Lizard Eater wrote last week about “Big C” day, about how some days cancer stays in the background and then other days, well, it is Big “C” cancer–when all focus must be on it.
I’m having a Big “D” day or would that be a Big “G” day. Death. Grief, in case you didn’t know it.
Today is six months since my dad died. It’s not different than yesterday, so why today am I tearful and, thank God, working from home.
A few weeks ago someone called our house looking for my dad. We still get mail here for him, too. It’s because he had to go the emergency room here once (for what? not sure), and used our address and phone number. Made sense at the time, but … Eldest daughter answered the phone and handled it well … ish. Then got off the phone and asked “can I have permission to yell at the next person who calls here looking for Poppa?”
“Nope,” I said, and tried to pull her into a hug. “They don’t know. Can’t blame them.”
“Don’t they know that six months is a pivotal time for grieving?” she yelled at me.
Hubba-wha? Where does my kid learn to use words like pivotal? “Where’d you hear that?” I said, knowing full well that they probably covered it in her first high school summer class, “health.”
Well, I told her after she vented for a while, it still isn’t six months, so, no, you don’t get to yell at anyone.
“Is to,” she said and then we argued over the date of when he died and what month it was.
But now it is. Six months. And I go through my days like I’m supposed to, laundering and working and making sure kids have been to the orthodontist or the eye doctor or whatever is next. I go to the grocery store mostly daily (perhaps this is part of my grieving process, as my dad seemed to do the same thing), and put gas in my vehicle and take the girls to get what they need for school and I even try to have fun on occasion. But it’s there, in the background, always. And today, today it came forward, and boy did it come forward.
So today I’ll write this and move on, and do the work I’m supposed to be doing and listen as the men we hired to do so dismantle the bathroom over my head. Today I’ll spend a minute or two being intentional about this grieving process and pay attention to the hurt that I carry, the hurt we all carry and sometimes allow to spill forth. I just noticed a big old tear splash on my shirt. At last. At last.
We don’t get to hold it all in all the time, do we? Nor were we meant to. We are meant to carry on, but never as we were “before.” Stoicism is great for rocks and sticks, but we who love and lose are meant to feel the burden as well as the joy of that, are we not? Just sometimes more acutely. And that’s to be expected, too.