I have been experiencing some brain fog since my dad died. It will be two months on Sunday. I know I said that I would stop writing about him after my shloshim was over, but I find that because of the brain fog, I do and think about things that I normally would not do or think about. Like I find a video of my dad from February of 2017. In this video I am doing a fashion review of my dad’s outfit. Now my dad was a very special guy, but fashion was not his thing. He left that to my mother. Brown shoes, blue socks, black pants, mint green shirt, a Mets tie, and a blazer of some sort — that was his work look; but he was adorable no matter what he wore.
I have watched this video at least 50 times. And then I cry. But I feel that the crying is good (as I start crying again as I write this). Isn’t this the way we are supposed to grieve? Any way that we feel like it? Even if it means watching things that make us cry hysterically? That is healthy, right? Well, it’s my column, and I think it is healthy. I loved my dad more than anything, and when I find something from years back, when he was still him, I just go a little nuts. When my father-in-law died, he was still himself until a few days after he went into the hospital, so it is easier for Husband #1 to remember him as he was. I think that is what also makes it harder, because he lost his dad relatively suddenly — when he went into the hospital, we did not expect that he was not going to come out. But because men are so very different than women, Husband #1’s grief also is totally different. Whereas I started crying when I killed a fly with the fly swatter that my dad gave me (and called a swy flatter), Husband #1 doesn’t really let me see that side of him. Which, I am assuming, he has.
My dad’s passing was not a surprise. I sometimes see it as a gift. As much as I loved being able to hold his hand and kiss his forehead, the fact that I could no longer ask him any question was just so very sad. But Husband #1 was asking his father questions up until the end, which, truthfully, is even sadder. Not that this is a competition. That only happened at shiva. This post-shiva grieving thing is a whole different ball game. We are both very lucky. We both had incredible yet extremely different relationships with our fathers. We were both blessed to have our fathers see some of our kids get married. We were both extremely blessed to have our fathers become great grandfathers. What lives they led. What memories we have. But then I watch this video and I can’t even catch my breath. So then I have to watch some Strudel videos to counteract the sadness with the extreme joy that she brings me and everyone else that she meets. And I know how truly blessed I am to have her. But it is also ok that I am grieving, right?
I know that it is not healthy when I watch the video of my dad’s funeral, but I do find it helpful, and I am sure that one day, soon (hopefully), I will stop watching it. Yup, life is crazy. When you think about it, we are all dying, but that is the wrong way to look at it. What we are supposed to think about is that we are all living each day to the best of our ability. Some of us do that with juice cleanses and some of us do with jars filled with Milky Ways and Rolos, because that would make my dad happy. Some of us live life by exercising for two hours a day and some of us live life by watching movies on Amazon Prime and Netflix. What makes you happy? What makes you feel that you have had a fulfilling day? What was the point of this column?
Sorry, I am not really sure where I was going with any of that, but I hope that something in there made you chuckle. And if you see me wandering the streets of Teaneck looking like I need a tissue, I probably do, so thank you. Folks, you do you, and don’t worry about anyone else.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is looking forward to the next summer session of Camp Babka. Strudel has already won all-around camper two weeks in a row!!