Dad wasn't much for a public fuss -- he didn't even like birthday parties -- and he didn't want a wake or funeral. Even if I'd had any say-so in the arrangements (I didn't), of course I would have respected his wishes. But I've always believed that the physical act of grieving -- dealing with a funeral director, choosing flowers, sitting with family, talking to people you haven't seen since the last death in the family -- is cathartic. And our family didn't have that.
So when I did post on Facebook and Twitter last week, I uploaded a photo I'd taken that morning, during my first run after a prolonged respiratory infection and then my dad's passing. And I captioned it, "This is my church."
|This is my church.|
So when I went for that first run last week, finally, it occurred to me: Seeing as I'm not going to have the chance to grieve my dad in a religious sanctuary, funeral home, cemetery or anywhere else, this is where I'm going to do it. It was while I was running that I really started to work on my feelings for my dad. When I was alone in my sanctuary, I could begin to process the good, the bad, the regrets, the memories, the anger, the sadness -- the whole damn thing.
My dad and I had a complicated relationship. His passing has forced me to examine that, reflect on it and try to put it into some kind of context. I don't expect to find any easy answers, and I don't anticipate that I'll really put it into the rear-view mirror for a long time. But I do know where I'll be looking for those answers.
Because this is my church.