I got a Facebook message from my sister yesterday, checking in and making sure I was OK. It occurred to me that perhaps I haven’t been mourning enough. Mostly, I have thrown myself back into work because that’s what I know how to do. In my experience, if you give yourself the option of losing your shit, you probably will.
I didn’t understand most of 2008. I generally don’t believe in an interventionist God. OK, I just don’t believe that there’s some guy with a big white beard sitting up in the clouds watching me. If said guy did exist, he’d probably have much more productive things to be doing. Thus, it would take a level of narcissism that not even I can muster to think that The Supreme Being was up in Heaven saying, “let’s throw her Hell and see if she survives it. Just for LOLs.” If he’s up there, even if he’s not, I think I understand now. 2008 was a dress rehearsal.
I think that’s part of why I’m not losing my shit more. I talked someone through death, voluntary death, looked it in the face and realized that my love was not enough to change his mind. I sent all my horses and all my men, and Humpty Dumpty sent them back, egg on faces. With a Bible. Irony.
We’d all had plenty of time to accept the whole cancer thing. Years. Knowing something is going to happen and having it actually happen aren’t the same thing, but I do appreciate the advance warning. In his typical way, dad planned everything out so mom would have less crap to deal with. I don’t feel that badly for myself because I mostly feel badly for mom. I have been getting used to the idea of my parents dying since I grasped the concept of death. Ah, portrait of the goth at age five.
I will be OK without him there to walk me down the aisle (if I ever lose my mind and get married), because he did his job. He and mom raised us to be independent, strong, and to be able to do for ourselves. The point of being a good parent is to make yourself obsolete. That’s not to say that he’ll be unneeded or replaced. That’s just to say that my dad raised me to keep my shit together, even if he wouldn’t have used the word “shit.”
Still, one of his paintings looks at me as I leave the house. He hung my closet shelves. I can still feel him standing behind me while I play. It’s like there’s one more hand on my back, pushing me forward to be the legacy for one more person. Now I have to be fabulous for Diah and play Jim Croce songs for dad. (Note to self: steal the other half of his chord charts.)
Yeah, 2008 sucked. There were several times when I kind of wanted to jump off an overpass. Dad knew 2008 had sucked, as I’d lost so many things that were so important. He sat on the couch at Christmas, doped up but still in pain, and he just wanted to make sure I was OK. I’m OK. Strangely, I cashed in my old life for a new, better, one. If they didn’t kill me last year, they never will. I’m not being bizarrely cavalier. It just takes a lot more to throw me from the horse.
One day, I will play you a song that always made me cry when dad played it. Because that song is my job now, too.