It would have been my dear old Dad’s 77th birthday today.
This is the fifth of his birthdays where I can’t buy him a carefully chosen card, or even make one for him as i used to like to do, I can’t buy him presents that I think will make him smile, or even roll his eyes if they were jokey ones, and I can’t feel the utter, all-enveloping, warm comfort of a Dad hug. I can’t cook him the Sunday roasts he adored. I can’t do a damned thing for him now. In 2014, as in previous years, I’ve marked the occasion by taking flowers to his and my Mom’s grave and posting a status on Facebook.
Why though, do I post a status on Facebook? Why? Why do I sit looking through photos, getting more and more upset, post a photo that I’ve finally chosen that I think sums him up at the point where my nose can’t get any redder through blowing it? And then I sit watching friends and family ‘like’ it, comment on it and all the time I’m getting more and more upset. Of course family and friends will ‘like’ it, because they remember my Dad or they’re being empathetic. Possibly they’ve lost their own much loved Dad and want to let me know that they feel my pain.
There’s a pressure to lay your grief out there so that everyone knows you still grieve, in a hair shirt kind of way, on special days. In the pre-digital age, it would be the equivalent of not getting to the cemetery first with your flowers. I went last night after work, so I won that one :-)
Grief doesn’t just hit on their birthdays and the anniversaries of their deaths though. We miss and think about our special people at odd times and for reasons, often quirky and known only to us, throughout each year. That’s how I’m choosing to remember my Mom and Dad, and other special people who aren’t around any more; I’ll say something about them when I have something to say.
So, I’m calling ‘time’ on the pressure for Facebook posts for people I grieve over. I will still mark certain days, but if I don’t do it on Facebook, its nobody’s business but mine.
I also probably won’t ‘like’ stuff like “if you have/had a Dad who could walk on water, share this within 5 minutes or all the pixies will die”. My Dad wouldn’t have used the word, in my hearing, but I’m sure he would have thought all that stuff was bollocks.
I’m my own judge and jury, so you can’t try me :-)