Revisiting Grief

Today was supposed to be a good day. I have been accepted to continue my studies at the doctoral level, by a department very enthusiastic to have me, where my supervisor is a Pinay professor I hold in very high esteem. I was on my way to meet the graduate admissions coordinator for a nice chat, to talk about the graduate experience specific to that university.

On my way there, I started crying. It was a snowy afternoon in December, I was literally on my way to a door I only ever dreamt would be open to me, and I started weeping in grief. I had received the acceptance email two weeks ago, but it only started sinking in today – I really was going to keep on doing research! I’m going to do my PhD! And with that, it also sank in that *dad was gone, and he would never make it to any of my graduations.

Grief has a way of ebbing and flowing, and for the past year or so I thought I’d been making headway, learning how to navigate the treacherous waters without necessarily soaking myself in it, head to toe. Today, the waves crashed all over me. I was powerless to stop it. And the joy that I felt at getting in, the taste of victory, is tainted with the loss of all the people I never had the chance to say goodbye to.

Perhaps one reason why I’m mourning *dad so hard is that it’s also mourning, in proxy, for the father figures I’ve loved and lost. I made it home last summer, but not in time to say goodbye. There is never (enough) time to say goodbye.

So I guess today is still a good day. *dad is gone, true, but I get to live my life in full confidence that he would have been the first to congratulate me on getting in, the biggest cheerleader as I made my way through the program. He would have been first in line at every event, laughing with my Mom as they walked through the doors. I get to keep going, knowing that he’s always been proud of me.

Maybe this summer, I can finally summon the courage to visit him at the cemetery. There is so much to tell him.



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