My dad passed away on this day twelve years ago. A full Chinese zodiac cycle, if I want to put it more poetically than saying twelve or a dozen, which makes me think of eggs. 

It was a rough twenty-four hours and change leading up to his passing. Not comprehensive and in no particular order: panicked calls for a ride to the hospital, notification that his leg would need to be amputated, papers I was told to fill out as the immediate next of kin, updated notification that the infection spread and more would need to be amputated, a decision to let him go, a chaplain I screamed and truly roared at (I’m sorry now), a heart rate monitor flatlining just like in the movies, family members arriving in time to say goodbye, friends holding me upright. And a deep confusion about the root cause of why my dad had to die. 

I’ll probably never know because I got some well-meaning but potentially misguided advice to write to the hospital for compensation for what happened to my family. There are more details, but I’m keeping this short. They ultimately told me they wouldn’t let the doctors(?) talk to me unless I retracted the letter. By then I was a freshman in college, far from home, trying to pick up the books I needed for my classes. I gave up the fight. I had to if I was going to function. We didn’t want the money, and I made myself not want the explanations because as my mom and I told ourselves and each other: what does it matter he is dead. 

Not proud of it, but I’ve had plenty of dark, unforgiving thoughts since then. I keep reminding myself to reach for the logic–whatdoesitmatterheisdead. And over time this has allowed me to say “oh yeah, he passed away before I went to college” in an allegro tempo, at a mezzo piano volume. Factuality confidently performed.  

I don’t do a post on this every year, or for that matter a practice, ritual, whatever. My grief is more tame now but still unorganized. For some reason this year just felt like enough years later to record my thoughts somewhat coherently. Maybe next year, lucky number thirteen, will be when I get to coherently. Maybe I’ll even do a listicle instead: 13 Things I’ve Learned from 13 Years Grieving. (Kidding. Barf.)

OK. I got what I needed to get out. Thanks for reading.


Also published on Medium.