Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday.
If he'd been here, he'd have worn one of those Elmo's Birthday kiddie hats with the too-tight elastic that hurts like hell under your chin, he'd have eaten some kind of supermarket ass-tasting cake that his grandkids chose for him, and he'd have proudly worn whatever "I made this!" piece of haberdashery that only kids under the age of 9 can create.
He'd have encouraged the kids to put cake on their noses or stick out their tongues while full of frosting. Then he'd have looked around at the party carnage and said something inflammatorily "humorous" like, "A house full of women and not a dish washed!" Then he'd have marched everyone out to the garden to get some vegetables planted. He'd then have gone home, watched the History Channel and gone to bed, happy as a "pig in sh*t" as he'd say, to have spent his birthday with his grandkids.
The goal for tomorrow is to live through the void that is his palpable absence. To take the first baby steps toward having his next birthday be a celebration of his life rather than a poignant and painful reminder of his passing. Somedays I still can't believe he's gone and I have to remind myself of that fact. Other days, I feel the huge gaping hole in my life where he used to be from the moment I open my eyes till the moment I close them at night. I suppose that is grief. Although, attempting to describe grief to someone who wants to know how I'm doing is like trying to describe "purple" to a blind person. It is what it is, and there are no words to accurately verbally conjure up the tone, hue, luminence or saturation in a way that makes any sense to someone else. It just is what it is and must be dealt with on those terms.
Among the sympathy cards I received was this poem that I read when I'm particularly sad to remind myself that my Dad is still here, and that he'll be here tomorrow whether he can eat the ass-tasting cake or not:
And if I go,
while you're still here...
Know that I live on,
vibrating to a different measure
--behind a thin veil you cannot see through.
You will not see me,
so you must have faith.
I wait for the time when we can soar together again,
--both aware of each other.
Until then, live your life to its fullest.
And when you need me,
Just whisper my name in your heart,
...I will be there.