Grief is a pretty messed up thing. Even its definition is crazy complex:
Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, and philosophical dimensions.
Seriously? Could it be more complex? Pretty sure that when the word “multifaceted” is thrown into a definition it is there only because the definition is really too complex or difficult to really understand. Some writer at Webster’s probably had a go at defining it for a few days and and finally said, “screw it, there’s no clear way to define it… I’m just going to say it’s ‘multifaceted’ and call it a day.”
So you’re probably wondering where this is all coming from and why I’m thankful for it today. I know, kind of a weird rabbit trail today, isn’t it?
While driving home today I fired up some music and just took some time to chill and think. The song that started once I plugged in my phone was the very sad, yet hopeful, theme song to Gattacca – The Departure by Michael Nyman. It is hauntingly beautiful, flowing with obvious sadness, but even though there are no words, you can hear the hope in it, the optimism of something better. As I listened I thought of my dad and remembered the movie. There were themes crossing paths as I thought of his passing and the end of the movie that were sad, yet loving and positive.
After that song I went for another that seemed to fit the mood – a song that is a combination of This Bitter Earth by Dinah Washington and On the Nature of Daylight by Max Richter. This song fits a similar bill, sad yet hopeful. Once you start to listen you can’t help but start to get sucked into it. I don’t know that I’ve ever listened to it just once, it’s always better twice in a row. If you are having a tough time picturing where you’ve heard it before – it’s in the movie Shutter Island.
From there I stumbled into 7 Years by Lukas Graham – a song that Dominic had on a playlist and I recently listened to a couple of times when hanging out with Gavin in the workshop. I know, totally pop music-ish, but the concept of the song just felt right, especially the lyrics, “Soon I’ll be sixty years old, my daddy got sixty-one – Remember life and then your life becomes a better one.”
Once I got home and started firing up the grill I had another song pop into my head and had to play it right away – Good Grief by Bastille. While the lyrics are focused on grief and the pain of loss, the song is incredibly upbeat. As they wrote it that was the entire focus and meaning behind the song (think of the title, kind of an interesting play on words): “Smith wanted the song to encapsulate, ‘the stages of denial, shock, depression and complete euphoria’ that come with feelings of grief, and the alien feeling of being at a funeral. ‘It could be a massive celebration of someone, or hugely sad. There could be moments of euphoria and people getting pissed and collapsing on the floor.’ As Smith explains, grief is a ‘complicated reality’.” Pretty much nails the feeling of grief, doesn’t it?
As we started wrapping up the night I was blogging on the couch and played a couple of music videos for the boys right before they went to bed. After the one I said would be the last I made the mistake of looking to the right column of YouTube and I saw one that I HAD to click on with the boys… after starting it Becky put down what she was doing and took it in with us. The song/video? The Nights by Avicii… a song that always makes me think of Dad and of being a dad.
As I look back at it, today I’ve felt “a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed,” – I have felt grief. I’ve been sad, I’ve cried. The funny thing is that while I’ve had those two feelings, they’re in the overwhelming minority.
Most of what I’ve felt has been the following:
- Happiness – so many incredible memories that I’m so thankful to have.
- Love – my family has surrounded me most of the night and we’ve enjoyed each other’s company.
- Laughter – thinking back to memories we’ve had together, the jokes we shared, seeing the world through the eyes of a dad and thinking of how he must’ve felt at various time.
- Gratitude – as I’m a father I’m so thankful to have had a dad who was an incredible role model for me to follow in the footsteps in.
Today I’ve felt grief for the loss of my father… and it felt really good. I miss Dad, but even in his passing he’s helping to bring me joy. If grief can bring joy as much or more as it can bring sorrow, I am very thankful for it.
Dad, this was an interesting day. Mom had warned me that there was just something about Fall and missing parents and loved ones, she was totally right. It’s funny though, I started off sad and missing you. You probably saw some of the tears and gave me some shit (as much as you are allowed to in Heaven anyways). That feeling of sadness didn’t last very long, it was quickly replaced with joy, love, happiness, laughter, and gratitude. I miss you tons, please know that you are still bringing me joy even though you’re gone. I love you Dude!