Archive | June, 2011

I hate the month of June

29 Jun

June sucks.  Big time.  I become paralyzed in May and it usually lasts until the 4th of July.  It’s a hard month for me, here’s why:  my father was born and died in June, my grandfather (who was the man who did most of my raising) was born in June (he died the same year as my father), my grandparent’s anniversary is in June, and Father’s Day is in June.  June is a reminder of everything I have lost.  I hate June. 

So many times during the month of June, I find myself curled in a ball, bawling my eyes out, but this June was a little bit better.  It’s been 9 years since my father and grandfather have passed.  How do I know?  I look at my middle daughter.  I was pregnant when my dad died and 6 weeks postpartum when my grandfather died.  Every year I say to myself, “This is the year to heal,” and every year I fall desperately short.  This year was better.  Finally. 

"This one is for Papa!" my daughter said before she went on stage.

My father was born in Hawai’i and I’ve made sure that my kids stay in touch with Hawaiian culture by having them dance in a halau (hula school).  My 8-year old is the consummate performer of my brood and has been lighting up luaus since she was 3.  My 3-year old performed a couple times last year, but has had a major case of performance anxiety this year.  She would be excited about going to practice and then proceed to cry and refuse to dance.  It just so happened that on June 11th, the 9th anniversary of my father’s death, our halau was dancing at a luau.  My 3-year old proclaimed boldly that she would dance, and when the time came, she did a Tahitian number with the rest of her hula sisters.  Her big sister and I were so proud that she finally broke through her fear. Perhaps he was the guardian angel on her shoulder, giving her the confidence she needed to perform.   Instead of spending the day in tears (like I normally would), I was given a wonderful opportunity to quietly celebrate my father’s life by watching my girls dance.  It was bittersweet.  He’s the grandpa that my girls will never know except through photos and stories.  He would have been 67 this year. 

And ironically enough, I’m posting this on June 29th which would have been my grandfather’s 97th birthday.  He would have been equally tickled watching his great-granddaughters’ dance (my mom and aunt were both professional Polynesian dancers). 

The loss of a parent deeply affects a child, even an adult child.  Healing takes time.  I’ve come a long way in nine years, but I still have so much farther to go. 

Have you lost a parent?  How do you remember or celebrate his/her life?  How do you keep his/her memory alive for your children?