There’s no timetable to say you’re going grieving over a loved one. And no one should feel an arbitrary amount of months or even years that it’s time to say you’re done. I don’t know what being done is. What I do know is…
Our parents don’t want us feeling sad all the time. They would want us to live the best life possible, while they’re here and when it’s their time for the afterlife.
It was my dad’s time.
As much as I don’t like admitting that, it’s the truth. My dad got sick over a year ago, and never could recover. For some of us, the pain doesn’t that last that long. It’s the pain of the children, the siblings, the aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews and everyone in between and on the peripheral to feel and to come to terms with.
I’m still not sure if I’ve come to terms. Not even five months later, it hurts but it’s a different kind of hurt. I haven’t looked back on the two previous times I specifically wrote about my father (here and then here) right about the time he passed. I’m not ready to look back and read them just yet. Maybe I will with a fresher set of eyes down the line. So in some ways have I really come to terms?
I can’t say for sure. But what I can say is it only felt right, on his birthday and the first birthday without him (the holidays could be tough this year), to go back to our place, more so his place, Spice Xing, for a meal to honor him, honor his memory, and maybe bring some more peace to me.
I don’t recall a time that we didn’t have lunch buffet here. Well things have changed, as that buffet is now only reserved for the weekends. Well no big deal there. The place was eerily quiet on this Monday afternoon, but I almost preferred it that way.
Of course on a day like this it’s grey, it’s rainy, and the sky is telling me something. What that is, and what it may tell you are completely different things. For many that might feel comforting. Ordinarily, I would say it wasn’t. But today it fit the mood. If it was sunny and 80 degrees, I would say that would fit the mood. But this was the mood and I’m grateful for that.
The last time I was actually here was the beginning of the healing process. I’ll leave that to your own interpretation and speculation, as some things are better left unsaid. But I’m forever grateful for the outpouring of love and support, that it will stay with me for the rest of my life. I mean that. It’s a once in a lifetime thing. Literally. It’ll never happen again.
But what can happen again is a lovely meal to honor a man who has helped shaped me and our family to be in the position to be where we are today. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where I would be. He was the man. And he still is the man. Hi dad, I hope you see this sometime.. Love you…
What actually never crossed my mind until including these photos was, is he sitting across from me? That’s a cliche but well….
I did it different this time with the chicken reshmi kababs with a side of chana masala, salad, and naan bread. Why kababs in an Indian restaurant? Well why not. Our background is Iranian, and we’ve had our share of kababs at many fine establishments in the area, and at home. So I couldn’t think of a better meal to celebrate the best of all worlds.
My dad would just rather have the buffet. And some of that naan bread too. But I’ll get to that in a little bit.
The masala tea was a gem and reminds me of simple black tea that my dad and I would share on a regular basis. I could’ve ordered any beverage, but this seemed only right. So I’m grateful to honor him within honoring him. That makes me feel good.
I sat in a different spot, yet I had a view of where we used to sit. We’ve sat in a lot of places, but this spot felt comfortable. I had a view of where his photos and a candle were positioned several months back.
While I was in a familiar place, I still felt removed and detached from everything. There’s safety in that. Even by coming to a place we’ve been going to for years, I felt relieved being away from everything else. Maybe that’s another part of the healing and grieving process.
But today there really wasn’t much sadness. Just like the week and days leading up to Father’s Day, I got so much out of me to the point of being physically exhausted and drained. And now I know what it feels to have nothing left. I feel transparent as I write this. But more importantly I feel relieved.
I’m relieved that my dad is in a happier place. Where that place is I don’t know. But I believe he’s at peace and harmony with everything. It’s what we wish for our loved ones when it’s their time to go and when they’re gone. As heartbreaking as it sounds, it’s also so beautiful.
This is life. This is death. It’s good to cry, but it’s also good to be happy. Our true family, our dearest friends, and love ones want only want the best for us. They would sacrifice their own joy just so you can feel some. My dad did that for everyone while he was alive, and maybe he did it when he was saying goodbye. That’s the most beautiful and selfless act of all.
While I was sad on the days and eve of his birthday, that sense of sadness has turned into calm. Maybe it’s numbness or maybe it’s something else. Maybe I’m just tired. Yet maybe it’s just the universe telling me I’ve handled enough and now it’s time to take a break, until the next phase of grieving.
I don’t want to think that far ahead, because I don’t know what even tomorrow will bring.
What I do know is I’m proud of my dad, and I miss him. I love him. And while I know his spirit is with me, and will always be with me, I’m starting to see a light. I’m starting to see hope, and starting to see that the best life is still in front of me. My dad would want this for me. Our parents would want this for us.
So I raise my cup and say salud, I say cheers, and I say I love you dad.
And next time I’ll be sure to pocket all the leftover naan bread and sneak out like a little kid in your honor… Ha!
I love you dad and Happy Birthday…