I've been dreading this weekend since April 9th. Our first Father's Day. An empty Father's Day. I felt it was somewhat appropriate that we, as a family, united together to walk in the Relay for Life Cancer Walk in dad's honour on Friday night. I was looking forward to doing the walk, as well as spending time with our extended family. I thought it was going to be lots of fun, and at points it, for sure, was. We managed to raise just under five thousand dollars in his name for this walk. That's amazing and I'm humbled once again at the support I, and my family, have received from so many.
What I didn't expect was the wave of emotions I experienced during the night. At the beginning of the walk, they had a separate "survivor's walk" to start the event. We all lined the path and those who have cancer or are survivor's of cancer adorned yellow shirts and lead a parade through throngs of people clapping and hooting for them. Myself included. I stood there, eventually overwhelmed in my own silence, at the numbers of yellow shirts. Not because there were tons of them, but in my opinion, there were not enough. And there was certainly one specific person wearing one of those yellow shirts who was noticeably absent.
I was overcome with a feeling of admiration and wonder. Admiration knowing those people in front of me had been dealt a shitty blow and still they managed to work through it and come out on the other side. The remission side, the celebratory side. I was also struck with curiosity of how they mentally dealt with the whole situation. Probably because in my own grief I seem to be stuck on the continuous wonder of how my dad felt mentally about his situation. I wonder if he was scared (I am pretty sure I already know this answer but I'm sad he never felt he could truly speak of it). I vividly remember the look on his face when they told him he had maybe two days left. It far outweighs the look on his face when they first told him he had cancer.
After being surprised with those feelings, I was immediately overwhelmed with a feeling of jealousy and envy. Jealous because my dad didn't get a fair chance. Jealous that these people got to walk beside "their" survivor in support. Envy because we had no one who could wear the yellow shirt. I miss my dad. More than I ever thought possible.
I was on the continuous verge of tears the entire night and many times, the tears won. At one point I had a complete break down and had to walk away from the event area and go find a private spot with Eric just to try to regain my composure. Just walking the path could set me off. Spending time with my dad's family set me off. Hearing their stories set me off. Getting hugs from them set me off. They are one step closer to my dad for me.
It was only a walk but it was also an emotional roller coaster for me. One I never considered I'd be riding last night. I suppose it's healthy in my grief journey. I know I hold in my thoughts and emotions for the most part and I keep pushing the whole thing to the back of my mind so I don't have to feel the pain. Yesterday and last night I was overcome with emotional pain.
I'm sad and I'm angry and I'm hurting. I'm tired, already, of trying to find the silver linings. The silver linings that help me process everything that's happened. They help me temporarily but the unknown, the uncertainty, the fear, the loss, the look on his face....they all continue to haunt me. They peek through the silver linings. They seem to be winning.