I was supposed to post a post on Friday. I was doing so well, Friday would have made the fifth consecutive Friday and leading up to that day, I was feeling pretty accomplished. Then I sat down on Friday and fell apart. It’s not easy to admit that, but the fact that I don’t have to do it face-to-face with any actual person makes it a lot easier, I’m not gonna lie. Well, not to you. To myself, all the time.
In case you’re one of the 8 people on earth that didn’t know, today is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s birthday – so HAAAAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I won’t tell you how old he is today but I WILL tell you that he looks DAMN GOOD for whatever it is – shit – he looks damn good PERIOD. Anyway, he’s a fellow ‘afakasi’ – or half Samoan – like me, and although I think he is one of the most well put together – outside and in – men in the world, my admiration is strictly platonic. Besides, I’m pretty sure we’re cousins, somehow. In my experience, all Samoans are related. Or so they say. So bestest birthday love out to one of the few great men still walking this earth; the kind of man that loves his children, puts his family first and respects and honors his significant other. 2 Big High Fives, sir, and a snap back 😉
Oh, wait, don’t go, no, that’s not why I fell apart, haha! My bad. See…I’m desperately trying to avoid this void that’s been missing, but at the same time, so present. *sigh*
Before it was the national holiday that it is, being the Rock’s birthday, today was already a special day – it’s someone else’s birthday, one of the top someone’s of my existence…my dad. Well do they still have birthdays in heaven? Or is it, like, everyday is your birthday? How do you even know when a day is a new day? Dammit! There I go, wandering off. Sorry. As I was saying, uh…what was I saying. Ah, yes, dad.
Today would have been my dad’s 71st birthday but he rode off into the sunset shortly after his 69th. But that’s not why I fell apart. I mean, not exactly.
No one ever tells you the part about life where you start to lose the people that you consider Your People. Your foundation, your roots, your heart…Your People. No one ever tells you how much it hurts. Or that you may possibly burst into tears at any given moment for an unknown window of time thereafter. Or that you will more than likely and, often, without any warning, lose a large part of the control of which emotions you let the world see. You’ve held onto that control for a long time, maybe you took it for granted, got a little too smug, a little too cocky, thinking you were the conductor and the world only saw what you put on the playlist for them at any given moment. No one ever tells you when, or even IF, you’ll ever get to the bottom of the seemingly bottomless well of grief. Or if you’ll make it back up. Or what you might find when you do smash into it – or that it’ll probably be face first.
So what did I do at the first sign of the internal mutiny of emotions that promised to rob me of my hard won (or so I think) control? I shut it down. I walked around it. I used my work as a way around the sink hole in my heart and I pushed The Void down, smothered it with paperwork and new employees in the office, and lots of alcohol.
Surprise, surprise, it was still there every time I peeked out from under the haze of work, various avenues of stress, or alcohol – or all of the above.
See, kids, as hard as you may try and as fantastic as you’ve been at it in prior situations, with this, with loss and grief and the void you feel, none of the old shit works. You can’t avoid a void forever.
My humpty-dumpty episode (which was clearly not as happy as the above seems to be) and the resulting “a-ha!” aftermath makes me think (AND HOPE, please sweet baby Jesus) that I’ve finally reached the bottom of the well, and you know what? He’s not here. On purpose. And I can’t remember why I wanted to get here because I knew he wouldn’t be. And that was The Click. Things sliding into focus gave me a monster headache.
I think I know why no one ever tells you about this part of life. Well, I know why I’m not going to ramble on at you about it today. It’s because this level of grief is extremely, excruciatingly personal and pretty impossible to explain in words. And it’s different for everyone and it’s not, uhh…it’s not normal. I mean, normally, when any emotion rocks your world, when your boss is a jerk or when your boyfriend is a jerk or when your anxiety levels are at dangerous, red alert levels for whatever reason (don’t judge me), I know I find comfort venting to my family or my friends, or writing about it, or just imagining the offender’s creative – often whimsical in the end, don’t ask me why – demise. But with this, with The Grief, you realize that you’ve never felt grief before. You know, like the first time you have a real, bonafide, everything you smell makes you want to puke and you swear that you’ll never drink ever again hangover. You realize, in the disgustingly long moment when you start to gain consciousness – and your active sense of smell – that nothing you’ve ever experienced held a candle to the unspeakable (literally) misery you woke up to.
But worse. Worse because you didn’t get yourself drunk like a dumbass, nope, someone you hold more dear than the dearest is just gone. You had no say, no vote…no choice.
I don’t find comfort in talking about it or even writing about it, I mean, I’m sitting here with tears streaming down my face, which means my eyes will be fat all day. Dammit. Just kidding. They’ll only be fat for a couple hours. (kidding again :))
You know what does give me comfort? Knowing that he’s no longer in pain and no longer confined to a bed, a prisoner of his own body, his mind still at top performance but his mouth unable to communicate. I find comfort knowing that he’s back to his old tricks, being the witty wiseass with the heart of moss-covered gold, flirting with all the ladies, and toasting himself to a nice purplish hue in some azure colored water surrounded by schools of fish that are fascinated by his scales. I find comfort knowing he’ll have my nephew in tow, who followed him just over a year later, that dumb ass, bringing up the rear with their catch of the day. Smiling. The smiling is what really helps bring me down out of the Grief Tree.
Of course, another source of comfort is imagining what he’d say to me in this situation. I can just hear him telling me to get off my ass and stop crying over whatever I spilled.
Here’s what I imagine he’d say to me, *ahem*:
“What happened? What?! Motherfu— well, what are you waiting for? Clean it up and get going, shit – FOCUS! Get to work – HUSTLE! How the fuck you think you’re going to change the world sitting on your ass and crying about something you can’t change?! (Here’s where he’d change his tone, you know, bring it down a few hundred notches, because I’d be sitting there looking pathetic and he’d feel bad for yelling at me 🙂 Or he’d see this in his mind:
he’s really just a big teddy bear with occasional, but always poignant, potty-mouth) He’d conclude his “pep talk” probably like this:
Princess, life is full of things you can’t change, and that’s not going to change. You need to get past what’s already passed and remember that if you keep looking in the rear view mirror – you’ll fucken hit something! Shit, or worse, someone. Watch the road, balance the clutch and the gas, just like I told you, and always remember to adjust your fucken mirrors. Now move your ass, young lady. I’m watching you.”
I miss you, Dad. Manuia Lou Aso Fanau. Ou te alofa ia te oe ma lou loto atoa.
xoxo – P.R.