Category Archives: Grieving

Jim’s Cow

Hey. Its December 1 again. Its been a year since I posted or really wrote. I started the below long ago and never went back to it until now.
I have gotten a couple responses about how I deal with grief since that seems to be my main (only) subject. Here’s a story…
A couple weeks after my last post we were getting pictures taking of the newborn Junior and the family. When Junior one was born, I got some pictures with a cow my dad had in his cars and around the house for years. It is one of the few things I still have 19 years and 15ish residences later, that he owned. It was nice for him to be remembered that way.
The morning of the pictures I woke up and realized I wanted the deuce to recreate that photo. So, I looked where I thought it was and it wasn’t there. So, I looked in my underwear drawer and then all my clothes drawers, and the closets….and this is where the grief took over.
I needed to help pick up the house so it looks nice in photos but instead I was demolishing boxes of things in the house and then the memory boxes in the garage. The lost cow took over my head. I needed that cow. It symbolized my dad. I wanted my boys to play with it like they would him.
I started literally turning boxes over on the ground. Just dumping them. Just dumping then kicking the contents around. Tubs of electronics. By this time, I was sobbing. Like a complete snotty, ugly cry. I spent 30-45 minutes looking and just left a path of destruction in the rooms we weren’t going to be photographed.
I never found it. But needed to get ready to be photogenic. So, I took a shower and finished the ugly cries and moved on.
I forgot about it a couple days later.
Then while digging through old bills and mail and some “memories” it was in the middle. Just chillin’
The ideas of forever loss flooded me. And I sighed. I was glad it was back but sad my second kid won’t know grandpa Jim. And again the insane grief was back, and I sat in it wondering if it would ever actually be better or just more buried.
Now it’s been 20 years. More without than with. And still something that makes me turn off TV shows or divert conversations like I did then.

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Filed under Death, Freewrite, Grieving, Junior, Transparency

19

It’s been as many years without as with now. I feel like I have moved on in some ways and in others I still wake up wondering how he would help.  Wondering how much knowledge I missed getting from him.  How much I wouldn’t have failed at if I was still attempting to listen to his guidance…that no longer exists.  

As I prepare for another kiddo I once again grieve the fact he will never hold him. I once again am reminded how he would be the greatest cheerleader and helper as the day nears quickly. That he would be the fixer needed.  

This year has been filled with a lot of what ifs though.  What if I wasn’t this old and unskilled mostly.  And the one person I feel could often relate would be him. What if that accident didnt happen.  Or if he was paralyzed instead of killed.  What if blah blah blah. 

My doctor says I shouldn’t think that way on the new drugs. But I wonder a lot and play out the what ifs to long distances. 

A month or so ago I realized this was basically half way.  Basically half my life without him. The real halfway is sometime next summer. But it made me wonder if I need to keep going with the grieving. With the feeling of loss.  And the past couple weeks make me realize I need to continue to be aware.  

The little moments when junior asks about my dad and whose tummy I was in.  And who my Dada is and why I don’t have a dad like him and why I am sad when he asks too many questions.  Or when I witness cars crash and have a ton of emotions. Or when friends speak of fighting with their fathers and all I think is “at least you have a dad”.  

That this is going to continue to be something I fight with and cry about and am tired of for life. Dad’s death will always be a large part of my story.  If not a climax at least one of them. 

Because it was sudden. And I was in the middle of figuring out life on my own and become respectful of him again. I was becoming an adult and not finished yet. We were talking after teenage years of fighting.  So it wasn’t perfect and I’m not perfect with my boy(s). But the older I get the more I realize that relationship can never be replaced by another friendship.  Or another male role model. It just won’t be the same. Which makes it harder.  

And it makes me realize I won’t ever forget this day. And probably shouldn’t. 

Miss you JimMeeks. 

This is not a post asking for help.  It is my yearly ritual to acknowledge and process my dad’s death.  

