Thursday, February 19, 2009

Coping

Hey, everyone. How are you all doing? Needless to say, this has pretty much been the worst week of my life. I'm trying to cope the best I can, but it's definitely been a struggle. I assumed I'd need to take everything day by day for a while, but it actually feels more like hour by hour at the moment. The emotions I feel are overwhelming and confusing and seem to almost have a mind of their own. I can see something that reminds me of my dad, and not feel the urge to cry or get upset; yet I started sobbing uncontrollably after leaving the post office. Everything feels so weird, so surreal. One minute I feel a moment of normality and then the next minute I'm crying. I feel like I'm in some sort of weird third dimension or parallel universe or something. Does that make sense? Trying to process everything, and cope with the loss of my dad, it's more difficult than I ever could have imagined or anticipated. I know it will get easier in time, but right now, not knowing how long I'm going to feel this way is scary and frustrating. I'm always going to miss my dad. That's a given. It's just trying to figure out how to deal with the loss of it and how to go on. I know that things will never get back to normal... I need to come up with a new definition of what "normal" is going to be for me from now on. Things will never be the same. I understand that. I just need to find a way how to live with it. I'm welcome to suggestions, since I am at a loss here. The only other family member I've ever lost- or anyone, for that matter- was my grandfather when I was fourteen. So I don't have much experience with this.

I'm not going back to work until Monday. I just don't feel ready. I've been exhausted all week- emotionally, physically, mentally. I've had bouts of energy where I've gone to the gym and gotten stuff done around my apartment, coupled with moments of sheer exhaustion where I fall asleep watching TV and even small tasks like going to the bank and returning phone calls seem daunting. I just don't feel ready to face work and my coworkers yet, not until I can try and get my emotions more in check. I'm scared that I'll just burst into tears in a meeting or getting Post-Its out of the supply closet or something, because it's those random moments where I keep losing it. Not the moments you think I would. Although I did hear one of my dad's favorite songs on the radio today- "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp, a song that has special meaning to the both of us- and froze, and had a full-fledged breakdown when I got home- I was on my way to get a cup of coffee; I at least managed to keep it together enough to get the coffee and managed to wait until I got home to fall apart. Still. Aside from that, I'm a little anxious about how people are going to treat me. I am the youngest in the department by a lot, everyone is pretty much in their 40s and older, and no one knew that my dad was sick (I'm a very private person and I'm very quiet at work- I have that whole "shy-but-nice bookworm" persona going on at work), and they know I have a sixteen-year-old sister... I don't know. It's definitely going to be weird.

We had the memorial service on Sunday. It was nice. Very low-key, which is just what my dad would have wanted. I mean, this is the man who wore jeans to my college graduation, and had not one, but TWO Members Only jackets. LOL. It was just family and a few of his friends. The actual service was really emotional. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. There were collages of photos of my dad throughout the years, and a beautiful program, and my cousin (who was my dad's godson) played a song on his guitar.  Each of his siblings spoke about Dad, and so did I. I'm so glad I did. But afterwards, everyone just sat around eating, and chatting, and reminiscing about Dad, and catching up with each other (we don't see each other all that often)... towards the end there was a lot of laughter, which was nice after so many tears. Honestly, if you'd walked into the tail end of the service, you would have thought you'd just walked in to a Sunday afternoon family get-together. Hardly anyone wore black. A few people even wore jeans. Some of you out there might view this kind of memorial service as really tacky or inappropriate, but please believe me when I say that it's exactly what my father would have wanted. I wore a black Pink Floyd hoodie and black pants. My father loved Pink Floyd. He loved all classic rock- Boston, The Doobie Brothers, Supertramp, Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, etc. He passed that love on to me and my sister. My poor little sister... she was a wreck throughout the entire memorial service. Just kept her head down and sobbed the entire time. I had to take her out to my car for a while before the service actually began. She calmed down enough to go in for the service, and felt much better as the afternoon went on and the atmosphere became a little lighter. We exchanged little stuffed animals for each other- just something to hug and think of the other when we're not around (obviously, since she's only sixteen, she lives with her mother). I gave her a long pink-and-black stuffed puppy that's supersoft, perfect for hugging in times of comfort or punching in times of anger or hurt, LOL. And she gave me a little Beanie Baby- he's white with green M&Ms all over him, and he's hugging a big green M&M. According to his nametag, his name is "Green" (clever). Dad's favorite candy was M&Ms, although he certainly didn't discriminate- he was an equal opportunity employer of all candies, snack cakes, Tastykakes, etc. He never met a sugary junk food he didn't like. Haha.

