Awkward Moments When You've Lost a Parent
If you know, you know...
I lost my Dad in 2011, and whilst it was and still is one of the hardest things to deal with, as the years go by you learn how to cope with your loss. You find it becomes easier to talk about them, about what happened, about the memories you have with them. With that being said, there are some moments that are just outright awkward (in an amusing way of course, once you begin to cope better...)
1. Confusing Parents with Stepparents
Having had a stepdad for a lot of years now (shout out to you for being great) and also one that looks similar to me, it's very common for people to assume your stepparent is your parent. You get used to it, although the awkward feeling never does subside when you correct someone. Not that having a step parent is a problem, for most people it isn't, it's more the feeling of replacement. Your parent may not be around, but they're still your parent.
2. Medical Histories
This one is dependent on the cause of death, but there's nothing better than reeling off answers and noticing there's a pattern in your family. Suddenly the risks for yourself seem much higher, which is scary, although most of the time highly unlikely. Plus, having to talk about them in past time in the hopes that the doctor clicks on that they're dead, only for them to ask the question "What did he die from?"
Some people choose to get tattoos to commemorate their loved ones (I have "Dad 1969-2011" on my wrist) however, this can spark a very short yet very awkward conversation that goes something like this...
"Oh, it's a tattoo for my dead."
*Looks at tattoo*
"Oh, uh, shit, sorry."
It's ok. The tattoo is for me and him, you're welcome to ask what it is and it's not awkward, unless you have that awkward reaction.
4. Daddy Issues/Sex Jokes
5. Cold Callers/Phone Calls
Sometimes companies still have the deceased's information and haven't got the memo that they can't answer the phone anymore. Still doesn't beat the awkward reply when someone asks to speak to them of "No, you can't, he died seven years ago."
6. Time Off Work
I always book his anniversary and usually his birthday off from work, so when people see you've got a weekend off for once and they ask "How'd you manage to get that off?" It's pretty awkward turning around and basically replying "Because my Dad's dead."
Leading on from that, when I say I'm going home for my Dad's anniversary, some people think I mean a wedding anniversary, or they're not sure what I mean. Again, those questions of "how long have they been married" or "anniversary for what" still feel awkward no matter how many times you answer them.
8. "How is your Dad?"
Now I don't really get this one anymore as it's been a few years and I moved away, but at the start this was painfully uncomfortable. When it's fresh it takes a little while for people to hear about it, and there just isn't a non-awkward response other than "Oh, he died a few weeks ago."
9. Ghost Activity
This one is sort of tricky; there have been a few occasions in our lives that seemed supernatural, especially in the first year. There was a bang in the kitchen when my mum and sister went to clear the house, mentioning him and the drawer opening with the photo album opening, fingerprints appearing in his ashes, as well as general ghost-like activity such as footsteps. We laugh it off now, saying "Oh, it's just Dad saying hi" however this makes some uncomfortable. Whether it's because we're casual about our Dad's ghost or we could possibly be allowing a demon pretending to be him enter, it's awkward.
You learn to find these moments amusing because it's better than dealing with the pain. I'd be lying though if I didn't feel that twinge in my heart or the sting in my eyes every so often when my Dad is brought up. The truth is it's awkward because not many people you know have lost a parent, especially when you're younger (I was 16, my sister 13). Just know that although the pain never does truly go away, you learn how to handle it and live with it. Plus, they're probably finding it just as amusing as you are when you have to tell a cold caller the person they want to contact is dead.