It's Been a Year

Although logically we all know that our parents will die someday, nothing prepares us. No amount of times the doctors told me that it was coming would ultimately help me come to the realization that today would mark the first year without my dad, or the Yahzeit as it's called in Yiddish. Let me tell you- it hasn't gotten easier.
I recently sat sobbing on the side of my bed while texting late at night with a friend of mine. Her husband just lost his mother, and she just had a baby. In the span of a month, their lives took an extreme ride through all of the turns of emotions. I met his mom a handful of times, spoke to her very little, and didn't even know her first name. So why, sitting on the side of the bed was I sobbing? Because I've been where they are. The "how can my baby not know them?" feeling. I've felt the crashing waves of grief while I look into my little one's eyes and see the features that they share. I know the gut wrenching feeling of seeing Grandparent's Day on the calendar and knowing that my son wont have everyone there. It isn't fair, and I have nothing positive to say to her.
People offer words of comfort- "they will have pictures" or "they will know the stories". I know, I know, both of these are true, and people are trying to be positive. But you know what I hated as a child? Hearing stories of old, dead, relatives. If I heard one more time about how my Great Uncle Doc survived not one but TWO times when a ship sunk in the Navy, I just might have thrown myself off a ship too. Looking back, my dad told me those stories because he loved my uncle, and he wanted to share that with me. (Also looking back I'm a jerk.) Pictures are not the same. Stories are not the same. It's not showing up at all of your baseball games, staying the night at their house, and going on ski trips. It's not the secret hand shakes or the stops for ice cream. It just doesn't seem like enough, and while I know all of this, I can't say it to my friend. So I just agree- yes, it sucks. No, it isn't fair. What makes this better? It's been 365 days, and I still don't know. If I had the advice, I would tell her. I'd shout it from the rooftops so that no one else has to feel the way I do- hole in the chest, heart beating fast, sad, and angry.
I know that I always post the same pictures of RT and my dad when I write about him. But, it's the pictures that I have. I don't have more. I wasn't gifted that time. What I was gifted, was a safe childhood. I knew, and I still know still that my family loves me. I was safe to make mistakes. I was safe to fail. I try to do this with RT, in all the ways that my dad did. It means we spend a little extra time cuddling. It means that we go to the plays and shows and do the kiddie things. (My dad loved that kind of stuff!) It means that we make sure that he knows, without any doubts, that he is loved unconditionally. Hug your kids. Tell them you love them. Spend some quality time with them. You never know how long you'll have together. As Neil would say, it also means that we celebrate the good that we have in life. I know he is right, and I'm trying to follow through, even on days like today. So on this day, when my heart is broken and I don't know what to do, I'm going to celebrate one good thing that happened in 2018.
Hopefully 2019 is looking brighter as we expand to a family of SIX. (Two adults, two dogs, and two kids!) As always, if you'd like to help us celebrate my father's life, or this simcha (another Jewish word for the day, meaning a happy occasion) please consider a donation to Team Hurwitz. I can't think of a better way to start 2019 with positive vibes. Hope 2019 brings us all laughter and love.