Why I Hate Columbus Day
I know Columbus Day has already passed, but I want to write about this anyway. I hate Columbus Day. And yes, it’s generally not a great day because it unjustly glorifies a white man for brutally conquering indigenous people of America and taking their land. I don’t want to take away from that, because that’s very important to acknowledge and we should stop glorifying white men. But personally, I hate Columbus Day because it was the day my dad was officially diagnosed with stage four small cell lung cancer.
This was seven years ago at this point, but I am finally taking the time in therapy to process the death of my dad. And it’s been a lot. I kind of feel all consumed by it, which I suppose is understandable. Some days I genuinely feel just as depressed as I did right after he died, and other days I feel okay/good.
I realize this might be the first time I’m talking about the death of my dad here on the blog. So hi, welcome to a really big part of my life. To say that I have had a hard time processing the death of my dad is an understatement. It’s taken me a full seven years to get to a point where I feel ready to focus on it in depth in therapy, and fully give the grieving process the attention it deserves. And it’s been really hard.
I don’t want to make this post fully about my grief. But I do think it’s something important to talk about. For so long not only did I not want to deal with my grief, but I didn’t even know how to go about grieving someone so important to me .
One of the main reasons I have this blog is to be honest with my readers throughout the different stages of life I am experiencing, in order to show everyone that we all go through the same experiences at some point, with the hope that what I say resonates with someone and possibly helps them or makes them feel less alone. With that being said, I might write about grief from time to time, just as a heads up. But for now, I am just going to dip my toes into the grief pool, and talk about where I’m at right now and something that I’m proud of.
So I hate Columbus Day, right? But I have never really acknowledged publicly that I hate this day. I always continue to go to work or school, whatever is expected of me that day. I never took the day to mourn or grieve or anything until this year.
With the help of therapy and being fully honest with myself, I finally acknowledged this year that October 12th is a really sucky day in my mind and that I wanted to spend it with my family and remember my dad. So I took off work (!!) something that I’ve never done before on Columbus Day.
I love listening to music and going for a drive, and I think I got that from my dad. He was always driving, and we liked to just sit silently together as we drove. It was never an uncomfortable silence, just a really peaceful, content silence as we both got lost in our thoughts, occasionally coming out of them to share a random thought out loud. I knew I wanted to go for a drive on this day, to commemorate our shared love of aimless, peaceful drives.
I spent the morning driving around Virginia to a bunch of different places I used to go to with my dad. I have a special playlist I made to remind myself of him and to embrace my grief. I got to listen to that and cry, feel sad and miss him, and it was lovely.
And I ended my alone time by buying myself a chocolate bar (something he’d always buy for me and my sister when we went to CVS together) and then getting McDonalds (his favorite fast food).
Later in the evening I made a beautiful fall charcuterie board for my family so we could spend time together doing something fun. Everyone got dressed up for the occasion and we ate together and it was really nice. My sister put on this really fun jazzy playlist to set the mood and it was perfect.
So all in all, it was a pretty good day. It felt so nice to take time to dedicate a day to remember my dad. It helped validate how I was feeling, and it feels good to publicly acknowledge that this is what I’m focusing my energy on right now.