It’s my Dad’s birthday today, the fourth since he died. My Mom is up in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, there to remember Dad in her own, private way. Every year she heads off to one of their favourite places, and each year, she sprinkles a few more of his ashes. In her email today, she described the spot on Chesterman Beach that she walked out to. “It is another of Gordon’s favourite places, and it was time to let go of at least some of the ashes I had held on to.”
This is how we grieve, letting go, little by little.
In the months after my father died, I found it hard to grieve. It was so soon after my marriage had ended, and I was really worried about my boys and how they were coping with two such big losses in such a short period of time. There wasn’t space for me to grieve too.
Or perhaps I just couldn’t. Perhaps those two big losses in my life were just too much for me to face all at once. In any case, as my father’s birthday approached, I lost my voice. Completely. For three entire months. “What is it,” one friend asked, “that you need to voice?” My sadness perhaps.
My voice eventually returned, but every year around this time, I notice that my throat hurts in the same way it did before I lost my voice. It’s only today that it occurred to me that perhaps I still have grief I haven’t let go of, sadness that I still need to voice.
One of Mom’s friends sent a lovely message to my sister and me today: “Sally and Del, you were so lucky to have had such an amazing man as a father, he was truly loved.”
Yes he was. And so were we.
Tonight I’m thinking about my mom, up in Tofino. I’m thinking about my Dad. And I’m letting go, in my own way and in my own time. Little by little, I’m letting my sadness go.