I wasn't sure what grief was going to look like this past year, but now I know. It was the sudden pangs in my chest, the burst of tears when I would think of something to tell him, the overall ache of realizing he was truly gone. I felt that I was somewhat prepared for his death, and I still think I was. He was suffering, he had lost so much of his brilliant mind at the end, and he was struggling. I know that it was his time, even though it feels like it was much too soon. But, what I wasn't prepared for was the complete lack of his presence. I wasn't prepared for not being able to talk to him. I wasn't prepared for not being able to hear his opinion on things. I wasn't prepared for him not being here. I was just prepared for the moment of his death -- not all the moments of my life without him.
And I realized that grief is pretty much a solitary thing. At least it has been for me. My journey is mine -- just as everyone's journey is their own. That's not to say that I haven't received support, for I have. But the grief my mom has dealt with losing her partner of almost 50 years is much different than mine -- or even my sister's or my brother's grief. I'm grateful that my husband has been here with me and for me.
In the end, life for everyone else has gone on. I wish I could say that I've had some epiphany and embarked on some grand journey to honor him -- but I haven't. I've just gone on with my life, caring for my family, myself, and working. Thoughts of him are with me every day. I've honored him by remembering him, by telling my children about him, by keeping his memory in my heart.
Today I will go to work -- teaching Adobe InDesign to a group of people. I'll probably cry in my truck a bit. I'll come home, check in on my mom next door, have dinner with my family. I'll honor my dad by loving and caring for my family the best way I know how -- just as he did.