Thursday, September 22, 2011

Well, Obviously

My dad died recently.

There I said it. Bluntly. Plainly. No easing the pain, no toning down the wording. He is dead. Gone. He was not immortal. He is not coming back.

I will never again see this imposing man. I will never again hear his voice.

When I first found out I was in a bit of shock. W had to remind me that it would be good to call work to let them know I wouldn’t be in that day. It hadn’t at first occurred to me that I wouldn’t go to work that day, the day my mom woke much too early to find my dad had slipped away during the night. Even once W suggested it I sat and pondered for a few minutes whether or not I should go to work that day. Looking back, it seems obvious that I wouldn’t be going to work that day, but in the moment it wasn’t obvious to me at all.

Once I got beyond that paralysis and started to process the words my mom had spoken to me when she called, I cried. I cried and cried and cried. So did W. So did N. We, all three of us, laid on my bed and cried. The thought crossed my mind at that time that we would never stop crying, that it would just go on forever. Looking back, it seems obvious that of course we would eventually stop crying, but in the moment it wasn’t obvious to me at all.

Over the next several days, our lives revolved around handling the practical matters at hand – letting people know we’d be gone and why, packing to head to my mom’s house, driving, buying N a new suit, getting the car fixed (well, sure the car should’ve known this was not the time for a breakdown, but it didn’t and therefore I spent some five hours in a waiting room that smelled like the garage to which it was attached watching inane daytime TV so I could spend several hundred dollars on this lovely little car of mine), gathering photographs to display during visitation, helping mom with anything and everything she needed. Looking back, it seems obvious that we were all numb and not really fully feeling the enormity of my dad’s death, but in the moment it wasn’t obvious to me at all.

On the day of the funeral we arrived at the appointed time. We set about making sure all was set up properly and that Dad looked how he should as he laid peacefully in his casket. We was dressed just as I had seen him every day when he was a teacher – suit and tie. He wore his glasses, just as we all agreed was proper since we was never without them while living. He didn’t have on his toupee which pleased me greatly as it never looked natural and wasn’t how I remembered my daddy. He really only wore it to keep his head warm, and now that didn’t seem to be much of an issue.

During the service, I cried. Not the wailing sobs of days before but silent tears welling in my eyes, spilling over my cheeks as one and another said wonderful things about Dad. I measured everything that went on at the service by what Dad would think of it – the interminably long visitation time prior to the service, the beautiful music selected for the service because they were hymns he loved, the long windedness of one of the speakers, the inclusion of stories of activities that Dad loved. Everything that went on would make me think “What would Dad think of this?” When I could honestly answer that he would have been pleased it pleased me. When I honestly thought he wouldn’t have liked something I couldn’t help but hate it myself. I wanted that service to be perfect, and the way I defined perfect was that it be perfect to Dad if he were there in more than body alone.

After it was all over, a group of extended family went to dinner together at one of Dad’s favorite restaurants. About the only time I see my favorite relatives is when someone dies. That isn’t good. I need to take time and make time to see people who are important to me. That seems pretty obvious to me as I write it and yet on a day to day basis it isn’t obvious to me at all.


Sandman said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Although my relationship with my dad was nowhere near what you had with your father I do know some of what you're going through, having had my dad pass away last May. My deepest sympathies to you and your family Tru.


Val said...

Belated condolences (again)...
& I find myself at a loss for words once again. I'm glad W was able to share your grief (although "glad" is probably a poor choice of adjective), but I fear the backlash when something befalls one of MY parents & P has failed to heed all my pleas for reconciliation...
(Then again, I shouldn't worry about things that are completely out of my control, should I?)

Fiona said...

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family TS

Craig said...

Sorry I'm so late getting here, Truey. I am so sorry for your loss.

I don't know if you knew or not, but my own father died a little over a month ago, so I can share a little of your space.

I won't ramble on here in your comments, but you can know that I'll pray for you. . .