“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.’
My father passed away the middle of last month. Since then I haven’t been quite the same. His death came as a surprise to us. He was in the hospital with pneumonia, but he was getting better we thought.
Even though I wasn’t as close with my father as I would have liked, his death has hit me very hard. I’m still processing his death, and everything that goes along with the death of a parent.
My father was a 20 year Air Force veteran. So it was important to me that we honor his Air Force career at his memorial service. We were finally able to have his memorial service this past weekend. We had the service at Lake Wateree in Camden, South Carolina. It was a beautiful morning, a bit windy, but so beautiful nonetheless. The Honor Guard from Shaw Air Force Base was on hand to do a flag folding ceremony, play taps and present me with the flag on behalf of The President. That was a very moving part of the ceremony I have to say, especially when the guy played taps. Wow! After the service was over, my brother and I went on to the dock and spread my father’s ashes into the lake. My father was a wonderful photographer, and LOVED to take photographs of nature, especially at lakes. We felt like Lake Wateree was a fitting place for his final resting place. With Hurricane Matthew, and red tape with the Air Force made getting the memorial done any sooner difficult.
Right after he passed away, my husband and I traveled from South Carolina to Florida where he lived to pack up his possessions, look for a will, for paperwork on life insurance, etc. My brother met us there the next day. It was a difficult few days going through my father’s belongings. I felt like I was invading his privacy. I had never been there before. Like I said before, my father and I were not close…he wasn’t around when I was growing up and we had just reconnected when I was an adult, so our relationship was a bit unusual.
My father was cremated, he didn’t want a funeral. He didn’t have any friends that I know of. As far I know, he pretty much stayed to himself. He lived near my Aunt and her husband in Florida. She passed away two years ago. So, her husband has been checking on him over the last two years and has still been dealing with the death of his wife.
I didn’t talk to my father often. We mainly ‘connected’ on Facebook, or email. Which I often wonder would have been different if I had called him more. But, I don’t think it would have been. I had a hard time actually speaking to him on the phone. The physical part of actually picking up the phone to call him. I would psych myself out so many times…’do I call, do I not call?’ I remember a couple of times this past year that he actually called me, and I feel really bad that I actually declined the calls. It was just not an easy relationship. He came to see my family and I back in 2009, and it was the first time I saw him 17 years. It was also the last time I was to see him.
So, one would think that if I didn’t see my father or speak to him very much that this death would be easier for me. Well, it sure has not. I have clinical depression already. I have struggled with depression for almost 18 years now. I see a Christian Psychologist and a Psychiatrist. I also am not embarrassed to say that I take medication for my depression. I have for many years. I know many people, including family members who think I shouldn’t , but that is their opinion. I am a much more stable, better functioning person on my medication. It works well for me, and until you have walked a mile in my shoes, don’t judge me or my situation and tell me what is or isn’t good for me.
It seems like lately all I want to do is curl up on my bed or in my recliner and binge watch my favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix and eat chocolate cake. There is something magical in chocolate that seems to soothe me when I am depressed. It’s a good thing I am almost always out of chocolate when I am depressed, and I usually just turn to a bowl of cereal instead. Which is boring, but cures my sweet tooth.