Today I’m going to visit my dad at the cemetery.
This isn’t something that I talk about a lot, but Father’s Day brings me a lot of emotional pain.
My father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly just a few days after I celebrated my 28th birthday a couple of years ago. It turned my life upside down.
— Mary (@SwatchAndLearn) June 17, 2012
He was the ‘glue’ to our family – the backbone. Without him, we really fell apart. We’re constantly trying to put back the pieces even now, but it definitely doesn’t feel the same at all.
Whenever Father’s Day rolls by, I always feel very depressed and bitter because I feel like I’ve been cheated. I try to stay strong, talk about the happy and funny memories I have of him whenever I can and try to keep his legacy alive, but that doesn’t seem good enough. I miss him so much. There’s an emptiness that can’t be filled by anyone else.
There are some things you can never understand how it feels like until you’ve been through it. Writing a eulogy about your father during a time of extreme grief is one of them. And then reading it at the visitation is another. It feels like you didn’t do any justice.
I’ll never forget when I saw the box containing the ashes of my father as we drove to the cemetery to put him in the niche. It’s crazy how a small little box can hold a person who you love so much.
My father was the best. We got along so well. We shared a silly sense of humour, a love of music and movies, and we had a strong connection and emotional understanding.
Even though it’s been a couple of years since his passing, I still cry about this even though I know that tears don’t bring anyone back.
And…you know how people say, “Sorry for your loss”? I like to think that I didn’t ‘lose’ my dad. I found him. He was in the same place he always was: my heart. As cheesy as it sounds, this was one of the many revelations I’ve had since his passing, and it comforts me greatly.
Also, since he passed away, I changed the wallpaper on my cellphone to a photo of him so that wherever I go, he’s ‘with’ me. There have been times when I felt like giving up, felt frustrated, or felt nervous, and I look at his photo on my phone, and it makes me feel better.
Something you may not have known is that Swatch And Learn was created on July 25, 2010. That was just a few months after my father passed away. Initially it began as a collaboration with my friend, Fiona. Partly I wanted to do it because I love writing, makeup, nail polish, and sharing ideas. But, partly, I started this blog as a productive distraction from the extreme emotional pain and stress I was feeling as a result of my father’s passing.
Working on Swatch And Learn reminded me that life is full of blessings and happiness. I got to meet fun and kind-hearted people who shared similar interests as me, it made me smile when I got to collaborate with PR firms, and I improved my photography skills over time. All positive. That’s one reason why I love blogging – it’s like an oasis that forces you to remember the good things in life even if you’re going through a life crisis.
If you’ve managed to read this far, thank you! Your support means so much to me. I know I say that a lot, but you truly have no idea how much it means to me.
I was hesitant to publish this post because it’s not as upbeat as my usual Swatch And Learn posts, but it’s real. Although I want this blog to be like a happy sanctuary for all of us, I still would like to open up my heart to you because I know that I’m not the only person who’s going through family problems or dealing with the passing of a loved one.
A co-worker who also ‘lost’ her father once told me something that I think is so true: “It doesn’t get easier, but it gets better.” When she told me this, I didn’t really understand. But, now I do. Not having my dad around still hurts so badly, but it’s getting better because I’m learning how to become stronger. I’m proud of how I’ve held up. Even if I break down and cry sometimes, it’s okay. But for the most part, I’ve learned to become more independent, I’ve developed thicker emotional skin, and I’ve also learned to be more appreciative of any happiness that comes my way.
Some random things I’d like to share about my dad:
- He would always crack jokes and didn’t take himself too seriously.
- He was a devout Catholic, prayed daily, and went to church more than once a week.
- He was a professional carpet cleaner who took great pride in doing his job well.
- His favourite singer was Elvis Presley.
- He could talk with anyone about anything and keep a conversation going.
- He wore short-sleeve dress shirts 99% of the time, even in the winter.
- He let me paint his toenails with blue nail polish and give him a clay mask with cucumbers over his eyes.
- He cooked the best steaks I’ve ever eaten, even in comparison to the ones I’ve had at restaurants.
- He would always buy me books when I was a kid (even though money was tight) because he said that it’s always worth investing in a child’s education.
- He would dance and sing along with music on the radio to entertain me and get me out of bed in the mornings when I was a little kid.
- He survived a heart attack.
- He survived a quadruple bypass surgery on his heart.
- He survived a stroke.
What’s your fondest memory spent with your dad? Have you ever had to deal with the passing of a loved one? How will you be spending Father’s Day?
— Mary (@SwatchAndLearn) June 17, 2012