The Call You Can No Longer Make

call dad

I was six years old. A long-time friend of my father was visiting from the East coast, and we were returning from taking him out to dinner. It was late, and I had been dozing in the car on the way home. I woke up when we pulled into the garage, but I wanted my dad to carry me, so I continued to sit curled up on the back seat and hoped I appeared to be sleeping. At some point my father reached in the car and pulled me to him to carry me to my bed. I wanted to seem convincingly asleep, so I let my arm drop backwards over his shoulder and stick out to the side, as if I couldn’t control it. My dad’s friend, a photographer, commented on the position of my arm and said that he wanted to take a picture. Afraid of potential repercussions (slide shows with the extended family viewing the photo projected onto the living room wall), I let my arm fall back into place as my dad carried me upstairs. He rarely carried me, but I loved when he did. 


I read an article recently that was written by a man whose father had died five years before, and I was very interested in it because as of last month my dad has been gone five years. I was searching online for opinions about how long it takes to get over the death of a loved one since I still grieve for my dad, sometimes as much as I did in the beginning of the process.

Many sources say it takes ten years, some say five. But this article, written by the man whose father had been dead for five years, says that you never “get over” the death of a loved one. Furthermore, the man (who was not a counselor or therapist, just a guy missing his dad) said, Why would we want to? Why should we want to “get over” someone who had been a huge part of our lives, who loved us unconditionally, and whose love we still feel?

“Getting over” means different things to different people. To some it means when their life will get back to some sort of normal. Others just want to know when they will stop crying every day. But I think for many of us it means when we finally make peace with the fact that they’re really gone, that we won’t wake up after having dreamt of them and think, I need to call Dad; I haven’t talked to him in a while, and then with great sadness and disappointment remember that you can’t.

And that’s what I think that guy meant by “getting over” – that those things will never stop happening. Those things are normal, and we should embrace them. Those things mean we haven’t forgotten, and that our loved ones will always be with us.

[Image credit: DaftPoster]