It’s over, all but the aftermath. Which isn’t ever really over, just the New Normal. The priest at my dad’s funeral mass told us not to believe that time heals all wounds. I don’t and haven’t and was glad to hear a Holy Man whose business is Hope say the same.

I wrote my dad’s eulogy, and one of the things I said was, “My dad has suffered the deaths of two of his grandchildren, two who should be here to mourn him, but instead are there to greet him,” and that “We take an anguished comfort that Nicole and Philip are with you.” I think that last might not be true. I think there’s no comfort I take from Philip’s death. Plenty of people die without their kids or grandkids or whoever else they thought would outlive them not being “there” first. It is our elders who should pave the way.

That’s two “shoulds” in one paragraph. I don’t believe in “shoulds,” even if I feel them. This is what Death does. It forces you to look at your beliefs and assumptions and what you took for granted vs. Real-Time Reality. When I start “shoulding” it means I’ve not been paying attention. And even now I find myself clucking and disbelieving every time someone shoots themselves in the head after shooting their girlfriend in the head and why do I do that? Is there any form of terror or degradation left that is still shocking or stunning?

But maybe it’s good that we can be shocked. Maybe that’s our humanity, maybe that’s the best part of us, the part that wants peace more than fear or anger. The part that recognizes that we can feel just as violent as the next guy – “God! Did he really just do that?!?!? I could kill him!” – but we really wouldn’t want to back up most of what we say about someone when we forget the someone we’re referring to is part of that humanity. We are the recipient of whatever kindness and humanity we offer.

Dad, Philip, Nicole – again and always, rest in peace. You are loved and missed. I promised you I would find my own peace. I am not so sure now. It’s my hurt and restless heart I’m trying to listen to but I can’t always hear what it’s saying.

I haven’t written much this week – understandable, but I couldn’t figure out how to continue because I kept thinking, “I have to get back to it. How do I get back to it? Where was I?” But I’m not going back to anything; I’m going forward. I’ll continue to write from now, and the New Now is that my dad has died.

I think I left off  that first night, balled up in my couch, holding on for my goddamn life. Freefalling down the rabbit hole. I don’t know if or when I hit bottom, but I do know I got off the couch. More on that next.

© 2013 Denise Smyth


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Unconfirmed Bachelorette
    May 22, 2013 @ 00:17:50

    It is oddly comforting to hear an acknowledgement that time doesn’t heal all wounds. And it is so hard to get off of the couch.


    • Denise
      May 22, 2013 @ 09:48:03

      Harsh as it is, truth is necessary. It gives you something to work with. I was fortunate to be able to stay on the couch. It’s still my go-to.


  2. LeeDee
    May 22, 2013 @ 00:37:45

    I want to give you such a big heartfelt hug and with that hug, take your pain away, if only for a moment. You deserve some relief. I wish for you Peace & Happiness. You already have the Love. Please keep writing. I hope you know how much you are giving to us, as Mothers, by writing what’s in your heart and soul. These words you write are a gift. You are giving so much of yourself and the impact is extraordinary. Much love Denise, lets talk soon. Lee


    • Denise
      May 22, 2013 @ 09:50:09

      Lee, you’ve no idea how much I love you, and how soothing that is. I hope we can figure something out soon; I so want to see you.


  3. Becki Duckworth
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 16:56:29

    Time does not heal all wounds, they become less open and painful SOME OF THE TIME…… The anguish is still there, and its in real time. I am sorry that you have suffered so much loss , and so close together.


  4. Denise
    Dec 17, 2013 @ 19:09:44

    What is time, anyway? Since Philip died, I’ve been in touch with people I’ve not seen for decades. And it’s like it was yesterday. Just like it will always be like a shock that my son is really dead.


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