Half a decade has now passed since my father, Mick Dawson, the greatest man that ever lived…died.
I’ve written something on the anniversary of his death every year since he passed away. I had intended to do the same this year, but for some reason I could not bring myself to write on the anniversary this year. So here I sit, a few days over a week later, finally writing something.
I think it is safe to say that anyone who knows me already knows my feelings about my Dad. He was my best friend, my business partner, my confidant, my protector and my biggest champion. His loss is still felt by me to this very day.
So why didn’t I motivate myself to write about him on August 27, 2012? Just like I’d done on all the previous August 27s?
I think the answer to that comes from our friend Newave. He texted me the morning of the 27th this year and said he was thinking about my Dad and wanted to celebrate him. He then texted that he’d really like me to send him Dad’s birthday information, because he’d rather celebrate him on a day “other” than the anniversary of when we lost him.
On a day “other” than that one.
It was a very interesting thought. And it definitely got me thinking. Why do I write about Dad on the anniversary of losing him? Why don’t I write about him on his birthday? Or on Father’s day? Hell, for that matter, why don’t I write about him during Surf Cup, or New Year’s?
Suddenly it made perfect sense to me… half a decade later. I don’t need to “mourn” any longer. The shattered pieces of the life I was leading when he died have been picked up. The puzzle reassembled and reshaped into something different. His memory and his teachings have helped me do the repair work. He’s still with me, since he is and always will be an essential part of my make up. And his memory, his teachings and the love I have for him are present everyday.
So I’m done mourning on an annual basis. There is no longer a mandatory day of grief for me. I have moved past the grief, I have moved past the loss. I am becoming the man I was always meant to become in the wake of his death.
My Dad taught me that it is OK to grieve. That taking possession of your feelings is important and that it is healthy. He taught me that holding things in and trying to hide from pain and from sorrow only makes those feelings grow and distort themselves into other, often worse emotions and actions.
I have grieved over my Dad’s passing. I have cried. I have wailed to the heavens. I have blamed God for being unfair. I have stared at the stars and wondered if an after life even does exist. I have felt lost, alone, abandoned and uncontrollably sad.
The roller coaster of grief is a hard ride. But I’ve successfully ridden it. I am not sure when, exactly, I got off of that ride. But I find myself now on the boardwalk outside the ride… looking at the world around me. I am ready to take the lessons I learned from my Dad and make my peace with the world. To rise up to new challenges and new adventures and to know that in all that I do I carry my Father’s legacy with me. It’s comforting, and it’s reassuring… and I’m never going to be sad about that.