He was standing beside the door to the chapel when he first heard her say it. It was a fine September day, and his dad had just been laid to rest.
“Grief,” she said, “It’s a real roller coaster of a ride for a while.” She kissed him on the cheek and wished him well. He took in what she said, as she was a wise woman and he knew she knew what she was talking about.
But right then at that moment, it seemed a far away notion. Right now, with his father’s passing still raw in his mind, he had immediate issues to deal with.
There was a hole in his being. His dad had been there for over sixty years. He had cared for him through the stroke, the numerous colds and flu, the troubles with eating, the ulcers that appeared on his legs, the constant worry over pain medication as the cardio-vascular problems manifested themselves more and more. The nights he was up because his father was disorientated by the drugs, and he’d find him in the bathroom taking a shave thinking it was morning. “Can you see any light coming through the window, dad?”
His dad would look up and say no.
“That’s because its 3am, sunrise isn’t for a few hours yet. Come on, let’s get you back to bed.”
Now after several years of intense care, he was gone. It had been a week since he died. He didn’t know if he had slept most nights, it felt like he lay awake, the house still occupied by memories and the ghost of his dad.
He survived okay for some time. Kept busy he didn’t have time for grief as such. What with the funeral, the wake, the organization of the headstone, it kept him busy, but he knew it would happen.
There would come a time when the roller coaster would descend into the bottom of the trough, and he’d go down with it.
When it did happen, he let go and out flowed the grief he had bottled up, its release cleansing, he felt a weight had been taken off his shoulders, and he could move forward.
But he also knew it was not the one and only moment he would have. There would be more, he knew there would be, it was part of being human, he had to let those moments happen.