Realizing that I forgot to acknowledge how many weeks it had been since my dad’s death felt like a betrayal. Yet, I did it again and again.
I’ve always been one of those people who counted the days to and from events.
“Six days until I see my friends!”
“It’s been a week since I got home from vacation!”
Naturally, this continued after my dad died. I began counting the days, weeks, and, eventually, months since he had gone. I quickly realized that it would be easiest to keep track of weeks (as I could just multiply the weeks by 7 to get days), and every week on the day he died I would mentally add another tally to my count.
I did this for over 30 weeks. I’d wake up, remember that it was the day, and think about how many weeks it had been. But, as every week passed, I’d remember later and later in the day, and acknowledge it less and less. Until one day, I just… forgot.
I woke up the next morning, still not remembering, until I realized what the date was, and what it had been the day before. I was devastated. How could I have forgotten? How could I have let that happen? I finally convinced myself that it was just a one time thing, and that it was okay. It had been a busy day, I hardly had any down time, and an occasional mistake was fine. I quickly forgot about this little mistake, and went on with my life. This will never happen again.
Except, it did. The next week, I did the exact same thing. And then the next week, the next week, and almost all of the weeks following. Week after week I forgot, and it sometimes took me days to remember.
I felt terrible, and feared that by not remembering, I was disrespecting my dad. Every week I felt terrible, yet I still would forget.
As time passed, I eventually came to terms with the fact that it was okay to forget. If I remembered, I remembered, and if I didn’t, I didn’t. Not marking the time since my dad died didn’t mean that I loved him any less, it just meant that I was getting more and more okay.
Instead, when I remembered late, I would take a minute and think about how happy he would be for me to keep my life going after his death.
Written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Curtis MacNewton.