When I was younger I used to get so angry when someone would tell me that things either were or would be okay. "Everything will be alright." "It's okay." I would rage, and if someone asked me if I was okay when I was upset about something I defiantly say no.
Now I know better. I've been through so much and I have never not been okay. Eventually. I may be extremely emotional, but I am also human (allegedly) and that means being highly adaptable. That means being able to travel through hell, as the most powerful goddesses and mothers have done before me, and emerge on the other side scathed but no worse for wear.
I want to cry all of the time. My world has been turned upside down, and even though a lot of the pain and loss I had already experienced prepared me for losing my dad; even though nothing is the same or ever will be again, I believe the people I love who have told me that the pain doesn't go away, but you get used to it being there. I learned this when Josh died. The pain from the tattoo I got to memorialize him went away, the tattoo itself healed, but the pain of losing him is still there and I can tap into it any time I want to. I have a feeling this will remain true as I put my life back together without my dad in it.
Life isn't like the movies, though, and pain staying in place isn't a bad thing. Your life grows around it. That's how we keep moving after losing someone important: the pain stays the same size, but we keep growing. So it is going to be okay, because I've already been able to grow since my dad died.
I'm not okay right now, but I accept that and acknowledge that it's completely normal for me not to be. I miss him. That's normal too. I feel betrayed by a system that's supposed to make people better. Also normal. I feel fooled by the optimism I had that we were going to be able to "beat" cancer. I'm not fighting with these feelings, I don't even battle with the regret that I have about not being a better daughter. I learned a long time ago that fighting just makes it worse, because it is emotional violence perpetrated upon me by my own pride.
My dad wanted us to be regal, not prideful. He wanted us to stand tall, serve with humility, and be able to forgive ourselves for fucking up. There's a line in a Macklemore song "if I can be an example for getting sober, then I can be an example for starting over". It struck a chord with me and helped me understand my dad better. He got better. He started over and made a better life. And even though he's not alive anymore, he won the last battle and died with dignity, surrounded by people who loved him. And it was okay.
So, it will be okay for those of us who are left remembering him.