a year has passed

This weekend was the first anniversary of my Dad’s death. I am not sure losing a parent at any age can be said to be easy. All I know is losing my dad as an adult was not easy. Yesterday and the day before, I anticipated I might break down and be consumed by and be swept over by grief. I wasn’t. Instead, there was like a numbness and fog like realization or some kind of sense of how a year has passed since my dad left us. How did a year go by already? For the first six months after his passing, I stayed close to my family, especially my mom. I didn’t work, except to preach when I could. And then few months of trying to be there for everyone else, I needed to come home. I needed return to my life even if I had no job lined up or an obligation to return to. Over the summer, I was nervous about not having a teaching job for the Fall semester. Then in August, in the month before Fall semester started, I got to prepare to teach 3 courses. I think teaching and preaching kept me busy. My sense of vocation, my sense of calling kept me grounded, and anchored so that even in sadness or lack of depths of grief but still a sense of the stillness of the absence of my father, I could wake up each day to prepare to teach, to prepare to preach, and show up for class or for service, because there were people expecting me to show up and teach and preach. But it wasn’t just that I was expected to show up and teach and preach. I needed and wanted to teach and preach. I expected myself to show up for myself and for my students, and the congregants. And this weekend, a good cry was not to be had, but again a fog of awareness of the absence of my father, and tears of jolts of sadness. I hate to imagine what losing my mom would be like. I know what losing my dad has been like. It’s the loss of an earthly father who has my back, who I can call, even as an adult, and say I was in a car accident and to be told it’s ok and all is well so long as I am not hurt. It’s the loss of an earthly father who would disappoint me intermittently, but still mostly be there as a source of strength and faith. My father had faith in me first, before I knew what or who I wanted to grow up to be or before I believed in myself. For myself, losing my father is the loss of the strongest believer that I would grow up to amount to some good. And also, not worrying that I would ever be out on the streets should I ever become homeless. Having a father, looking back now, was kind of a luxury of a buffer from adversities in life as much as humanly possible, a blanket of comfort knowing even if I didn’t get admitted into a school or didn’t get that job, that I was still my father’s daughter. And now that I have lost sense of knowing myself securely as my father’s daughter, as I used to identify and feel secure in knowing I was my grandmother’s granddaughter, I am still me. I am still standing, breathing, and my time has not come yet to join others who have left before me. Whilst I have breathe in me, and strength to move, I want to make a difference in someone’s life, my own, and others, for the better and for more freedom, and closer to self-actualization. I worry about my mom. I lost a father I knew all my life. She has lost a partner of 50 years. God has somehow given us strength, sustained us, and hope to have lived day by day the past year. Thanks to God. And I miss you still, dad. And I am still my father’s daughter, even if he is not here with us. I am still the strong child of God who has hope of a future where more rather than fewer people are suffering and are not suffering alone because we walk tougher in our journeys keeping each other company, being each other’s support, and most importantly loving each other and ourselves. Shalom.

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