming to celebrate Beau’s birthday.
It passed through me like a flash flood of emotion – happiness, recognition, sadness…guilt.
How could I forget he is dead?
Truth be told it happened to me a couple of times in the beginning. I can remember a week or so after he died, pulling into my parents’ driveway, seeing his car, and thinking – “Oh good, dad’s home!”
Back then, the grief hit me like a brick wall. This time though – seven months later – it was a weird feeling, the not remembering.
I looked it up (as one does) and it turns out this happens all the time to people who have lost loved ones. They pick up the phone to call them, or even begin driving to their house…only to remember their loss, and subsequently feel a cocktail of grief and guilt.
How could we forget that we’re grieving?
Here’s how – we are so conditioned in our patterns; it takes time to rewire those habitual thoughts and actions.
Just because we forget our loved ones are gone, doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten them. It’s quite the opposite, actually.
In fact, it was lovely noticing how many times my dad was mentioned during the gathering. I am so glad we aren’t tiptoeing around his memory. We are all thinking of him – missing him – why not bring him into the conversation?
My sister-in-law talked about how she swears “Papa” helped my nephew to hit a grand slam at his (championship!) baseball game the other night – two outs, two strikes and the bases loaded – WHAM!
I laughed with everyone about how whenever dad would stay with me he would always insist on using the ice-cube maker in my refrigerator door – despite the fact that the thing simply does not work. There would always end up being ice all over the floor, or a stream of water coming from the freezer. Lately every time I open it, a hunk of ice falls out. I laugh every time, thinking of my dad. It feels like we are sharing a joke (and maybe we are).
Maybe having moments in which I forget he’s gone, simply proves that he isn’t.