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Filed under Death, Freewrite, Grieving, Junior, Overthinking, unfinished thoughts

18

Dad

 

It has been 18 years since I lost Dad.  Which is just a stupid long time for it still to hurt and for me to need trigger warnings on multiple shows and online videos still.  But long enough to forget stories and memories.  His voice no longer just comes to me when I think of him.  But will eventually when I think long enough.  Too long to see his posts online somewhere, or pictures, or voice mails.

Being an adult is still difficult without that fatherly figure to help me with relationship issues, work issues, or to show me how to stop the fireplace from smoking up the whole house. Or why the lights over the dining table won’t stop burning out. Or how to build a vegetable garden that is too big to keep up with.  I might have that under control.  I’d love to be able to chat about his stay at home years and how he stayed sane.

But instead, for the last 18 years, I have been winging it.  I have looked for other father figures, but none are the same.  None will do when I was already “raised” when he suddenly passed.

I have made it another year though.  I have figured out how to be a dad myself with a talking, complaining, questioning son.   I have lost track of the times I have thought about how he would like to hear Junior is getting revenge on me by do what I probably did at his age or older.

It doesn’t make it easier to be constantly reminded of the loss in that, or the fact I have multiple friends in the midst of similar shocking losses right now and it brings up the “too soon”, “too young”, “too sudden” thoughts.   But it is part of my story.

And with each passing year, I try to identify with it being part of the story, not the climax, or piviotal moment just a section of the story.  But it is a large part, and I am trying to find something else to make the pivotal moment.

And this year, Junior is old enough to know who pictures are, so he is beginning to meet Grandpa Jim, if only in the couple pictures I have.  And the couple stories that have stuck.  And the silly things he said that are now coming out of my mouth.  Which brings up a whole ‘nother bucket of turds in trying to teach a little boy without real Grandpops what they should be.  And that is the hardest to stomach some days.

Miss you Dad. Every day.

 

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Filed under Adulthood, Death, Freewrite, Grieving, Junior, Marriage, Transparency

Da Pressed

NOTE: The following has been written and deleted at least a hundred times in various forms and continues to build.  It is real talk about where I am today that I feel needs to be shared.  One for some people close to me to understand. Two for some people to not feel alone potentially. 

Recently I was talking to new friends and telling stories of my past. Those stories led me to think of more as I laid in bed attempting to sleep that night and they overtook my thinking. Lately my thinking has a lot to do with working and careers and decisions in my past that have led me to being a 36 year old unable to find work.  Someone who can put out 30+ resumes and contact multiple staffing agencies and still have only one (failed) interview in a month.

When I was 19 I was a horrible employee.  Actually for the first few years of working I didn’t want responsibility and didn’t think of any job as a career.  But when I was 19 I was horrible.  Twice in a year I called in sick for a day of work and didn’t respond for weeks after.  Both were manual labor positions and both were not fun
(no excuse).  The first was in Fairbanks at a library on campus and I went six weeks before running into a former coworker and him telling me they needed help.  So I went back for a couple weeks until the semester was over and the project I was hired for finished.  The second was worse.  I worked for a temp agency in Atlanta and was placed at a machine shop.  The owner was a complete racist, as were the employees and in response to my lack of effort (most likely) I never was really trained.  I had a lot of little injuries, damaged multiple machines and often just ended up doing custodial work for minimum wage.  So one day I called out.

I watched TV a lot.  I made a massive batch of pancakes and ate those alone for a few days.  I moved the exercise bike into the living room so I could ride it while I watched TV.  I pulled out the sleeper sofa mattress so I could lay down while watching TV.  I went days without showering.  Using the same cup and plate for days.  I didn’t open the drapes or go outside and could only fall asleep if there was background noise so lost track of day and night.

I often say I was a bad employee for this.  But the other night as I remembered this I realized I wasn’t just a bad employee.

I was horribly depressed.

Last year, I quit three jobs…well four if you include putting Junior back into daycare to find a job.   I quit them for various reasons but none the less I made the choice to leave all of them.  The last made the biggest impact on me though because it was toxic.  I was constantly being told I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t following the rules, but then being told in code to cut corners to make my time.  EVERYONE there was depressed and beaten down.  It was not an okay place for a guy that can easily slide into that mindset.

