Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Here I am. Writing about the inevitable. Albeit a little late.

My father passed away Saturday evening, September 1, 2012. And I am running through the stages of grief in no particular order. Anger seems to be taking up most of my time. Followed by indifference. Followed by guilt at the indifference and relief I am feeling, then quickly consumed by more anger which I try to wash away with forgiveness and memories of his crooked smile and bad jokes and moments of tenderness and words from people who knew him as a younger, less bitter man. And that's when the Sad creeps in. And I try to hold on to that as long as I can.

I try to wash away the mean and suspicion and distrust that colored his final hours - he blamed us, and hospice. We were all out to kill him, you see. He was "fine" before he got there. And most times the washing works. But then another "crisis" pops up and I see the thinking of my father in his son, my brother, and it disgusts me, and somehow I blame the dead as much as the living. Which may or may not be fair.

This grief march is so, so different than the one we have taken with our daughters. This is a conclusion that I braced myself for ages ago. My tears washed through my car on trips back and forth from Delaware all summer; they cleaned my kitchen, watered my plants, mixed with my sweat when I ran.

When he finally passed away, I was at his side, dripping in sweat from a run cut short by a cryptic text from my brother. I remember saying, "Ok, pops, ok." over and over again. More to myself than anyone else. My brother shook with sobs. My mom obsessed about closing his eyelids. He was surrounded by family, which I think is the only thing he ever wanted.

I didn't cry for my dad at his memorial service. But I did for his brother and sisters and the grief they were feeling. I did for his co-workers and our old neighbors who thought enough of him to spend their Saturday with us. Other people's emotions moved me to tears, because mine were somehow absent.

I was focused on making sure the organist got paid, that the urn was properly placed, that my mom wouldn't tumble down the stairs as she walked back to her seat after the reading, that everyone knew how to get to the luncheon, that my brother wouldn't lose his shit, that my brother's friends would order from the bar so my mom wasn't stuck with a ridiculous tab from all of my brother's cronies' libations.

My cousin (my favorite and my dad's) asked me how I was at the service and I was honest. "I'm fine. Because I have shit to do." And she laughed. And I think we both know that this is not the hard part. It's when the quiet settles in. Because it will be quiet without dad.

My mom is here this week, staying with her sister. We're going out to lunch today. I'm taking her to dinner on Friday. In between there are old neighbors and friends to fill her time, oh yes, and this most recent "crisis."

It seems my brother's girlfriend chose the weekend of his father's memorial service to tell him she is pregnant. And it seems all of their friends knew first. Before him. According to my mom, he is livid. And scared. And angry. And not ready. And hadn't planned for this. And full of all kinds of volatile emotions. He feels betrayed and hurt and blindsided.....

I'm sorry. I guess I just assumed a 35-year old man with a daughter knew where babies come from.

My mom is so upset because he is so upset. I am upset because this is not her problem, and this is my father's son. Finding himself in a situation that people would die for - a beautiful woman that loves him has just told him she is having his child. And all he can do is think back to past wrongs done by other people. All he can think of is how the world is doing him wrong, is out to get him, because this was not his plan.

There is no gratitude, no grace. Only anger and blame, placed on everyone else's shoulders but his own. And that is so my father. There is the legacy. And that breaks my heart.


I'm trying to reach my brother now, and have been for the last two days. I'm hoping he's found someone to talk to, someone older, someone wiser. I'm hoping he has calmed and is seeing things a little differently. I am hoping things work out.


baby2b: 11 weeks, 3 days. First "real" ob appointment this Friday.
running streak: 59 days, including my first half marathon last Sunday. woot.