On Grief and SAD

Is anyone else majorly riding the struggle bus in February? It happens to me every single year. I don't do well being cooped up inside for months at a time. I need sunshine, and exercise, and Vitamin D. Otherwise, I get SAD. I've diagnosed myself with Seasonal Affective Disorder, or seasonal depression.

The last few weeks have been rough for me. Other than the typical doom and gloom I experience this time of year, I've had something else weighing heavy on my heart. If you regularly follow this blog, you may recall that my Dad has been experiencing some really serious health issues the last few months. I've restrained myself from talking about it because he's in a vulnerable situation and I'm sure he would prefer that I respect his privacy. It hasn't been easy, though. Writing is my therapy. I haven't been able to process a lot of the heartbreak I've been dealing with the way that I would like, and it's difficult.

For months, my sister and I have waited for the phone call that tells us that he's finally at peace. And instead, we have been met with hospitalizations and heartbreak. On several occasions, we have mentally and emotionally prepared ourselves for the end, and it continues to elude us. Meanwhile, my Dad suffers constantly.

SAD has made me an insomniac. An insomniac who has been drinking her feelings far too frequently. And it leaves me with too much time in the evenings to dwell on what is happening and what could have been. I've found myself not grieving for the inevitable end of my Dad's life, but grieving for the life I never had with him.

My Dad had his stroke when I was 10 years old. Which leaves me about 5ish years of childhood memories to go off of. My baby sister has even less. I know that it's neither healthy or productive to think about what life would have been like had he not had his stroke, but nevertheless, that's where my mind goes.

I think about what life would have been like if he had and my Mom had divorced, he got his own place, and he came to pick us up on the weekends to stay with him. (Rather than my Mom driving us to visit him in his assisted living apartments throughout the years). I think about sitting side by side with him on the couch drinking Coronas and watching his favorite teams, the Oakland Raiders and LA Lakers. I think about whether he would have stepped up and taken us in had he realized that my Mom's second husband was abusive. I think about him walking me down the aisle at my wedding, singing the song he wrote for me as a baby, and sharing that first dance.

I think about whether he would have taught me to drive. I think about whether he would have sent me money as a broke college student. I think about whether I would have talked to him about the men I dated, and whether he would have given them shit upon meeting them.

My Dad was not a perfect man or a perfect Dad. And I try not to paint a picture of him in my mind of anything other than what he was/is. But the fact remains- I am 99% my father's daughter. I resemble him to a T, we share the same sarcastic sense of humor, and even as a shell of the man he once was, we have an undeniable chemistry/kindred spiritedness. We've always just got each other.

As I said, I know this is not a healthy exercise to think and feel this way. But the weight of it has felt so physically heavy on my heart that I felt like something had to give. The burden has been too much to carry, and I needed to unload. So this is me unloading...

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