I'm trying to focus on the good things here. There are some. I'm trying to remember that I had "that moment" with my dad. That moment where I got a chance to not only say goodbye, but to say everything you'd want to say to someone you love in that final moment. I had the chance to say it all. Not everyone gets that moment. Like those poor people who lost loved ones in that plane crash last week in New York? They never got the chance to say goodbye. Their loved one was just snatched from them abruptly, no warning. There's no closure there. That happens to so many people out there who lose loved ones so abruptly- in car accidents, murders, natural disasters, whatever- that would do anything to get that moment. Or what about people who regret the last moment they had with their loved one- they had a fight, or they weren't speaking, or they said something like, "I hate you", "I wish you were dead", etc. That happens. That happens to people all the time. And if I feel this kind of heartache over the loss of my dad, whom I knew was dying and had what essentially was a "perfect goodbye" with him, I can't even imagine the pain and the anguish that people in those situations must feel. It must be downright unbearable. So I'm trying to find a bit of comfort and solace in that- when you put things into that perspective, I truly am grateful to have had that moment. In a way, it helps a little.

I wanted to thank the people who left such touching comments on my blog and offered me words of support and condolences. I truly appreciate it. I admit that in the blogging community, I kind of feel like I'm on the peripheral/more on the outside than a lot of other bloggers, so it was really sweet and nice to know that other people were thinking of me. Hugs to you all. You all are such sweeties. :-)

Believe it or not, I've actually been reading a little this week. I'm trying to seek comfort where I can, and reading has always brought me such joy and happiness and comfort. There are times where I've actually been able to read and times when I haven't been able to concentrate on a single syllable. But I am reading when I can. I'm actually ironically reading a book that my dad would have loved- Blind Faith, by Joe McGinniss. It's a true crime book about a man who arranged to have his wife murdered for her insurance money but tried to cover it up to look like a robbery. This took place in Toms River, NJ, in 1984. The couple had three sons, and the oldest is actually the husband of actress Tracey Gold (Roby Marshall). My dad really liked true crime books and got me into them too. I picked this book the night before he died. I picked it at random, like I do with all my books (no pic, sorry). Talk about a weird coincidence, huh? How's this for an even bigger one- there's a specific part in the book that references the song "Take the Long Way Home" and has the lyrics and everything. Cue the Twilight Zone music here. This is exactly the kind of book my dad would have loved. It was written in 1989, so it's entirely possible he did read it. I don't know. But I am enjoying it- not just because it's a good book, but because it reminds me of my dad, in a way that doesn't upset me or make me want to cry. Reading a book that I think he really would have liked is bringing me a bit of comfort, even if it is on a macabre subject like a man murdering his wife. LOL. I think you know what I mean though.  :-)

All right, I'm off to try and get some sleep. I've actually slept decently the past two nights, believe it or not. I've stayed up pretty late, but I've slept pretty soundly and haven't had any bad dreams or strange dreams- if I had, I'm not remembering them. That's probably a good thing. God bless Melatonin tablets.

Hope you're all having a good week. Take care and have a great Thursday!

1 comment:

bkclubcare said...

I'm hoping that writing posts like this must help you. I think maybe you might give yourself permission to let the grieving happen and see how it evolves? Everyone goes through it different - I don't think experience every applies here, I don't know. I have a wake to attend this afternoon so all the process of dying and examining the happening are going through my mind right now - and I didn't know anyone, it's for my hub's coworker's mother. Anyway, I looked up some great sympathy quotes and thought NONE of them applied to that situation and now I think some might work for you: shall I? "Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break." - Bill (Shakespeare) -or- "While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait til i be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it." Sam Johnson I've got more but this is getting to be a long comment! maybe I should just email you... So get a journal and write it all down or type it here - all good. hugs, Care