One year ago today we buried my Dad, still feeling relief that his suffering was over. I wasn't quite feeling emotions such as sad. How could I? Just three, four, days earlier I was praying for him to die. How could I not? How could I even consider being selfish enough to want him to live just one more day?
So we stood at the gravesite as family tradition dictated. My brother and I were presented with American flags in honor of Dad's service in the Coast Guard. How surreal to hold the perfect triangle and stare out over the grey box before us and see the faces of everyone who mourned with us. My knees felt weak, and for the second time in my life I felt as if they would buckle. The first time was just days earlier when they took his body to the funeral home. And I stood in the door and watched them wheel him away, and I felt the new emptiness of the living room for the first time.
I didn't fall then, nor did I fall this time. I leaned back against my husband and used his strength until my own returned. I don't remember ever crying, just wanting to.
We watched them lower the casket, incapable of leaving until it was completely over. Another family tradition.
Relief has since faded. Am I angry? A little. Resentful? A little. I'm too human not to feel those emotions. But you persevere, you still go on. Wake up each morning, go to work, raise your family, and make new plans for the future. And you forgive. Though I'm not sure who needs to be forgiven. It's not like Dad asked to get cancer. Raging at the fates doesn't do much. They never answer.
What a blessing to have my son.