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Life continues to grow around the grief

Thom reflects on the second anniversary of his dad’s death
For your consideration - Thom Barker

Tuesday came this week, it usually does approximately once a week.

In English, Tuesday can trace its origin to the Norse god Tyr (a.k.a. Tiw) as can Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This connection between days and gods can, in some way, be traced all the way back to the Ancient Babylonians who were the first civilization to organize days into weeks.

They named their days after the sun and moon and the five planets they knew at the time.

Of course, civilizations come and they go. The next prominent western civilization was Ancient Greece. The Greeks kept the seven-day week and the days of the sun and moon, but replaced the others with the names of their gods.

When it was the Romans’ turn, they replaced the Greek gods with their gods. That is still reflected in the Latin-based languages, martedi in Italian, mardi in French, martes in Spanish and marti in Romanian.

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For some reason the Portuguese broke with that tradition calling it Terça-feira or third weekday.

English is a mish-mash of influences. Not all the days are named after old gods and the planets are named after the Roman gods not the Norse ones.

I’m not entirely sure how I got onto this, but it may have just been a distraction from the grief Tuesday brought.

More significantly, for me, was the fact it was June 14. In 2019, the 14th day of June was about as insignificant a day of the week as there is in the year.

In 2020, it became one of the most significant days of the year because my dad died.

The grief didn’t hit me as hard this year as it did last year, but when I started to examine it, as I am wont to do, there it was, as big as it ever was, lurking like a black hole in the constellation of my life, ready to suck in all the light.

I attribute this to Tonkin’s theory of grief or the egg model as it is sometimes called.

People tend to think that grief diminishes over time, but Lois Tonkin’s theory is grief remains relatively the same over time, our life just grows around it.

This perfectly gels with my experience. My life is very different today than it was on June 13, 2020. It is as full of joy and fulfillment as I can ever remember it being.

I know my dad would be very happy for me.

Sunday will come this week, it usually does approximately once a week. Barring some major tragedy, it will be my third Father’s Day without my dad.

Not that he was very big on the day. He’d say something along the lines of, ‘great, just what I need, a day I have to prove what a good father I am.’

He really was.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, that is my kind of humour.

Happy Father’s Day.

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Thom Barker

About the Author: Thom Barker

After graduating with a geology degree from Carleton University and taking a detour through the high tech business, Thom started his journalism career as a fact-checker for a magazine in Ottawa in 2002.
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