On Thursday August 6, 2015 at 6:02 am my life was forever changed, I wake up to my mother screaming into my phone, “your dad, he just had a heart attack and he died, he died, he is dead”… All of a sudden the world stopped, all of the air was sucked out of the room and it was so quiet, then instantly its glaringly loud and i’m screaming. I didn’t understand, I was half asleep thinking this must be a bad dream. Our reaction to grief is never foretold, I screamed, so loud, I couldn’t stop screaming and soon my landlords were banging on my door. My wails echoing in the dark room, sounds so primal. These sounds are dredged from a place that we cannot fathom or reach except through these times, its a door only death can open. My dad died, he died, I never thought those words would be mine, my dad, he was supposed to live forever.
This year I cannot fathom how much the universe must hate me, it has taken away so much already, and now to take away the one who took care of our family, he was a provider, a father, a husband, and he was the hardest working man I ever knew. The man who every other man in my life will be judged by. It is too much, I do not know how to even begin to go on. It was so sudden this loss, he had just been up visiting me in Portland two weeks before. My heart was already so broken, being left alone in this screwed up city, while I was still grieving the loss of my aunt. Then three months later the universe takes my dad. These kinds of things are too much for me to bear, individually they broke me, collectively they shattered the already broken shards to dust. My heart is broken and I do not know if it will ever be fixed. I want to crawl into the deep underbelly and just stay, but I can’t, I have to be strong for my mom. to help her pick out the pictures and music for his tribute CD, write his obituary, his Eulogy, make a CD of his favorite music to play at his service and take his clothes to the mortuary. I felt so numb watching my mom hang his suit, fold his underclothes, and my first thought was I don’t think he needs underwear mom. Going through all of his drawers, finding that he kept everything, all our pictures, cards, stupid pictures I colored him. Letters from my mom, all the postcards she sent them while they were dating, all his old pictures, he kept everything. I felt so much anger, why he had to be the one that died while my POS brother in jail still got to live, why my other brother got heart surgery and his still beats. Why did my dad have to be the one who’s heart doesn’t. I never got to talk about life with my dad, fix the brokenness of our family, our relationship. The last words my dad spoke to me as he was leaving my house were “don’t be too stressed up here, not like me, its not healthy”. That was it, I hope we said we loved each other but I cannot remember if we did. I regret so much, I wish I had done so many things differently. I worked my entire life trying to make my dad proud. I carried so much with me, trying so hard, grasping for perfection so that he had at least one good kid. On the way home from his funeral I rode back to my parents house with my cousin Jo and her husband Kevin, she told me how proud my dad was of me, how he talked about me all the time, and when I was little he would beam at me, that he loved me. I wish he had told me, I wish I had known all of this, while he was alive. I feel like there is so much I didn’t know, didn’t understand about him, as a man, as a father. I wanted to use this last vacation to connect with him, to talk about the past and fix the broken parts but it didn’t turn out that way. He was so impatient with me, yelling at me, so easily stressed and I will forever have to carry that with me. I remember telling him he was going to give himself a heart attack being so stressed all the time, I will never forget that I said those words to him, like a foretelling. I loved him, I will forever miss him, my life will never be the same again.
Tell your loved ones how much you love them, how much they mean to you, let go of grudges and fear. Live your life, but live it with kindness, empathy, compassion and forgiveness. We really never know when our last breath will be, or the ones we love. In your lifetime what will you leave behind, how will you be remembered. My dad will be remembered for much, and I will hold all of my memories of him close in my heart.
My dad has a tribute page that can be visited by anyone, you can read his obituary and leave messages or memories of him… http://www.greenlawnmortuaryandcemetery.com/obituaries/Bennett-Mathison/