this year, it changes.

Hey, Reader. Long time, no… Well, you know.

I haven’t written in a few months and I’ll be honest: I haven’t been motivated. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. Trust me – I’m a talker and I always have things to say. No, no. It’s true: I’ve been lazy. Today seemed appropriate to “get back into the swing of things” for a couple of reasons.

One, it being November 1st and the first day of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo. (If you don’t know what those are, click on the links for more detailed info.) As you may know from reading my page, thelifelist, NaNoWriMo is one of the many things I wish to accomplish before I… Well, um. Die. And if you’ve been following along during those months where I haven’t been a writing hermit and completely silent, you’ll also know that I made it a goal this year to accomplish this… goal. (Written so eloquently, right?…) Not to make light of the, uh, goals, but I’ve had to make some changes. Again.

And so, I’ve decided, instead, to take part in NaBloPoMo. I need to get my ass back into blogging gear and I want to take this shit seriously (as I’ve told myself for the fifteen thousandth time), and this seems like a perfect opportunity.

So there you go. Reason #1 I’m back and writing today.

The second reason, you see, is because it’s November 1st.

To everybody else, this is just another date on the calendar. The beginning of another month. Fall is really here. Daylight Savings begins (don’t forget those clocks, people). A time of giving thanks. A time for family. Blah blah blah. It’s no big deal to everyone else. But to me? I dread November 1st every single year. Because it’s not just another day to me.

November 1st is the anniversary of my dad’s death.

Today marks eighteen years that my dad has been gone. For years, I’ve allowed this day to suck all the excitement and life out of me for a full 24 hours. I’ve allowed it to control my thoughts and to diminish my happiness. I have unceremoniously allowed this day – this one day – to be a day where I am controlled by emotions and thoughts that I only drag out of my mental closet to commemorate its passing.

While many of you may feel that this is totally acceptable and that it’s okay – that I shouldn’t feel any negative feelings for mourning the loss of my dad – I will agree with you. But I also think that, over the years, I have given this day too much power. I have let it control me and rob me of happiness.

November 1st changes me. I become erratically emotional. I express a momentary depression that fades within days, or in some cases, hours. I become someone I don’t want to be. Now, granted, over the years it’s also been a convenience for me to delve deeper into a depression I was already experiencing and to ride the train for a longer trip. But last year, I felt like “the day” should be different.

You see, last year, I was happy. For the first time in a long time, longer than I could remember, I was completely happy. Not everything was perfect here in Korea, but I loved my job, I loved my city, and I didn’t have much to complain about. (This was a totally new phenomenon to me, seeing as how post-college and often, during college, life kind of sucked for one reason or another.)

Last year, my BFF JW and I had a conversation about it that totally changed my mindset. It just seemed wrong to me that I had to drop everything and mope around for a full day to show everyone around me (and on social media, and myself) that I was sad and mourning my dad. I had always felt like in order to really preserve his memory and honor him, I had to be sad. But talking with JW, he said, “Don’t you think that your dad would want you to be happy? Do you think he wants you to be sad and drop everything?” JW’s grandfather had passed away the year before and he mentioned, “We were sad, sure, but we also laughed and remembered the good things.”

So I asked myself, “Shouldn’t today be a day to celebrate who my dad was? To remember him, yes, and mourn his loss, but also to be thankful for who he was?” Do I have to be sad all day, lock myself in my house (because it’s Saturday and I can do that), and cry all afternoon? And more importantly, SHOULD I do that?

My final answer: No.

My dad was wonderful. So many people have shared stories with me about how wonderful he was. I wish I could have known him better. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what has scared me into believing that I had to hold on to this “day of sorrow” for so long.

Because if I was really, really honest, I would admit to you (and I AM admitting, really) that sometimes, it feels like he wasn’t real. That maybe none of it ever happened and that my life with my dad didn’t exist. Eighteen years is a long time. And every year, it’s gotten easier to live life knowing that he’s not here. I have accepted that my dad will never see me get married. (In actuality, no one may ever see that… the jury’s still out on whether I want to be married or not…) My dad didn’t see my high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to hold me when I went through my first heartbreak. Or my second. Or my third. And he won’t be there for the others to come. He wasn’t there when I picked up my life and moved to Denver. And then to Portland. And then halfway across the world to South Korea. He won’t be there when I move again.

Every year, it gets easier. It gets easier to forget the little fragments of memories I have left. It gets easier to accept life without him in it. It gets easier to believe that those first few days without him in 1996 were just some sort of dream.

And that, dear Reader, is the scary part. That in my effed up mind, I could even for a moment think these things. Because he was a real person, and he loved me and my sister, and he was here.

I remember him. But I don’t remember his voice. I don’t remember what it felt like for him to hold my little hand in his big, daddy hands. I don’t remember his hugs. I don’t remember his kisses (when I accepted them, as I wasn’t much of a kiss-accepting kid).

There are so many things I don’t remember. And that makes me sad.

These are the kinds of things that make me feel like I need to hold on to November 1st as my day of sorrowful remembrance, but I don’t think my dad would really appreciate that much.

He was kind and generous. He gave so much of himself to other people and lived to see others thrive and develop. These are some of his best qualities, and I am honored to have inherited them from him. Some of his passions, I’ve come to realize, have rebirthed themselves in me. His memory lives with me.

And so, here I am, on this November 1st, grateful to have been honored with such an incredible father. Even though I only had him for a short time, he made a mark on my life. And despite how easy it has become to carry on without him, I did not hide in shame or sadness today. I miss him and wish he was still here, but I am also happy. November 1st was just another Saturday this year, and maybe that’s all it should be.

I love you, Daddy. Wish you were here.

the year I got a bunny... sadly that pet didn't last very long...

the year I got a bunny… sadly that pet didn’t last very long…

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

hanging with a good family friend, Bill W.

just me and daddy...

just me and Daddy…

following in Daddy's footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids' church event... Probably about 7 years old here...

following in Daddy’s footsteps, making balloon animals at a kids’ church event… Probably about 7 years old here…

3 Comments

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Welcome back! My father died over 30 years ago. I still miss him but I still remember him on general and in the little things that make up life. You won’t forget your dad. And, he would want you to be happy. Every father wants that for his children.

  2. Aunt Cherri and Uncle Phil says:

    Hey honey- there are a few other people that Nov 1st is “not just another day”. Phil and Grandma talked about your dad this morning and Phil and I did when he came home for lunch. You are not alone in your memories of this day. You are right in knowing that he would want you to be happy (as we all do) and in some way I can’t explain Krissi-I really believe that he is watching over you and Katie.He was a good man and he was a good daddy. I am sorry that your memories are so few and are fading as the years pass by….that just seems to be the way things are. I know it is true of my memories of my beloved Grandma Chindlnd and I had her a lot longer that you had your dad. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the pictures of you and your dad. It helped us remember on this day that our attitude means so much. So we will continue to celebrate his life and the positive influence he had on so many. We love you! Aunt Cherri and Uncle Phil

  3. Pingback: my heart is home, but heavy… | a little bit brave

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