I’m forcing myself to write today. I don’t feel like I have a lot to say, but I’m gonna throw some stuff out here anyway.
Yesterday, I felt pretty gross. Emotionally, I felt surprisingly…okay. Physically, I started to feel nauseous. I threw up in my family’s bushes. I felt better. And then I continued to be sick for the rest of the day until I finally passed out. I couldn’t keep any food down, so I just prayed and prayed that I could keep all bodily fluids inside me until I got off the bus in Matagalpa the next day.
(Right, did I mention that I’d made plans to come to Matagalpa so I didn’t have to sit alone with my sadness on the anniversary of Dad’s death? I wasn’t about to cancel those plans.)
When the nausea first hit, I wondered if I was having a physiological response to my grief. I hadn’t eaten anything weird, and the sickness just hit me out of nowhere. And then I started thinking about Dad.
I thought about sitting in the waiting room every day while he was getting radiation. How he started off feeling fine and then eventually got thinner and weaker and couldn’t keep his food down.
I remembered being thankful that the doctor cut his radiation treatments short, because watching his weight fall below mine, below Jasmine’s…it was painful for all of us.
So last night, as I was feverish and nauseous and losing my food in all the unglamorous ways, it helped me put some things in perspective. Dad was going through that for months and months. He hated it.
And today, which had the potential to be emotional and horrible, I was just thankful that I didn’t shit my pants on the bus. Thankful that today wasn’t as bad as yesterday.
In the last year, I’ve had so much support from friends and family. I’m sitting here right now—on a day when I thought I might be an emotional wreck—and I’m surrounded by friends who care about me.
Where was I this time last year? Sitting, surrounded by people who love me, prepared to drive to pick up Jasmine by myself because I felt like I needed to be alone with my grief. Stupid on so many levels, when I have so many people prepared to step up and take care of things for me. Luckily, Mom wasn’t about to let me be an idiot, and she drove me to St. Louis and let me play the Hamilton cast album the whole way.
In the past year, I’ve tried to be more open with friends and family. I think that’s one way that I’ve really changed. Last week, in anticipation of a total emotional breakdown, I told some friends that I was planning to take a day out of site. I wasn’t sure how I was gonna handle today, but I knew that I shouldn’t be alone. It’s very, very easy for me to isolate myself, and I’m trying not to do that.
Saying, “This day may be hard, and I’d appreciate if you could keep me company” is a significant step for me. It would be so easy to shut myself off with my grief and regret and pain, but sometimes you have to give people a chance to be there when you need them.
Even if you can only bring yourself to share little bits and pieces of your story. If you need a stupid distraction, or a hug, or a text that says, “thinking of you today.”
So today, like all days, I’m missing Dad a helluva lot. I’m thinking of the laugh he gave me, his love of westerns, the way he was always barefoot inside. Most of all, I’m thinking of how he loved me unconditionally even when I took him for granted. How he forgave all my faults and saw me as my own talented, smart, beautiful person.
Today, I’m seeing the good things. Memories of Dad, love from people back home and here in Nicaragua. Today, I’m not angry, and I’m not distraught, and I’m not bitter.
Today, I’m thankful for the people who love me. I can feel it so strongly. It transcends time and space. I can feel it from people sitting in this room, and from people back in the U.S, and from Dad, through memory and stars and his voice that I still hear clearly.
I have nothing left to say,
I love you.