Today is my father’s birthday.  He would have been 76 years old today.  He wasn’t big into birthday’s and in a life of many days, this is just one other.  But that is exactly what I’ve been thinking about.

In the time since he was diagnosed, first with Parkinson’s and then with cancer, I have grieved for him.  I grieved for him even before the diagnosis’,  he could no longer cut his own food, or when his walk became a shuffle. I grieved when we didn’t know what was wrong but something was seriously wrong.  This grief is as old as it is new.

When thinking about my heart, I am always reminded of the jazz classic, “Good Morning Heartache.”  At the beginning of the song – the singer is surprised the heartache is still there and by the end she sings, ” I might as well get used to you hanging around.  Good morning heartache. Sit down. ”  That’s how I feel about my grief – grab a chair & make yourself comfortable, it’s going to be a long ride.  I feel that  we are old friends now.   There is no more wishing it away.  It is part of the fabric of my being.  It is part of my DNA.

It’s not about being melancholy all the time. I’m not.  No.  It’s about accepting the fact that I miss my father and in all likelihood, that pain is never going to go away.  I just don’t struggle against it anymore.

I don’t miss him any less.  I just have gotten used to it.  I have gotten used to the idea of him being gone and what it is like to live without his laughter & his wisdom in my life.  I have gotten used to a world without his humor and his hugs.

Pema Chodron would say it’s about the staying.  Staying in the discomfort.  Not running away.  That is is the resistance to the pain that causes us the most grief.  And I agree.   It is the acceptance of the pain of loss and the release of any hope of escape that somehow unburdens us, somehow frees us from the most excruciating of all the pains.   Or that has been my experience.

So this is what I have learned about grief:
I miss my father.  Every single day.  And that’s not going to change… or it will, who knows?  But I accept this is where I am.  I accept the sadness that comes with it and  I don’t struggle against feeling the sadness when it comes.  And as much as the loss is as great as it ever was,  I feel peace about it.  Today.

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