The Day Between
Today has been a little rough for me. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday, and tomorrow will be the anniversary of him passing on. I don’t know why I thought I would be handling it better, though. “I’m a therapist,” I think. “I should be able to just deal with it.” I have a pretty wicked double standard for myself in most things, honestly, including about what “dealing with it” means. See, for others, my sense of “dealing with it” includes acknowledging and welcoming whatever feelings are there. For myself, “dealing with it” means “stuffing it away unhealthily just like you always have,” which clearly has worked out great for me. And that’s really short-sighted behavior, too. Because how am I supposed to know what I need (another thing I’m terrible at) if I won’t even acknowledge what my feelings about a situation are? I can’t possibly find or make myself accept comfort if I don’t know what kind of balm would be appropriate. I don’t really want to laugh, which is odd for me, but I don’t really want to cry, either. But I do, but I don’t
And while my psyche decides to play on a see-saw by itself, this ambivalence seeps into the other “compartments” of my life that I’ve convinced myself exist. For instance, I have some extra time today that I hadn’t initially planned on. How often have I said in the past couple weeks, “Man, it’d be nice if I had more hours in the day,” or thought, “I really should blog something”? “I really love rainy days,” said James of two days ago, while James of today is slightly irritated that it’s wet outside. But not even, really, because a walk under an umbrella would probably be pretty relaxing. And literally right as I typed that sentence, the rain stopped, which inexplicably irritated me because I was looking forward to a walk in the rain.
And that’s another hard thing about today, is that I’m apparently a curmudgeon. I want to eat that cake (but I don’t need it), but I also want to keep having it around (but I should really eat it, or it’s going to be wasted). That’s not so different from the relationship I did have with my dad, honestly, and I think that’s why it bothers me so much that I’m so bothered by this. A weird, self-flagellating part of myself is saying, “You don’t get to feel upset by this. You chose not to spend time with him like you could have.” I know that’s not all there is to the situation, at all, and in fact, I really wish I had spent more time with him. It was complicated, but I miss him. That’s the thing I think keeps causing me to be overwhelmed, of course, is that I miss him, because now it’s permanent. Before, there was always in the back of my mind the possibility that I could just pop in to see him if I really needed to, or call him up. Now, the best I can do is talk in an upward direction and hope that he hears me.
I’m very conflicted. He did the best he could, all things considered, and I appreciate and love him for that. I got my sense of humor and my eye color from him, and athletic potential (key word potential). I also got his bad joints and eyesight, and the strong urge to put myself last (I saw a doctor’s bill today and thought, “see, I caused this burden”). My dad wasn’t perfect, and neither is anyone else. But man, did he try, and try, and try. What a committed guy. That’s probably the worst part of this; for the first time that I can remember, my dad isn’t where I want him to be (but he is). But he’s exactly where he needs to be.
I think I’m gonna go take a walk.