I know it isn’t exactly the most polite way to describe a bad day but it’s certainly the most accurate way to describe them. Some days I have what I call “dead dad days.” They are days where I’m incredibly sad for no other reason than that my dad is dead. They don’t come too often, they usually get started for a number of different reasons, and they suck. Today is a dead dad day.
The day kind of started last night. I was doing laundry in the basement and I happened to glance over at the bar. I could see my dad sitting there, drinking a beer, and watching TV like he did almost every day and it made me smile. Our house is very much my mother’s in the fact that it was pretty much decorated by her and it reflects her style. My dad had no style (sorry dad) which is why he wasn’t really given too many liberties in decorating. The basement however was purely his. He painted it the way he wanted, decorated it with the things he wanted, furnished it the way he wanted, and bought the biggest TV he could possibly buy to put down there. Now he’s gone and my mom wants to make some changes. Before he died he had commented on how it needed to be updated and he was right- the carpet is a mess, the walls need a fresh coat of paint, and his recliners are both broken so those were going to be replaced as well. When my mom mentioned updating the basement I thought she meant fixing the things he wanted to fix… not a complete overhaul.
My mom basically wants to redo the entire basement which means new paint, carpet, and furniture, as well as removing the bar and buying a smaller TV. I’m not happy about it at all and just that quick look at the bar last night brought that all up to the surface. Here’s the issue though- when I look at the bar I see him and feel happy. When my mom looks at the bar she sees him and gets sad. Even though I have lived in that house my entire life it’s not my house and eventually I’ll move out one day and it will just be my mom in there so ultimately she will have to live with how the basement looks. I don’t want to fight her on this and leave her with something that makes her sad all the time. On the other hand though I feel like we’re clearing my dad out of the house. The basement was his place and if we take all of the things that were so distinctly him what do we have left?
So there’s part one of the beginning of dead dad day. Part two comes shortly after. I’m already in an unstable mood when I stupidly decide to go through pictures on my mom’s phone which are, of course, mostly of my dad. When I got to the pictures of my dad from last summer I realized something that really sucks. When I get a mental image of my dad I see him in his last few months of his life when he was skinny and yellow. I don’t see the dad I knew for 24 years before that… I see the sick version and I hate it. I’m sure that it’s just because it’s still so new and those three months seemed like years and eventually I’ll get back to seeing him well but for now it really sucks. I always told myself that I wouldn’t remember him that way but I guess it’s harder than I thought.
With part two completed I put myself to bed. I just felt like I was torturing myself at that point. I told myself that tomorrow would be a better day and to just let it all go but I should have been smarter than that. Once the wheels are set in motion you can’t really stop a dead dad day. When I got to work I was feeling pretty ok until one of my AE’s asked me to help them with something in their office. There was an issue with one of our orders and after looking through it briefly I noticed it was an issue that we had already gone over (I actually talked about it here in my post “Cancer Mistakes.”) Unfortunately the agency had sent something incorrectly to the station so it opened that whole discrepancy up again. As I’m scanning through the order I once again look to see what date the mistake was made and realize, for a second time now, that it was made 3 days before my dad died. Talk about bad timing.
When I finished up with that I immediately walked into my boss’s office and just sobbed. I explained what was going on and because my boss is a saint she let me sit in there for 40 minutes and talk things out. I kept apologizing for losing it at work and she just kept telling me that I’m allowed to have bad days. She’s right… I’m allowed to have God awful, really shitty, miserable, dead dad days. I think anyone that goes through this is allowed to.
For those that have been through this I’m going to take a guess that you know exactly what I’m talking about (except they can have different names like “dead mom days” or “dead sister days” and so on and so forth.)
For those that might be new to this you need to allow yourself to have these days. I know you want to be strong and I know you want to power through but sometimes that just ain’t gonna happen. These days can be therapeutic. Cry as much as you want, get angry, take deep breaths, eat what you want, and go to bed early. Just tough these days out because you’ll feel a lot better if you let it all out.
For those that haven’t been through this here’s some advice. I’m going to be distracted on these days and at some point I’m probably going to cry. I know you want to help but honestly nothing you say or do will really make me feel much better. Just sit, and listen, and be nice to me but understand that this day is going to suck from sun up to sun down so it’s probably best to just let me work through it on my own. I’ll be much better tomorrow.