You're Not Weird and You're Not Alone
One of my pledge sisters was in town a few months ago. Her husband had a work conference and she came along. We met for lunch and I SO enjoyed catching up with her, hearing about her life in Alaska, and her little boy. Don't you love those friends who are always ready to pick up right where you left off?
In the time we've been apart, though, both of our dads have died. Both from cancer. Hers much more swiftly than mine. I always say it's a club you never want to be in and wouldn't wish on anyone else, the Dead Parents Society, but you sure are glad you're not alone in it. And as we were talking about our dads, we touched on something I think about often and had never said aloud.
Every time I mention him, even almost six years after he died, every time I tell a story about him, I think to myself I just talked about my dad. Was that weird everyone else? Was it weird for me? Is it weird now? Am I making it weirder? Every time I mention him, I THINK about the fact that I just mentioned him, and I wonder if it sounded natural, if it made the person I'm talking to uncomfortable, or if they want to look at me with that pity look I hate so much and got so often when he was sick and right after he died.
And in learning that she has the same thought process, I was able to forgive myself a little for that almost daily internal battle. It feels natural for me to mention him, to tell that story. I'm not forcing him into conversations where he doesn't fit, but I still wonder...was that weird?
I'm not very sad when I talk about him, usually. I'm sometimes wistful. I often mention him without thinking, which might be what stops me. "My dad would say it's a 'tittle bit nippley' out today," I said last weekend. And then I stopped and thought, Was that weird?
And then I thought, Wow, what a dad joke. I'm sure if he were still around there would be a million more where that one came from.
I'm not sure that is it weird? thought process will go away anytime soon and I suppose another thing that conversation gave me is permission to work through it as it happens and not try to force myself into not thinking about talking about him after I've talked about him. Does that make any sense at all?
In any case, it showed me how NOT weird it is to keep our loved ones alive, even if you're thinking about the fact that you just thought about them. Meta.
If you're doing this, though, I'm here to tell you you're not weird, at least when it comes to talking about your people. I can't comment on the rest.
And you're most certainly not alone.