Today is the 15th August. I have talked about it many times here on my blog, but it is the biggest Christian Orthodox holiday (other than Easter) here in Greece. It is the day that Mary, the Mother of Christ, dies... it is also my nameday since I am named after her (Despina) and she is also my patron saint, the one I feel guides and helps me... she is also the one I prayed to (went to the appropriate church built in her name and made a pledge) when I couldn't get pregnant and she gave me my boys...
It is of course a bank holiday here in Greece... a year ago today I had no idea my dad was dying... I can describe to you in every detail the ride in the ambulance as I took my dad to the hospital, where he would spend the last 11 days of his life... It was past 10 as we rode the empty streets of Athens, the inhabitants on holiday or enjoying the day at some beach bar or with someone who was celebrating their nameday...
I can recall the faces of the paramedics, I can recall what my dad wore, I can even recall the number on the ambulance... and I can recall that I had no idea this would be my dad's last ride... I really thought he had a mysterious infection and that he would pull through.
It was a lousy day today... for the rest of the world, it is not a holiday, so I replied to e-mails to keep my mind off things. I worked a little... I am alone, just me and Cody today. John has gone to his grandma's for a few days, George is on duty.
I let Cody do whatever he wanted today... I was not in the mood for mothering :( but it is also Cody's nameday because when I made my pledge to Mary I told her that if she would give me a baby, I would baptize him/her to her name... so Cody is also named Panagiotis (a name we gave given Mary, Panagia - which means All Saint) and John is also named Mario (from Maria - Mary).
I made us oven baked pasta and let him play his Nintendo for hours... Then asked him where he wanted to go. We ended up eating waffles with ice cream.. then he wanted to go bowling.. I was not in the mood... however somewhere in the middle of the game I felt happier and found myself smiling.
Now as he tries to sleep (it is hard without his brother!), I write this, I realize how a year ago today I had no idea my life was going to change so much. I have long stopped walking to my door, lunch or dinner on hand to bring to my dad before remembering he is gone... I have now stopped weaping at the sight of his car parked outside the apartment building (but have yet to muster the courage to unlock it and sit in it in fear it will smell like him still).
But I have never stopped missing him... I can go about my days not thinking about him for the most part, then BANG! I will realize in a start he is gone!! And it feels like an ice cold hand clutching my heart...
I still think he should have told me... I still have regrets... I could have done more, spent more time with him... if I knew these were his last days, I wouldn't have left his side... but there was a house to run, a husband to feed, two kids to take care of and of course work...
I wish I could turn back time... but I can't.
I don't go to the grave much. Graves never meant much to me... I don't think a person's essense is in the ground. I feel my dad around me and I see him in the stars so to speak much more than in a grave. In fact it saddens me to think that under the concrete I lay my flowers on, his body is rotted to nothing... my dad isn't there. My dad is here with me, with the boys and in Heaven watching me... not under 10 feet of soil.
Is it weird? Maybe... I know people worship grave sites but I am not one of them. I do not believe we are corporeal anyway... the soul is freed and roams around in my mind. I can feel his hand in things sometimes and I can hear his voice when I need to and it comforts me.
I know my dad would linger, he wouldn't leave me alone... so I feel him all around me all the time.
The day is winding down now, it is past 11 here... I remember exactly where we were a year ago. I used to anticipate my nameday as a day of celebration but now I dread it.
On the 26th, it will be a year since I last saw him... we will have a grave side blessing as per Greek Orthodox tradition and I will hand out the special things we give out... I will bake the little cakes, and make the Kollyva (wheat with sugar and nuts representing the Resurrection)... I will light candles in his name...and I guess I will cry a lot that day.
So weird... the good and the bad together mixing... I was never a "gray" kind of girl. Always black or white. I don't think I can process the good and the bad all in one go. I prefer more clean cut lines... you are either sad or happy.. .you can't be both. How can you be happy in the face of such tragedy? My dad is gone... why am I smiling? :(
I miss you Daddy... I always will...