20 years on 1-9

by Rob G
(STL MO 314 )

My father passed away on 1-9-93 when he lost control of his car on an icy I-70. I was 5 years old. I will never forget that night. I was sitting in my little red rocking chair with the graffiti like cloth seat, eating french fries and watching 'Clarissa Explains It All' the first show on Nickelodeon's old "Snick" lineup. There was a knock on the door, and my mother opened it up to see two police officers. Before I knew it, my neighbor came, scooped me up and I finished watching "Snick" with my neighbor friend Jeff, not having a slightest clue as to what was going on.

The next morning, I walked downstairs to see my mother shaking crying on the couch in the arms of our neighbors, the Merjavys. Mr. Merjavy told me what happened. I was confused because I knew Mr. Merjavy was a doctor, and I couldnt understand why he didnt save him. After a little while, I went sledding the rest of the day like nothing happened!!

The saddest part for me is that, being only 5 years old, these are literally my first solid memories of life. I cant for the life of me remember anything between that and say the first day of kindergarten. But those couple days are burned into my mind forever. My only solid memory of my father is him at his own visitation and burial.

I always try and keep things in a positive perspective. But as hard as I try, I can't be like that all the time, and I don't expect to be. Ive heard so many times about how amazing a father, husband, friend and businessman my father was, and when people tell me these things I sometimes get irritated and jealous, asking myself why the hell did you get to know him but not me? Why couldn't i see these things for myself?

Since I couldn't see these things for myself, I have these built up visions in my mind based on what people tell me. These haunt me on some days, days when I don't get the feedback I was expecting on a certain project, days when I oversleep, any experiences of rejection. I feel that I am not living up to the bar he set, a common feeling for sons. But I feel like my case is a little different since I have no idea what the man was like, and that kills me on some days.

January 9th has not always been a tough day the past 20 years. It was when I was at home growing up, throughout high school. In college, I always made a point to call my mom on that day, but like most people during that time in life I had other fun things to do. I also lacked the perspective and understanding I have now.

I'm 25, and I am not saying I have the world figured out, but each year that passes is one year closer to myself becoming a father. Coming to this realization has made the last couple January 9ths tough. It just makes me miss him that much more.

I dont know if I'm feeling down this week because its the 20th anniversary, a milestone I guess you could say, but only because the number of years ends in a 0. Whats made it hard in addition is that I am home from law school on winter break, and I have noticed my mom visually tear up for apparently no reason the last couple days. That always gets me. My mom has been everything for me, obviously growing up with just her. As long as she was around, I knew everything would be ok. But when I see her down or struggling, I get extra nervous or emotional because if the person who I go to with my deepest sadness is sad, who do I go to?

I guess this is just part of becoming a man. But I have lacked the one man to show me the way my entire life.

Comments for 20 years on 1-9

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Jan 10, 2013
Dear Rob G.
by: Louisa Okoro

Reading your story brings so much emotions. You are blessed to have had a mum who stood solidly
to map out your life and God bless you for being level headed, studious and wise to be who you are today. I believe at this 20th anniversay you should sit down and have a heart to heart talk with your mum about your dad. I suggest you do a recording of it, get your mother to talk about him, the day they met, their lives together, your pregnancy and birth, their beautiful times, sad times, love times and ofcourse their fights. Go on to discuss the funeral, those present, music played etc.Your mum should feed you in on your dads childhood, growing up years, sports and so on. All these will evoke laughter and tears, much tears for both of you but it will open your eyes to who he was, his likes and dislikes etc. It will give both of you a sense of closure and you will henceforth be able to discuss your dad freely with your mum. God bless you Rob

Jan 09, 2013
20 years on 1-9
by: Doreen U.K.

Rob your post is so very sad. A 5yr. old boy who lost his father at such a young age. Deprived of the nurturing of a father, and a life that sounds as if no Male role models were in your life. It is not a bad idea to tease out those feelings with a GRIEF Counsellor. Especially when you say Your mom is the one who has been available for you and if she is having a bad day "Who do I go to." Counsellors are a very invaluable support when someone is facing LOSS of any kind. You would be amazed at how beneficial such a service could be to you. Your Mom lost a husband. Her feelings and Grief will be different to yours. I lost my husband of 44yrs. marriage 8 months ago and this grief is like nothing I have ever experienced. I will feel BROKEN forever. Your grief is hard because you ACHE to know the man who was your FATHER, and you were never given that opportunity to know him because He died. You will feel cheated and robbed of a relationship with your father. You may have thoughts of WONDERING & Imagining what it would be like to have a FATHER, like all your friends had when growing up. This must have HURT You. Don't be too hard on yourself thinking you should be acting a certain way. There is no hard and fast rule in life that says you Must be a certain way. Don't have high expectations of YOURSELF and anyone as this is a lot to live up to and will cause you and others stress. Life is so very hard now. Struggles for everyone. None of us knows how to behave in Grief! What to Expect!. We just learn as we go on. Perhaps your Mom may just be wanting to have a private moment coming up to the anniversary of your father's death. TALK TO HER. Find out what she is thinking and feeling. Just make sure she doesn't shut you out and may not mean to do this. But it can happen suddenly without one knowing this. Death cause fractures in people lives and in relationships and this is just another thorn in our flesh to deal with. You seem to be a very thoughtful and caring young man. Of course it would hurt you to find other people knowing THE MAN you should have known. It may make you feel very uncomfortable and ALONE. As if you are a stranger on the outside looking in. Trying to catch a glimpse of the Man who was Your Father. Trying hard to understand and form your own impressions and make your own story. This is hard for a young Man to process such feelings and thoughts. I hope that you can get the support you need to handle any loss that happens to you in life. That you will be able in time to move into a happier future and you will have some of the blanks spots in your life filled. This is where a good counsellor could support you well.

Jan 09, 2013
20 years
by: Pat J.Green Bay,WI

Dear Rob,
Your dad is VERY PROUD of you. On 1-9 his body died, but his spirit lives on forever.
Five years old; such a young age to lose a father. I can't imagine losing a parent at that young age. We cherish our memories and I realize yours are few. You wrote about how people told you about your dad. He sounds like he was a great man, son, husband and father. You are his son; he lives in you.
You have a good relationship with your mother. I think that is great. When she hurts, you hurt and that is understandable.
I lost my husband 18 months ago to a massive heart attack. He died the day after our 46th wedding anniversary. I talk to him everyday. One of our children lives at home with me. He hears me talking and asks who I am talking to and I tell him, his dad. Bart says he's not going to answer you and I tell him I am doing it for me.
Like your mom, I lost my husband. The hurt never really goes away. We just learn to deal with it.
For me acceptance has been the hardest; realizing I will no longer see him in this world. I truly believe there is a life, after our life on earth, and I will see my husband again. You will see your father again too.
The longer they are gone, the more we miss them. When you lose someone you love, you never really get over it. We just slowly learn how to go on without them, KEEPING THEM TUCKED SAFELY IN OUR HEART.
My mom is gone 36 years and my dad is gone 6 years. I still miss them and talk to them and think about them. My husband I feel is always with me. Your dad is watching over you; talk to him. It truly helps me.
I have 5 adult children and 8 grandchildren; yet there are times when I feel alone. I have lots of friends and the support of my husbands family, but it doesn't make me miss him less.
Take care. I am thining of you and keeping you in my prayers. One day at a time, that's how we do it.

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