I look back on the last year or so and have a million what ifs.  What if I didn’t get an implanted tooth but just another root canal?  What if I didn’t lose two months’ salary gambling?  What if I didn’t have to work delivering papers for a dollar an hour take home? What if our car wasn’t stolen allowing us to pay off the debt of one credit card? What if I didn’t quit a job with amazing benefits and pay but mundane work and problematic coworkers?  What if I didn’t quit a high pay hard working toxic job for another 3 months?  What if I didn’t get strep throat? What if we went to a doctor instead of the ER?  What if my counselor didn’t leave our session notes in public for an acquaintance to find and crush my trust in the one person I was willing to share all stories and feelings with?

What if I wasn’t depressed? Again? For another winter? For another year?

The answer to all is of course, WHO KNOWS?

Because the what ifs could go further back to meeting the beautiful Hannah, to moving and staying in Portland, to quitting college multiple times, to being rejected by most kids in high school, to moving to the south…and possibly even further back to the babysitter throwing and breaking my Snoopy hair brush in the bathtub (my first memory?).

All of these things have made me who I am.  And apparently today who I am is a slightly depressed 36 year old who failed to find another real job so is pulling his son from daycare again to stay at home dad with him.  Who is married to an amazing woman who has no concept of my career struggles because she loves her work and loves being able to provide for her family.  Who has time to work on his homestead and maybe get some odd jobs to pay for the luxuries he desires.

And that should be nothing to be depressed about, right?

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Filed under Adulthood, Freewrite, Grieving, Junior, Marriage, Overthinking, The Jesus Way, Transparency

17

Seventeen years ago today I got news that changed the rest of my life. News of a tragic and fatal automobile accident that took my father from me.  Recently it has led me to start rethinking about how to chronicle the 10 years I spent being a 19 year old.  How it took me a long time to deal with the loss and how “dealing with it” often meant just moving on and accepting.  How I ran from responsibility, keep relationships at arm’s length and never admit any internal pain publically.  Rehashing the memories the last few months has led me into some really bad and difficult mental spots.  Occasionally more difficult than the six or so months of bad depression immediately after Dad died.  It probably has a lot to do with how I am repeating his life.

How I am struggling for an occupational identity

How I want to write but struggle to find the time to make it a priority

How projects start small but become massive and time consuming and require a village to implement

How I am staying home with my son instead of working like he did for at least a few years before I was in high school

How I have to wear glasses, have more fake teeth than real, and how my body aches every morning before I am 40

How blue collar work sounds noble to us but leads to more of those morning aches than it is worth

But like him I learning about how simple life can be if you let it.  He was often amazed by things teenage me thought were boring.  How driving for hours on end or sitting in the woods recharges the soul and yet leaves you with nothing still to talk about.  How watching the same movies or shows is often more exciting than finding something new to watch in the limited time to sit you have.  I have also started annoying the beautiful Hannah while I read placards at museums and monuments when she just looks at the pictures and wants to keep moving.  “Because words matter and paint pictures better in our memories” or something like that.

It does make me a little sadder every year to realize that Junior will never have a Grandpa even for just a few years like I did.  That we won’t have multiple generations in a picture on Facebook like friends will.  That he won’t hear Grandpa Jim’s horrible jokes or stories that change slightly every time they are told.

I don’t know why it is harder this year than last to fathom the loss of a Grandpa for my son.  Maybe because he would be able to ask for him now.  And run to him and grab a phone to call like he does his grandmothers and great-papa.  Or because I would be able to watch and learn from him and that is what I am missing.

So instead I have to tell the bad jokes and make myself available to play and laugh with him.  And try to remember Dad’s stories so I can pass them on.

Miss you Dad.

Writer’s note- This time of year depresses me.  I am doing okay—family—and am working through how to figure out life in its newest revelation. Thanks for understanding and letting me still be public with thoughts.

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Filed under Adulthood, Freewrite, Grieving, unfinished thoughts