I started this blog to share my cartoons and dork around with animations. It’s mostly an exercise in self-amusement. That said, there’s enough bad news and stress in our lives — if I can make someone else laugh as well, that’s my good deed for the day.
But this post isn’t going to be very amusing.
Dad died about 10 days ago, and his service was last weekend. For two months, my family somehow managed to integrate constant hospital vigils and medical consultations into our otherwise already packed schedules. The text thread between my sisters and me is seemingly endless, as we updated each other on the developments of the day. Did he have a good night? Which doctor stopped by and what did she say? Were the test results in yet? Who can cover the afternoon shift tomorrow? And so on. We lived our lives on alert, ready to be wherever we were needed, at any time.
As his health declined and the reality of the inevitable began to swim in my subconscious, lurking and biding its time, we pushed harder against Mother Nature. We earned amateur medical degrees online by searching for any untried procedure, any words of encouragement, any ray of hope. We learned that you had to be your own (often stern) advocate for care, because doctors are humans too. We read the prognosis, but we said it would not happen. Not now. Not this time. But as it will happen for each of, time was called on a wonderful life and an amazing man stepped into whatever, if anything, lies beyond.
Today is the first workday after the service — the first day his health, death and memorial service has not dominated our lives. And the world seems out of kilter. Everything looks the same — the traffic on my morning commute, the emails in my inbox, and the challenges and opportunities of my work. All there, just as they were before he got sick. But it’s not the same, is it? And it never will be again.
I didn’t see Dad every day. Often weeks (or longer) would pass between visits. But knowing he was in the world was just something I assumed to be true. A given. A fact that is not up for debate. He was always there, just as he had been for all of my 46 years, ready and willing to give of his time and talents to help our family, his church, and this community. It doesn’t seem right that he won’t be sitting in his chair when I stop by my parent’s house anymore. Or that his car will eventually be sold, never to sit in his driveway again. Or that he won’t call me again, to say whatever it is that was on his mind.
There’s a new normal, and I know we will all eventually adapt. Millions (billions, I suppose) of people have gone through this same experience, and I am not claiming special privilege. But all of the headlines in the news — Trump, ISIS, Cuba, the Supreme Court nomination — all seem so trivial to me today. Doesn’t the whole world feel this change? Shouldn’t this be the lead story? My Dad is gone. It seems like things should stop for just a bit longer. Just a bit.
I suppose this all sounds kind of sappy and “woe-is-me”-ish. I really do understand that we all go through the loss of a loved one, and for the most part, life will be okay again. I know my brand of suffering isn’t unique, and others have it worse. But feelings are feelings, and I still felt the need to put words to my thoughts today. At the moment, e-ha has only 39 people following, so I’m practically writing this to myself. Most of those are friends and family who knew Dad. For the others who signed up for cartoons and not lamentations, thank you for liking the page, and I promise to get back to some funnier stuff soon.
I just need to catch my breath, find my funny bone again, and get used to how things now are. Because everything is different now. Even the things that are the same.