Mourning a Father I Never Met

5 years ago

I've discovered that it is much easier to mourn a cat than it is to mourn a biological father you never met.

I don't know how to do this and I want there to be some sort of rules, some program to follow, and once you follow that program you get to be done with the mourning and proceed to the living with grief until you're healed or as healed as you're going to be part.

Image: quinn.anya via Flickr

Maybe it's the stoic Minnesotan in me or my own insecurity, but a large part of me thinks I should be done with this now and that every tear I continue to cry is the worst kind of decadent wallowing in self-pity, especially because a lot of the tears I shed are for me. I think I'm more sad for me and finality of his death than I am that he has died. Does that make sense?

I'm sad because there's no chance to get so many questions answered, even though I'm not sure I would have even asked them, but the death of the possibility is crushing. I'm sad about the fact that he never had any kids which means that it really was him and not me. I'm sad that he had two cats he loved so much they were mentioned in his obituary, which is probably something my family will do if I die and have cats at the time of my death. Apples, trees, falling, whatever. I'm sad that I'll never know if he thought about me or regretted his decision to give me up. A huge part of me wants to be wanted. But mostly I'm sad because this is a weird shitty thing to have happened to me.

I keep wanting to talk about it but all I ever manage to say is, "It is weird and I am sad." Because, it is and sad seems to fit best because we don't have a word for sadangrylonelyfrustratedconfused. Also, you never have to explain sad. People get sad.

Earlier today I Googled "how to deal with ambiguous loss," hoping to find some tips. All I found was logical bullshit like acknowledging your grief, learning to accept the ambiguity, and eventually moving on with your life. I knew that. I was hoping to find the secret cure-all, one that involved copious amounts of gin and emotionally-distant, but surprisingly satisfying sex with tall strangers.

Much like there are no rules, there are no secrets to doing this. Mourning the biological father you never met who has been dead for two years will be much like everyone else you've ever mourned. It will suck a bunch but you will get up each day and cope with the suck and then one day it will suck less and a few days after that it will suck even less and then one day you will realize you haven't though about the suck in ages and you will feel both guilty and relieved, because the heart is a resilient motherfucker.


Jodi is an unsually tall writer from Minnesota whose been blogging for 12 years at I Will Dare. She's also the editor of Minnesota Reads.

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