I let the 21st come and go without paying attention. I knew it was coming but didn’t take time on Friday to remember. It actually explains while I’ve been feeling like 💩.
I tend to remember his birthday a bit more intentionally. It’s harder and more unsettling to remember the day he died nine years ago (after 13 months of battling a late diagnosis of stage four cancer of the esophagus / stomach.)
*This is where I always include a few disclaimers. Don’t feel sorry for me, and don’t assume you know how I feel. Yes, there is a loss. But it’s also so much more complicated. With all that said, just hold space for me. Please don’t “pray for me” to feel better. That’s not the point. The point is to remember. And I’m doing that with my words here, by giving space for these thoughts. I may not actually feel sadness today but I have felt a bit off the past week and I’m just acknowledging that. And this is actually not a sad post, it gets better 🙂 I found some fun pictures of us being “active.”
My dad liked to be active. He played basketball in the 80’s in short shorts, hiked through jungles and went snorkeling in beautiful tropical reefs. Together we went on fun runs and spent time just the two of us on field trips or just trips to the backyard for science, or a family favorite, with trips to the zoo.
He gave me a racquetball set for my thirteenth birthday and volleyball for another. He encouraged activity, and I’m beginning to recall those as some of my favorite times with my dad. Now that I think about it, he was most at ease and less critical and more patient during those times, he was most relaxed and I think the unofficial role he played as “coach dad” and “fun dad” was one of my favorites. When we were working on volleyball drills the summer before 11th grade he was encouraging and helpful in building my skills.
I enjoyed both racquetball and volleyball on the few occasions we got to play. As I got older I enjoyed sprinting; (My last name is Quick after all 😉 ) but hated the mandatory long distance runs in PE class (UGH!). In some small way he encouraged play. I may not love cardio, hello, that’s why I love yoga… hahah, but I love moving my body and feeling at home in it. He may have spoken unkind words to me unintentionally about my body (see, I said it was complicated) but I’m remembering the good things from my childhood whether it was badminton, 🏸 riding my bicycle or on the rocket 🚀 swing he made just for me. (Which, sadly I don’t have pictures of)
*Another disclaimer… I spent 6 months in therapy talking about the painful times and places I was wounded emotionally, in order to bring healing, and it wasn’t until I acknowledged the grief I had of our complicated relationship and worked through a lot of that before I was able to grieve the actual death and loss of my dad. Now, nine years later, I still come up on painful memories, but more and more of the good memories, and much less hurt. Sweeping things under the rug may be a temporary coping mechanism, but from my experience, it’s much more necessaary to talk through them and work through them for the purpose of emotional healing.
Remembering all the good times we had playing, doing sports or science, is incredible timing considering I will soon be a yoga instructor, it’s very full circle in a way I hadn’t thought about before and that makes me very happy. 🙂 I am grateful and glad for all the good times and fun adventures we had together and miss being able to play racquetball or a fun run together. I love you, fun, silly, adventurous, playful, Coach Dad. ❤