While they may not be significant to anyone else, there are certain dates we remember and for better or worse, are unable to forget. Friday May 15 is the newest addition to my set of significant moments: the day we buried my dad. Even as I type these words, I can’t quite believe any of this to be true but it is, all of it. We can’t escape the facts. After a brief battle with cancer, which was diagnosed on April 13, my dad passed away on May 6, and eight days later we laid him to rest.
Unfortunately, I’ve encountered all of this before – loss, grief, and mourning. However, with my dad, I never expected it to unfold the way that it did. I didn’t expect to be so young when we lost him. I didn’t expect him to be so young. I couldn’t have imagined it all to happen so quickly; that in less than a month we would lose a man we always counted on – our dad, my mom’s beloved husband, and general friend to the world. But that’s not how life works; it doesn’t always unfold according to our own expectations. Life takes turns that we don’t anticipate, brings us to places we never knew existed, and changes us in ways that we don’t always understand. But we need to take all these things in stride, as dad did.
We will never stop mourning this loss but we will find a way to carry on because it’s what he wanted, and what we need. Dad worked hard every day of his life so that we would have opportunities. I can hear his calmed, measured tone telling me to keep going, providing gentle words of encouragement. While mourning is necessary, we cannot be consumed by grief to the point that we lose sight of the joy that exists, nor can we lose our purpose.
I’m not normally this sentimental but I know these words are my purpose. I will share my own experiences, the good and the bad, in hopes of helping others, however remotely. So today, I mark another date down in my calendar – May 17 – as a day that signals the start of something new.