I said goodbye to my father, Richard Calzada, on June 20, 2015. Standing on the border between this life and the next, I’m seeing now with unmatched clarity just how much love he carried in to this world.
My father gave. To his family, to causes for all and beliefs that were true to his soul. He was selfless and fought with a razor sharp conviction because he was dedicating his life for his family, in some ways as soldiers and saints do. In other ways he did so like a being not of this world, one that knows benevolence and unconditional love as well as agony and defeat.
Honoring my dad’s life also means allowing myself to grieve. That has been a challenge to come to terms with in the past two weeks.
My sorrow can be biting and volatile. It lays with me at night. I feel perpetually half asleep and always exhausted, more so than I’ve ever felt after any triathlon race. It’s easy to stare off. Crying comes all too easily. And yet I am kind to myself no matter what arises in me, because I know that is how I can best mourn. Mindfulness classes helped me to realize that several months ago. The waves of lassitude and anger have their place inside.
Moment to moment, I am finding the will to just be. I don’t worry about whether or not I’m standing still or moving too fast in the wake of my dad’s departure. He might have said, Be gentle with yourself. Greet and welcome everything that you become aware of.
My father’s phone in one pocket, my own in another. My keys stowed away, his in my hand. Innumerable voices saying “You look just like your father.” His arms extended over my head as we mowed together, my head barely level with the middle handlebar. Working side by side at Camp Perry for the last time as we put new water pipes in the ground. Seeing acceptance in his eyes for the first time when he saw how much I love my partner.
So I reminisce. Sometimes I long and lament what I think could or should have been with my dad. More than anything, though, I honor all the good we did together. For each other.