Things to Do - Open Up Boxes Inside Yourself


In February, after my father died a lot of friends called and asked me if I wanted to talk about it, if I needed anything. And though I appreciated their concern, I really didn't. I wanted to lock the whole thing in a box for awhile, put it away. Lately, I've been taking the box out little by little, sorting through stuff in my mind, memories and such. Baby steps. The problem is that I'm not very religious (and with that statement I just lost half my readers). Not that I have anything against religion, I just can't take the leap of faith necessary to become a believer. So when people say things like "you'll see your father again one day, in another place" I don't really believe it (no offense to those of you who do). The movie Titanic took away the little belief I have.

For those of you who have never watched Titanic - it's this incredibly cheesy love story in which a young Kate Winslet falls in love with a young Leonardo Dicaprio. Leonardo dies (of course) but Kate Winslet goes on to lead a presumably full life, with kids and grandkids. At the movie's end the audience is lead to believe that with death Kate finally returns to Leonardo. And I guess this is true romance. But I never could stop wondering - what is Kate's husband going to think about this? So he raises children with her, forges a life with her, then they get to heaven and she says "wait a minute, I don't want you. I'd rather make house with my 16 year old soule-mate?" How sad is that? So maybe in heaven such squabbles won't occur, rather we're all happy, god has a plan, etc. But what does that mean? Polygamy? Call me a prude, but I just can't get used to a polygamous heaven. Okay then maybe sex doesn't exist in heaven? Ugh, a sexless afterlife - can you imagine?

Luckily, I don't have a dead 16 year old soule-mate, but the heaven problem still plagues me. I'd reunite with my grandma, but the first thing she's say to me would be along the lines of "I can't believe you didn't baptize your kids, what were you thinking?" And my wonderful children would end up in hell, so that's a downside too. Or maybe an upside as they'd be hanging with Ghandi and I'd be getting chastised by my grandma. So confusing.

All of this is just to say that I don't really believe I'm ever going to see my dad again. I think he's gone. Really gone. Or as P would say "grandpa's soil now." And I've realized that the only way I can keep him alive is to talk about him, to try to teach my kids about him, to try as hard as I can to incorporate him into our daily lives. Which basically means digging up as many memories as I can, especially the best ones. So in the future I'll be - taking my kids to natural history museums, taking them on long bike rides, walking 10 miles just for fun, learning the names of every dog we meet, exploring all the paths in forest preserves, appreciating classical music (this one might be tough), singing loudly (and badly) in the morning, reading everything I can (this one is easy for me), playing Trivial Pursuit and Outburst. And generally just being a better person. Because I need my children to know my dad. I just need it.

Okay, enough of that, time to put the box away.


  1. Ah well- I would not call myself a religious person. There were times I believed much more- but I lost it somewhere. But I still like the thought of a God, of something bigger than us and I like to think that there is something after life- even if it maybe is just something to help people deal with loss and death. I don't know (yet) how it is to loose the father- I guess it is pretty hard. I know I miss my grandfather and I also try to tell my girls small stories about him as a way to keep his memory alive. I also wrote down his story when he was still alive and able to tell me (and the story of my grandmother too). I find it a very nice thing to do and I hope my girls will one day be interested and read their great grandparents stories.
    Have a nice weekend!

  2. hmm... I was signed in under my husbands account- the above comment is from me.

  3. I can't believe you wrote that about Kate and Leo in Titanic...because I have ALWAYS thought the same thing. I just picture her husband standing behind him, all, "Hey honey, I MISSED YOU SO MU...wait...who's this chucklehead? Why is he here??"

    I struggle with the thought of "after" nearly every day. All I can do is put that great knowledge (question? fear? I'll never be sure) out of my mind and do what you do: hold on to what I have, find ways to link them up to the past and the people I love who are gone. If we are one big chain through past, present and future...that's definitely something bigger than myself. It brings me peace, and I hope it does you, too.

    -Cath @ 7 Million Wonders

  4. Thanks to both of you for leaving comments. I struggled over whether or not to post something so personal, so it's been good to hear that other people related. I believe in a god too, though I have no idea as to her form or plan. But heaven, at least the heaven that's been sold to me (sort of this gigantic meet and greet), I just can't get my head around.

    Rahel - I love the idea of writing the stories down. Going through my grandma's old photo albums I learned so much (20 years after her death) and I wish I would have been able to share more with her when she was alive.

  5. I love your "personal" post. And I bet your dad would have too. :)

  6. Hi Darcy,

    I'm a christian, I believe in God and an afterlife (though not quite the Titanic version :).

    My mom died two years ago, and regardless of faith -- losing someone you love just plain sucks. I miss my mom dearly and I mourn her loss. My daughter was especially close to her and we still talk about Grammy.

    I just wanted to say I'm so sorry for your loss. It takes a long time for the pain to go away and we'll never fully fill the void that is left by losing someone close.



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