Read an Excerpt
Chapter 6: Dancing Between the Tombstones
Three weeks after Dad's funeral I sat in my car outside the cemetery gates. Maybe it was my grief, but I couldn't remember driving there. The motor was running. I sat staring out at the grounds, covered under a foot of snow. "How did I get here? Why am I here” I said out loud, completely confused. I finally got out of the car and made my way through the snowdrifts to Dad's grave. Suddenly in a voice I didn't recognize, with a laugh not my own, I threw my head back and started to laugh hysterically. The urge to dance overwhelmed me so there I was, arms in the air, my feet moving as best as they could in the deep snow, dancing between the tombstones like I was at a disco.
"I'm glad, I'm glad, I'm glad, glad, glad! I hate you, hate you, hate you!” I sang and laughed while kicking snow into the air. "I'm happy you're dead! Happy, happy, happy!”
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks: I realized where I was and what I was doing. I ran back to the car, stumbling and falling in the snow several times, screaming and crying, tears streaming down my face.
I got back to my car and sat behind the wheel for several minutes trying to get my breath. This was unbelievable! This was insanity! Who would do such a thing? I looked around to make sure no one was watching. No one must ever know about this. Waves of guilt ran over me. What kind of daughter was I? What kind of Christian? I was shaking and nauseous.
I closed my eyes and tried to recall an image of my father's face so I could tell him how truly sorry I was for this terrible act I had just committed. But instead I could only pull memories of how his life had spiraled out of control in the last couple of years. With my newfound Christianity, I had worked very hard at trying to get Dad to quit drinking, especially after seeing the wonderfully positive changes in my husband's life when he had stopped drinking. But I had learned a lot about addictions through the Twelve-Step programs and knew you really couldn't force anyone to sober up: they had to make that decision themselves. As much as I knew that to be true, I had continued to try and with every failed attempt I resented him more, which I immediately followed with a load of self- induced guilt. A "good” daughter should be able to help her father. And for sure, a good daughter shouldn't feel the way I just had about her dad.
I stayed away from the cemetery as much as possible after that.