What’s Been Up

Hi everyone. I know I’ve been MIA. I’ve been so on purpose. I also know my domain expired. I let it on purpose. Truthfully I’m just not driven to write about my life anymore. I want to keep my life safe and secret and just for me and those closest to me. Although sharing throughout my separation and divorce was extremely therapeutic, sharing since my divorce has felt almost like a chore. I can’t promise I’ll keep writing or if I do, how often, but I think I’m finally ready to talk about something.

One of my greatest fears about living Saudi Arabia has always been something happening to one of my parents. I’m so far, it’s so hard to get home. What would I do if one of them was sick, on their death bed, or needing long-term care and I can’t get there? I thought this was something I wouldn’t have to face for at least the next 20 years. I was wrong.

Friday June 10th, just before sitting down to break fast with my best friend and our kids, my mom called to tell me the devastating news that my father had passed away in his sleep. My mind raced. I didn’t believe it. He wasn’t sick. I’d just talked to him. I’d planned to call him that night. I collapsed to the floor. My hands and body shook uncontrollably. I messaged my dad because I just couldn’t process it. My dad?! I sobbed into my best friend’s shoulder. I called my step mom and listened to her scream and sob incoherently. I pulled myself together to tell my daughter. She screamed. Neither of us ate much for breakfast that day. I didn’t eat much for days. Plans were made and money was borrowed and tickets were bought for a trip home that I swore I wasn’t taking this year for a reason I could have never imagined.

Walking into my dad’s house without him being there was overwhelming but for the next nine days I made it my mission to hold myself together for everyone else around me, especially my dear step mother. I’d lost my father, but she’d lost her husband, a loss that must be impossible to bounce back from, so I was determined to catch her as she fell as best as I could.

Everything from that week and a half now feels like a blur. Friends were there and I can’t even remember what conversations I had with them. So many people came to the viewing and funeral. I must have received hundreds of hugs from people I don’t know. It still doesn’t feel real. I always thought the concept of denial in death was ridiculous. How could someone deny a death? It’s obvious and real and there’s no denying it. But now I realize that denial isn’t a choice. It’s so difficult for my brain to process. One night I made a huge pot of spaghetti and homemade sauce for the dozen or so people gathered at my dad’s place and before I could eat I thought I need to make my dad a plate and set it aside for him. I even said it out loud. It sounds ridiculous, but I still keep thinking of things I need to tell my dad. I’m not sure that feeling will ever stop and I’m ok with that.

There’s so much more I wanted my dad to be around for, but your time is your time and my family and I have experienced the brutal reality of life’s unexpectedly short nature. His death has motivated me to take a serious inventory of my life and my choices. My heart is sad that he is gone, but I refuse to live a sad life. I know he wouldn’t want that for me, especially since my life has been otherwise amazing and he was so happy for me. So I’m still choosing happiness and to enjoy life and to be a good person as long as I’m still around.


26 thoughts on “What’s Been Up

  1. So very sorry for your loss. I lost my father 8 years ago and didn’t realize how much I depended on him for emotional support and for his wisdom until after he died. I became frozen about making life decisions because I always consulted his opinion. Even when I didn’t take his advice, his opinion was still the barometer I used to make life decisions. It’s been a challenge to know how to replace that in my life, at my age even. It is especially true when you are a single mother because your father remains the constant man in your life as he did in mine. I understand the sense of emptiness that is there, the space that can’t be filled. We know our parents are going to leave us some day, yet we are never ready for it. Making the choice to be happy is the best choice you can make. Nothing else in life can be as certain as your choice to be happy.

  2. When you wrote that you keep thinking of things to tell your dad – I GET THAT. My dad died 5 years ago . Him and my mother lived right across the street from me, my husband and 3 sons. He had a heart attack in my driveway at 77 years old and died 3 days later. For about 3 years I constantly wanted to tell him things that happened. Everyday ordinary things that I know he’d be interested in. I’d be reminded of him when I heard a certain song or saw something on TV or saw an antique car he might like. I knew he was gone but somewhere in my brain i was storing up all these things that I couldn’t wait to talk to him about. I kept thinking I’d glimpse him in odd places as I went about my day. In the clouds, in a tree, in a crowd, out in a field. I’d picure him smiling and waving to me. I’m not a religious person at all so I don’t believe that I will see him again or I don’t know where he went. He just ceased to exist to me – in his physical form. Buy he was everywhere in my mind for years. I still miss him tremendously but my thoughts of him have lessened. I no longer expect to see him here or there. I no longer expect to tell him all that’s been going on since he’s been “gone”. My mother is completely lost without him and I swear to God, still cries daily about him. She tells me she still reaches out every night in bed for him. They were together 50 years. But I agree with you, our dads would not want us to live a sad life. I try to be happy and positive every day. But I’m sure for awhile you will just be going through the motions. It does get easier but it’s going to hurt for some time. I’m so so sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you for sharing. I haven’t told anyone this yet for fear of sounding outright crazy, but on my trip home for his funeral I could have sworn I saw him twice. The first time it hit me so hard and it was so real that I found myself walking up to this man…until about a foot in front of him when I realized it couldn’t be my dad because he was dead. The brain is quite tricky isn’t it?

  3. Hugs, dear friend. I wish I could sit with you in person. I remember reading grief described once as a gigantic hole in the ground that doesn’t ever go away or get any smaller, but in time you learn where it is and don’t fall into it as often. You’re still stepping where there used to be solid ground and now there’s a hole. It hurts just as bad every time. And there’s nothing anyone can do but sit nearby while you cry. Or sit far away and send love. xx

  4. Dear Mandi, I’ve always read your blog without commenting on it.
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I send you a big hug and my condolences. Take care.
    A big hug from Western Australia

  5. If I’m being honest, this is one of my fears. I live in Kuwait and now that my parents are older I sometimes worry that I won’t see them again. Every time I get a wrong call at the early hours of the morning my heart races. It’s usually some drunk idiot, but still. It’s all too real.

    Hang in there. You will start feeling a little more normal I guess as time goes on. Yes the void will always be there, but you’ll start to accept it. God bless you. Mmmuah

  6. If I’m being honest, this is one of my biggest fears. Living in Kuwait and away from my parents and grandparents in particular, I’m always dreading getting that phone call in the middle of the night telling me that they’ve passed. Especially as they’re getting older. Its going to happen eventually, but I just cant…
    I pray that God will comfort you and give you the strength to go on. Yes, the void will always be there, but hopefully one day you’ll be able to accept it and go on. Mmmmuuuuah! Take care

  7. I cannot say I am liking to read the text above… Really… I don’t do. But you are right. That’s all I will say. I will also keep an eye open as I did until now! You will be missed. Take lots of care, señorita!!!

  8. I’m SO sorry you’ve had to experience this. I hope you and your family find peace as you continue to process your grief. I’ve missed reading about your life, but understand your decision to stop writing about it. Just know that you continue to have many “friends” out here who care about you and wish the best for you and your daughter.

  9. I don’t care what Islam thinks of when people die. I’m Muslim and I believe when people die they are still with us as spirit angel guides, or whatever you want to call them. If you believe it, lay quietly and relax and deep breath. Focus on you dad and ask is he here. Ask for a sign. You might here a knock or a bird could show up at the window. Something will happen to confirm he heard and is there. He hears you. Be aware of noises that are not normal like knocks. I called my gram and she threw the sound of pebbles on my car as I was driving. I drove everyday in the same spot trying to see if by chance I drove over small rocks, but it was impossible the way it happened . So ya, your dads with you. Sorry to be the odd ball. I send my condolences.

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