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Eight years ago today, it was cold enough to snow in October. And eight years ago today, I was told that my father had passed away, in his sleep, some time in the wee hours of the morning.

Those of you who’ve known me for a long time, know that everything changed after that.

I never really thought of myself as an adult, as a grownup, until my father died. I had just gotten married a few weeks before he passed, but even that act of commitment didn’t change that perspective. Helping to choose your father’s coffin? That’s adult.

I’ve said quite a bit about my father over these past eight years, and what I’m trying to come to terms with now is how his death has changed me, as well as changed my family. My mother, to this day, has no idea what to do with herself. She has not gotten over it. I think her grief is as fresh as the day it happened, and as much as she tries to fill up the empty space, it’s not going away. She has stopped going to therapy, and we can’t convince her to go back.

As for me, I just miss my father’s presence. To this day, I still think of things I’d love to share with him — not monumental things, just little everyday things — and it pains me that I can’t. And, of course, it kills me that he hasn’t met Rob. I know they would have gotten along so well.

I’m having a particularly hard time with my father’s death this year, and I think some of that is because of the wedding. My father wasn’t there when I divorced M, and that was okay…but this was the first big joyous occasion for me, for us, and he wasn’t there to be a part of that.

It’s hard, too, because when he first passed away, I felt comforted when I went to the cemetery. I still felt some kind of connection. Eight years on, I don’t. I’m not even completely sure I should be doing this anymore. And yet, there’s a part of me that thinks, “Suppose he knows? And suppose he’s hurt that I’ve stopped going?” Which, I know, is kind of nuts, but that’s pretty much where I’m at.

I’m keeping this brief — I have much more to say, but I need to catch the bus out to Long Island. I’m just thinking of my father today, and I’m sad and tired. I simply wish he was here.

The problem with writing about the dead is that they’ve stopped. Self-evident, I know… When I write about my father here, as I’ve written for seven years now, I find myself saying the same things — maybe with a little more perspective, but the same things. I’m not going to suddenly have new memories of my Dad — if anything, the ones I’ve got will get hazier and hazier as time goes by. It happens.

I’m thinking on this today because I went back and looked at my archives — didn’t want to repeat myself — and found, indeed, that I would be. Maybe what I’ll have to say in fifteen years will be quite different; maybe I’ll write from the perspective of a parent, or someone who would be her father’s age when he died. That would give me more in common with my father than my life right now, and might give me something different to say.

I went out to the cemetery to remember him yesterday — it was seven years ago yesterday when I last saw him alive. Not the best of days. My mother called late last night; she was unhappy that I took the bus out on my own. It upset her. I don’t think she understands that I’d rather it be that way — I need to go on my own. My mother’s perspective is very, very different — for her, Dad just died yesterday. Still. (She is on anti-depressants; she was in therapy but has not seen her therapist for a year…despite the family asking her to.)

Lots to think about today.

Having a crappy day today. I’m feeling overwhelmed with wedding things that haven’t gotten done yet (and we’re only six months off), work stuff, and I’m going out to the cemetery on Saturday.

Monday marks the seven-year anniversary of my father’s death. In recent years, I’ve tried to come to accept everything, but I feel like this year will be particularly hard. A lot of that is centered around our wedding, and the fact that he won’t be there. And, of course, extend that out to his having never met Rob, our kids, etc. The whole shebang, really.

For my first marriage, I had wavered on whether my father should walk me down the aisle or not — tradition (and what would make him happy) vs. being 32, and not feeling like I was something to be given away. (Feminist rights, yeah! :) ) Ultimately, I decided on having him walk with me, and I was glad I did — both on that day (in pictures, he looks so happy) and when he died, five weeks later.

Now, of course, I just don’t have the luxury of choice. He’s simply not going to be here — I don’t think even in spirit, I truly think he’s moved on — and there’s just nothing I can do about that. I will stop at the cemetery at some point on wedding weekend (probably the day before), but…

As for who is walking me down the aisle — I don’t know. Maybe no one. I don’t want our wedding day to be about who’s not present — my father, my grandparents — so in a way, “substitute Dads” doesn’t really work for me. It certainly will not be my mother, as she’s still having major issues dealing with my father’s death — I think this would actually make it worse, and I know she’s going to be having “missing Dad” coming up throughout the day. I’d thought about my brothers-in-law, and that still might happen, but I’ve a feeling it’s going to be just me.

So this year may be a bad one. I just need to work through this. Dad’s buried all the way out on the North Fork (Calverton National Cemetery), so I’ll be taking the bus out and home on Saturday. Closest bus stop is Tanger Outlet — no, really — I have to take a cab to the cemetery from there. I’ve done it before, it’s a long day. So Dad, then some kind of lunch, then maybe recovery outlet shopping (since I’m there, retail therapy may help) and then home.

And then some WoW carnage, I think. And that’s my Saturday.