March 23, 2017.
The more things change, the more they stay the same; year after year.
Some days, it is harder to get out of bed, than others; but today, today was a different kind of day. Today my father, were he still alive, would be celebrating his 68th birthday. I lied. He wouldn’t be celebrating it, because he would’ve most likely have forgotten it – as was his habit – but the point is, he would be 68 today.
On the 20th, as I saw the day approaching, I already knew I was fucked. I’m fine for most of the year, except for his birthday, the anniversary of his death, Father’s Day, and Christmas. During those times, I am thoroughly undone by the grief that crashes over me like a tsunami – leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.
As a child, I idolized my father. I wanted to be just like him when I grew up, until I reached a stage where I wanted to be nothing like him. Now, it’s interesting to see the various ways in which we are similiar, and how he central he was to the formation of my identity.
People keep telling me that he’d be proud to see the man I’ve become, and the things I have accomplished, but I highly doubt that. You see, my father never once in his life, told me that he was proud of me. Perhaps he told other persons, but I was never one of them. Secondly, my queer identity was something that, heartbreakingly, created a rift in between us; and he passed without us ever being able to bridge the divide. It was one of the (many) aspects of my identity that he never could move past.
All that aside, I loved my father deeply. His passing has left a void in my life that I will never be able to fill. I feel like so much of myself vanished when he ceased to exist on this physical plane. I realized that I had constructed so much of my identity around him, that there were few things I’d do without him being the motivating factor. So much so, that after his transition, there was nothing I actually wanted to do. It was as if all my ambitions and goals disappeared into thin air, because if he wasn’t around to behold my journey and accomplishments, what was really the point of it all?
My father was the bedrock of my life. To me, represented stability; and stability is of utmost import to me. He was one of the most constant things in my life, one of the persons I never thought would leave me; but he did. And ever since, I’ve felt so alone.
I think there are few fates more painful than going through life alone; and Frank’s absence has left me feeling more and more like the orphan I – for most of my life – have partially considered to myself to be. Facing each new day with the realization that he’s no longer in the land of the living, is a special kind of infinite personal purgatory, from which there is no respite. And every year as I watch these “special” days creep closer, I realize that grief never quite goes away, or hurts any less (though it might appear that way); I simply become more acclimatized to it.
Happy birthday, Frank. 🍻