My dad died on Sunday morning, December 9, at the age of 66. My mom called me and told me the news. It was a phone call I’d been waiting on for years and yet nothing could have prepared me for it.
We were in the car at that moment, on our way to church. The very first thing I noticed was how, despite my sobs, the car kept moving. I didn’t understand how the car was still moving, how the other cars on the road were still moving, how the minutes ticked by. I think I probably expected something Rapture-like to accompany the news of my dad’s death and instead it was just another day in the world.
But for me it changed everything. Now time and space are divided into two units: before his death and after his death, with the divide being the moment he died.
I didn’t want December 9th to end. As the day darkened into night, my sorrow was unbearable. The day was going to end, and I’d have to wake up to face another one. Another day without my dad in the world. The second day without my dad in the world. But somehow I did it, I faced the second day, and then that day died, and now it’s day three, and the day has darkened into night, and tomorrow will be day four, and I will do that day too. I’m a prisoner inside time.
I don’t suppose this would bother me so much if I didn’t feel so indifferent to everything. I find myself doing regular things but I can’t seem to make myself care about most of them. I check Facebook. I don’t care about Elf on the Shelf, Christmas trees, what someone’s kids are doing, what hilarious image or video someone has shared. I read articles and blog posts like usual but I can’t bring myself to share them. I can’t bring myself to “like” anything. I can’t bring myself to comment on anything except for anything related to this.
All that is to say is that grieving, I guess that’s what I’m doing, is extremely boring. For someone like myself, who is so passionate about so many things, who loves to talk and connect and experience the world, to feel so indifferent and numb inside – it’s like being dead myself. Or how I imagine it to be. I cannot read for long, nor do I find much comfort in music or movies or anything else. Every pastime that could be used as an escape or distraction ends up making me twitchy. I can’t focus. So I take naps at odd hours and stay up for most of the night, I hug and kiss my kids and my husband, I answer relevant phone calls and emails and texts and ignore everything else. I found a beautiful unused journal in our filing cabinet and pulled it out so I could write in it, but the only thing I have managed to write, aside from this blog entry, is this:
December 9, 2012 is my dad’s date of death.
My dad died this morning.
My dad is dead.
The truth is I don’t want to write in a journal about my feelings concerning my dad, his death, our relationship, etc. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do it because it can’t be real that he’s gone. It can’t really have happened. Could it have really happened? Maybe it’s all some big sick joke and he really has busted out of the nursing home and is on the lam.
Or maybe he’s already in his coffin, waiting to be cremated, already decomposing. He’s not ashes yet, I know that for sure. So there’s a chance he could still pull through. Right?
This is what it’s been like for me. First there are these ridiculous stories I tell myself and then a moment later, I look at something completely unrelated to him and I realize that no matter what, I will never see him again, I will never see him again, I WILL NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN. And that dissolves me.
I will never see my dad again.