The Road Back – Three Months To Three Years

I was reading my friend Tess’s book, Riversong, this morning.  It’s her fist published novel – an amazing accomplishment.  I’ve had the book for almost a month now.  I should’ve started it sooner.  I used being busy as an excuse, but part of it was nervousness.  I knew the book dealt with suicide and grief so I was nervous.  Yes, I also knew the heart of the book is about starting over and never giving up, but I still found excuses – was nervous – until last Sunday.

This morning as I started chapter 6, I had to stop.  Tess wrote the most amazing words.  I found meaning in them.   They read, “She’d not known grief would come in waves, brought on by the smallest of things.  Nor had she realized that ordinary acts of living would continue even after the loss of a love and that it would remain possible to get caught up in the moment of a simple pleasure before remembering.”

My dad, in the sun and on the beach. November 2006.

I am approaching 3 years since losing my father to cancer – July 16th.  Today, the 15th, also marks 8 months since my oldest child tragically lost her friend Cody to depression.  This time of the month I  remember, think, wonder, miss my dad, hope for peace for my new friend, Joan, and her loving family.  I didn’t write on the 15th of last month, but I was still thinking.

While my whole family slept this morning, in early morning quietness, I read Tess’s words and realized those waves can still come almost three years later, making it feel more like three months.  Her words were the “smallest of things” for me.  I had tears in my eyes.  I was feeling a little sorry for myself.  Sometimes I get caught up feeling cheated.  I still feel too young to not have a father.  Then I feel selfish because many have lost fathers much earlier in life or lost children.   My dad lived a long life, and for that I am grateful.   I always try to remember him as he would want me to…. sitting in the sun and saying, “love you, kiddo.”

Simple acts of living.  Getting caught up in the moment of a simple pleasure before remembering.  Maybe this best describes life after loss.  Maybe this is how you live while you grieve.  Simple and basic.  Day by day.  You never forget.  It’s just the stretches of simple acts of living get longer before you find yourself pondering, remembering.  It doesn’t mean you miss them less, start forgetting them or for that matter, hurt less.  You just step back into more “moments of simple pleasure.”   At  your own pace.

Dedicated to Aunt Char, Uncle Mike, my brother Matt and anyone loving and missing a special boy.

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  • precious Danna,
    There is so much of your dad in you…much moreso than I ever imagined while your Dad was alive…that is my gift forever. Just seeing the pic of Stu on the beach made me smile with love..remembering a moment of togetherness and its easy place in my heart.
    Thank you for being you and filling our lives with such joy.
    To the moon,
    AC and UM

    1. Thank you. I am not sure I ever realized how much of him is me until he wasn’t here either. I am so glad if I had to lose him that I found my way back to you:) Love you!

  • Thank you for this post, Danna. It is the only thing, really, that a writer can hope for – to have written something that is meaningful to another human being. It makes all the sweat and tears and rewriting seem worthwhile.

    Thank you, too, for being so generous to me, for your genuine good wishes on my behalf, for all you’ve done to get the word out about Riversong. Not all fellow writers can be that giving.

    Your dad would be proud. Indeed.

  • It’s rhubarb season. I never make rhubarb sauce without missing my father-in-law. He loved it. It’s planting season and I wish my dad were here to answer questions. Vivienne is two and I wished the other day that the great-grandmas could see her, so joyful, so opinionated, so loving.

    I heard once that as long as people are remembered, their spirit lives. It makes me feel good to remember them, even with a lump in my throat.

    1. I am so lucky to have such great friends and family. What would I do without all my aunties filling in my dad? Lucky I am!

  • Living Snoqualmie