I feel like I'm waiting on my Daddy.
It's four in the morning and I'm staring out the window at a storm. Lightning flashes and I can hear the thunder. I wonder if my mama is up. Is one of my sisters awake and lost in her own thoughts of Daddy?
I am not seasoned at death. I have lost grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and acquaintances. But they all seem natural and mostly in order. So, here I am. Grown. Mature? Forty-eight years old, not seasoned but not stupid, either. So why do I feel like my daddy is just running late?
Why do I feel like I'm watching out the window for his car to turn in the circle? Mama has napkin over the fresh okra and the cornbread is turned over in the pan and in a moment Walter Cronkite will be telling America the way it is and Daddy's just running late. These were the days before cell phones and if you looked closely you could and still can see the eyes of those you pass on the much too narrow Pearl River bridge that was his path twice a day. And that's what I feel like. That he's late. He can't call and did he drive the bridge at just the wrong moment? Where's his car with the hidden pack of smokes?
Why doesn't he just come on home?
Some experts say there are five stages of grief. Some will tell you it's not necessary to go through them all and there is not a definite order to them, but that all of us, at some time in our life, will encounter and must face and deal with grief.
Am I in and failing the acceptance stage?
All she had to do tonight was be thoughtful and ask me how my mom was doing and I crumbled with reminders of Father's Day all around me and I hide in the office and cry while all celebrate outside the door and I know in my tears that Daddy's not running late. He didn't get stopped going out that glass door or caught in traffic. There's no accident on the bridge. He's not hiding somewhere angry at me because last year I didn't send him a card or go see him on Father's Day.
Because last year I didn't pause to think that it might be my last Father's Day with him.
I'm not in denial. I'm not angry. I'm not struggling with my own mortality or bargaining with God to bring Daddy back.
I am trudging through acceptance and missing terribly. Everyday.
And just feeling like I'm waiting on Daddy to get home. Feeling six, or ten, or twelve. Or forty-eight without a Daddy.
I'm just waiting.