8 Jul 2011

Firsts

We've now been through them all: the first birthdays, first wedding anniversary, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year, first Valentine's Day, first Father's Day - all without my father-in-law, Paul. And now today is the first anniversary of his passing.

Everyone says the firsts are the worst, and I truly hope so. But what's been unexpected is that the big waves of sadness haven't occurred on these momentous days. Maybe it's because we were all together for them and had things like gifts and meals and booze and The Settlers of Catan to distract ourselves with. But, really, the most gut-wrenching moments of sadness and reality have occurred when you least expect it, like you're walking down the street and a favourite song of his is playing in a car driving by. Or you find a picture of him as you're tidying up. Or you're just laying in bed, trying to fall asleep and out of nowhere the truth about him being gone bubbles up and stabs you in the heart. And there aren't any scheduled 'firsts' to hurdle over for those moments - they just happen and will keep happening. And it sucks.

And while it's OK to feel the grief, it's just as fine if not better to take solace in the antidote - which is remembering the good times and making new good memories. This weekend we'll be going to St. Catharines to stay at my mother-in-law's home to do just that - remember, share stories, laugh, and probably do and say some rather stupid and fantastic things under the influence of alcohol. All very Paul-like, I must say.

My husband and his family are doing one more thing today - and that's going to a tattoo parlour together. Yours truly won't be participating in that because I'm a giant pussy. But the rest of the Bycks have decided they're going to get Paul's signature tattooed on them. I suggested to Patrick that he should get his on his lower back with butterflies around it, simply so that I could giddily refer to it as his 'tramp stamp'. Strangely, he's decided against my suggestion. I think he's decided to get it on the inside of his arm. Ouch. One way or the other, there's going to be some healing this weekend.

We miss you, Paul.

7 comments:

Karen 1:38 pm, July 08, 2011  

As usual, a perfect post, Jen. You really do have a way with words.

Anonymous,  1:55 pm, July 08, 2011  

As usual, your sentiments are raw and exact. Enjoy your weekend with the family and never forget the good times from the past.

Anonymous,  3:05 pm, July 08, 2011  

"Or you're just laying in bed, trying to fall asleep and out of nowhere the truth about him being gone bubbles up and stabs you in the heart." Wow. So exactly what it's like. I lost my brother a few years ago, and it's always in the quiet moments that you feel it most heavily and unexpectedly. You're a good daughter-in-law.

Michelle 12:07 am, July 09, 2011  

You took the words right out of my mouth.
I lost my dad at christmas time in 2007. It's the small things. Just laying in bed, and *BOOM* "You don't have a father anymore, he died." comes crashing into your brain, re-breaking your heart.
Or the time, shortly after he died, (about a month or so, I think) where I called his cell phone to tell him about something awesome that reminded me of this or that, and the phone ringing 3 times before I realized. Broke down into tears on that one. Still so fresh.
My now ex told me it would get better with time. He was right, it fades a little, the pain, and the random crashing of realization. It will get easier, but I will tell you that it never fully goes away. One day, one moment, it'll sneak up on you, another day you'll be fine. These days will be fewer, and further between, but no, never gone.

Sorry for the ramble, this post just really hit home.

Tans 12:52 pm, July 12, 2011  

I hope the weekend was ok. How did the tattoos turn out?

Tuffy,  4:32 pm, July 14, 2011  

Jen, I loved the note. Really miss that guy, and you have a knack of bringing it home. And you are a pussy, indeed. You should have gotten the tattoo!
Tuffy

p.s. check out: www.arnoldpoopchuckisdead.blogspot.com

Jen S.,  11:37 pm, September 14, 2011  

I just happened on your blog today, and read the 50s housewife entries... now, I found this and I am in tears. My dad died in May 2009 and I've felt all of the emotions you write about.

I love that your family pulls together to honor Paul, and that they got tattoos. I want to get a tattoo for my dad but I have to figure out what to get first.

Take care, keep blogging!

Another Jen, one "n"

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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