…I started the above section of this post last Saturday, the day after it happened. I couldn’t finish. Somehow that day seems so much further away than just 8 days ago. But then, the next moment I can’t hardly believe my dad has been gone for 8 whole days. It just doesn’t seem real.
My family went back home shortly after we found out on Friday and dad’s siblings came a few days later. There was a viewing, but I didn’t go. I didn’t want to see him in a coffin. I can’t picture my dad as dead. I can’t let myself go there. I know his face, his smile and his bright eyes. I only want to hold onto that. My mom said my little sister needed to see him to make it real. I know it’s real, though I struggle believing it’s really real.
Ben and I finished moving (thank goodness for our friends, because we were so emotionally overwhelmed, we were walking around like zombies) and then went down to my family on Wednesday. We spent two days as a family and just spent time together. We didn’t talk a lot about dad, and we matter-of-factly handled the details that came up for his service. We hugged a lot, laughed a little and loved on each other as much as we could. My sweet brother, who is trying so hard to step up and be the man, did his best to protect us saying things like “Don’t look at the pictures now, you’ll just get sad” or “We can go over to his house later, I don’t want you to be sad.” Sweet boy.
We visited his house once. That was a strange experience. Without going into further detail, I’ll just say the last few years were really hard on my dad. He never really learned how to get on apart from my mom and his identity as husband/father. He spent his last few years struggling with who he was and what he wanted. His house reflected that for me. It wasn’t “him.” It didn’t speak to the man he was, except for the scattering of family photos and mementos on the walls. The birthday cards we sent him the year before were on his nightstand. I wonder if he picked them up occasionally and read our little notes of love to him. I wonder if the statements of “to the Best dad!” warmed his heart on the darker days.
I did ok going through his house until I got to his closet. He was in there. His shirts, his work clothes. I could picture him grabbing his green button up for a dinner with us. I could see him half-heartedly throwing a t-shirt on a hanger, not caring that it wasn’t hanging straight. So many little details that were him. My dad.
We had a small “Celebration of Life” on Friday. There was no formal service, but as Uncle John blessed the meal, he said some words about my dad and about why we were here that day. it was simple, no-fuss and warm. I think dad would have liked it. He was never one for formalities or stuffiness.
I could go on and on right now, but my emotions continue to overwhelm me, and I don’t know if I’m ready to process everything right now…at least not out loud. My mind is busy, but I don’t know the right words yet.
I just know I am heartbroken and so sad. I miss the man who my dad was. I wish I could tell him I love him one last time. I wish he died on a higher note. I wish this whole thing was different. There is so much I don’t understand. I am so sad. I miss my dad.
|Thomas Gordon Sutton
May 12, 1961 – April 22, 2011