Year Three

Today is the third anniversary of my dad's death. In some ways, it feels like I have just begun the grieving process. I've been so busy learning how to be without him - how to represent him in the world now that he is gone, how to represent myself in the world now that he is gone - that I think I forgot to just feel the pain of it all.

I mean, I did feel pain, months and months of it. For awhile it felt like I had no skin. I was a raw, open, vulnerable vessel, and it was impossible. And so for awhile, I self-medicated my way to buffer the suffering. And I'm glad I did. It was too much. But, as we all know, when you delay the pain, that is all you are doing, delaying it. And so now I get to feel it, and that is okay, because I feel like now I CAN feel it, and hold it, and rock it like a baby and tell it, "It'll be okay. You will be okay."

I'm no longer afraid of the pain because I now see that it is my pain, and the more I feel it, the more I feel like myself. I am Kelly. I am a daughter. I am a woman. I am a thinker. I am a feeler. I am a writer. I am here to think and feel and write and share. This is who I am. I can't help it anymore than I could keep my father or mother from death. It is what it is.

This afternoon, I'll be going down to Venice to eat a cheeseburger in honor of my dad and his favorite hole in the wall bar. The memories I have with him and of him, I will stitch together into a little pouch and crawl into to find some warmth this week. And then I will let them echo through me as I step back into the river of life that rushes by and wants to take me along with it. But for a moment, it will be 1972, I will be seven, and my dad and I will be happily eating a cheeseburger enjoying our endless summer together.

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Reader Comments (4)

This blog made me think of the somewhat recent deaths in my family, and how we all dealt with them. I understand what you mean about 'buffering'. It makes a lot of sense, I think we all did that as well (my family and I). The eventual acceptance that happens afterwards does become part of who you are. I was practically crying when I got to the end of this entry, I could identify with what you are talking about here.

I must also say that I have been a huge fan of your dad's since I was a kid (not that long ago in actuality). His comedy dealt with things that I was personally struggling with at the time. Hearing him talk about those things made it easier for me to accept a lot of things about myself. Without sugar coating anything, he still made a lot of tough subjects out to be really hilarious.

I have been reading some of your stuff here and there by the way, and it's been really cool to hear some of the things you have to say. I look forward to reading more from you. I'm book marking your site :).

October 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBeckie

Hey Kelly, I'm your babysitter for many many years, and I would love to have tea with you! Tery,, 310-597-1182.....

October 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTery Arnold

Very touching post there Kelly! I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in Wisconsin and my wife woke me from a nap with the news and I couldn't believe it. Just a little over a year earlier on June 20th, 2007 I had lost my best friend and now I had lost someone I never knew, but someone whose work had made such an impact on my life.

I was lucky enough to see your dad live in Aurora, IL in 2007 and got to see most of what would become his last special, "It's Bad For Ya". I was even lucky enough to see it from the front row and there he was, the man I first knew as Rufus from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", but had now come to adore as one of the greatest minds the world has ever known. I would've given anything for the chance to have even a brief conversation with him about life and sadly never got that chance.

After reading "Last Words" I got to see more of the person I wanted to know. The days of living out of his car with your mother Brenda, his dream of becoming a movie star and his last wish of getting his own one-man broadway play based on his story. I also got to learn more about his upbringing in NYC and how your uncle Patrick helped push him towards the anti-conformist and "cool cat" he grew to become.

I am grateful for everything you've done to preserve his legacy, starting with getting "Last Words" published and now your show. While I'd like to say "he's smiling down on you", I'm sure that'd piss him off wherever he is now(especially after how he so eloquently put it in "It's Bad For Ya") :p

As with how I cope with the loss of my best friend, it is those memories and legacy that live on forever. Our bodies will die one day, but it's what we did with our lives and the lives we touched that will decide whether we live forever or die forgotten.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterClint

Great informative site. I'm really impressed after reading this blog post. I really appreciate the time and effort you spend to share this with us! I do hope to read more updates from you.

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