One year ago today, July 22, 2017, Dad passed away from complications associated with dementia. We believe he died peacefully in his sleep after all of his visitors had gone home for the night. He had turned 78 years old 29 days earlier.
Today also marked the final day of "Firsts". For the past year, we (especially Mom) have been ticking off the days and how they related to July 22nd. It's difficult to not be a little maudlin about it all. I guess when someone close to you dies, you have to go through your year of "first _____ without" before the real healing begins. First wedding anniversary without him, first Thanksgiving without him, first Christmas, New Year's, Super Bowl, Opening Day of baseball, NASCAR season, etc. And on June 23rd last month, Dad's 79th birthday, the first one he missed.
I went home the weekend before Dad's birthday to be with Mom on her birthday (my parents' birthdays are a week apart) and it wasn't easy to celebrate her 75 years. We all got together and it was nice, but it wasn't the same. And it's really strange because for the last 4 or 5 years of Dad's life, he wasn't around for these celebrations anyway, being unable to leave the nursing home. But at least he was around.
Through all these events, it felt weird to not go shopping for a card or find some wacky gift online to send, or to even call Dad on the phone just to say hello. I would compare the feeling to being single on Valentine's Day. But while it's easy to remember the feeling of being alone when the rest of the world seems to be paired up, it doesn't compare to the overwhelming sense of loss from the definite absence of a particular person who you will never see again. Being alone on Valentine's Day feels annoying, but not having your Dad on Fathers' Day feels hollow.
But all that is in the past now. A full year has gone by, and along with it all the markers we had ridiculously set up to help mark the passage of time. Starting today, we just go on living without keeping track of anything anymore.
But the memories will never go away.
Sunday, July 22, 2018
Sunday, July 01, 2018
Yesterday, after threatening to do so for months, I finally disabled my Facebook account.
I stuck with it as long as I could, but eventually I just couldn't take it anymore. The fake news, the unsubstantiated rhetoric, the click bait, and the conservative propaganda made me long for the days of when people posted actual life updates, pictures of the food they were about to consume, and photos of kittens hanging from tree branches. I stayed on it so that my family and friends who do not live in Chicago, and even a few friends who do, could stay updated on my life and what Kevin and I are doing. But most of them are connected to Kevin now anyway, and he will share stories and photos with me when those we love have life events.
Back in March, I took 5 weeks away from Facebook just to see how it would go. And I didn't miss it at all. Of course I missed the real updates from friends, but they were hard to find amidst all the crap that filled my newsfeed. I tried in vain to us block content, but to no avail. So after a few more months of dealing with it, I decided to just disable my account with hopes that eventually Facebook will do what they keep saying they will and return their product to what it was before foreign countries began using it for political gain.
Back in February 2014, I noticed some of my friends were starting to leave Facebook. Same thing happened again en masse back in April this year when 87 million Facebook users had their personal and private information compromised.
Time on Facebook has cost me dearly. I can't begin to think of the number of minutes/hours/days/weeks I spent cumulatively just aimlessly scrolling through my newsfeed looking for nothing in particular. While I don't consider it a waste of time, I do have to wonder if that time would have been better spent spending time with friends or reaching out and calling them for updates rather than relying on a website to keep me updated.
Things I have posted have cause problems with friends, just like some of the things they post have caused me to rethink friendships. The one that bothers me the most was the deterioration of my relationship with my best friend, Jeff. And now that he is dead, I will never get those estranged years back again. Please take a lesson from this.
I used Facebook to help promote this blog, so my readership will most likely go way down. But that's okay. I write mostly for me anyway. But I do hope to return to Facebook someday. I hope they get their stuff straightened out, for their sake and the sakes of all those who don't realize the lies they read every day.