I would like to say that I am perfect, but honestly, I am very aware of how perfectly imperfect I am. I seem to notice it the most in times like these that grief creeps in and reminds me that at my very core and base…I am still human.
I am not stranger to grief. My first sharp bite of it came when I was 13 and one of the solid figures in my life, my mother’s step mom died. Since both of my mother’s parents died when she was young, my Mimi was my central grandparent figure on that side of the family. I use to beg my mother to let me stay there on weekends and I was enchanted by so many things in her house. She was mine, and I was hers and that was all I really needed in my world.
When she died of cancer, I remember the overwhelming feeling of loss. How did I grow up now? Did it still matter as much if she wasn’t there to continue in her way. Slowly I learned that parts of her were still with me and I enjoyed hugging her memory tight.
As anyone with blended families know…when you have two sets of parents you have many more grandparents and I experienced the loss of several grandparents in my twenties and most recently my dad’s mother, My Grandmother Bunn. These were part of life’s cycle….they were all blessings…the end of a full life that had reached its completion.
The sharpest point of grief was when I was 20 and became pregnant after just a few months of marriage. I hadn’t wanted to start a family so fast, but as my baby grew, I became more excited about motherhood. However, I became very sick and at 14 weeks started to miscarry the baby. I grieved deeply for the unmet child of mine and fell into the deepest depression I have ever experienced…slowly I made my way out and Logan Robert Metler was born just shy of a month from when I lost the baby before him.
Having said all of that, this time the grief is different and oddly more personal. I have long said that my worse fear is losing my parents, mainly I think because I always felt like they were my biggest support system. I have always had an interesting relationship with my biological dad since he was largely a shadow in my life until I was 8 years old. I knew he loved me and enjoyed the time we had together, but it always seemed to me that I was his for brief amounts of my childhood and I always wanted more.
As I got older, he always made an effort to make sure he was there for the big parts. My graduations from high school and college, my wedding, and soon after the birth of each of my kids. I don’t think I truly grasped how hard he tried to be part of my life until I had my own children and became divorced from their dad. It is a rough road.
But the truest part of our relationship has been as an adult. As an adult, he found someone he could talk to, have debates with, and just enjoy spending time with. In my list of favorite memories with my dad, 7 of my top ten have happened after I graduated from high school.
It is likely that within a week, I will have to face my fear…this of losing a parent. It is one I face with mixed feelings. The first is that I am glad that this cancer that has possessed him for the last two years has finally reached its end. He will be free of it and the pain and suffering it caused him. I am glad that he will no longer live this way, because the dad I knew would not have wanted to exist as he is now.
The second is that I will miss him a lot. It has always been a comfort to have him here, even when he was so far away. To know I could pick up the phone to talk to him, or plan a trip to visit him. I have spent so much time with him since he has been sick…I have spent 9 weeks total here since he was diagnosed in June of 2015, that it will seem weird not to be returning in a few weeks.
Since my dad isn’t deeply religious it seems odd to say something overly poetic about seeing him in heaven, instead it seems better to wish him a great journey to God and his happy afterlife.
I love you, Dad. Thank you so much for being you.
Callie Metler-Smith is the owner of Clear Fork Media Group in Stamford, Texas. She has owned the Stamford American since 2009 and Clear Fork Publishing since 2014. When not working on her corner of the Stamford Square, she is spending time with her husband, Philip, two sons, Logan and Ben, and her niece, Sadey.