I spoke to someone else this evening. Her mom passed away from the same disease and she was having a more difficult time than I was.
“Hey, how are you?” I said. I was excited to finally be speaking to her.
“Do you really need to ask that?”
“It’s ok to say you’re hurting or you’re not ok, but I really wanted to know how you were.”
“Ok, well, I’m not good. My mom is dead and when I called my dad to ask him what he got us for Valentine’s day, he realized that he blew it. I told him it was alright and he didn’t have to try and be mom.”
“My mom won’t even pick up the phone.”
We talked for a while, comparing stories and finding some comfort in one another, even though it was just a phone call. When it was time to hang up, I thanked her for being there. It meant a lot, especially since it had been so many years.
I’ve only teared up a couple of times since I’ve been home and I feel bad about it. I feel bad because I’m not struggling every single day with the overwhelming sadness that I felt when I was taking care of my dying father. I don’t know what’s going on with me. I expected to cry all the time and I just don’t have it in me. I’ve been trying not to think about him being gone. I haven’t written a single word in the last several days. Not until now. And now, it has to be a secret because I don’t want my family to read about any of this. The writing helps me. It helps me work out the feelings that are inside me.
I noticed that my brow furrows a lot lately. It feels like I’m frowning, which isn’t something I do much, or at least I haven’t until recently. And sometimes I get these hot/cold sensations just above my eyes. I wonder if it’s more tears being manufactured. Maybe I cried them all out when I was home. I’m kind of kidding about all of this. It’s so juvenile to think that I ran out of tears, but what is it that has me all blocked up? I listen to mom cry and I get sad, but nothing comes out. I listen to my sister get angry with me about something that wouldn’t normally make her angry, but because she’s hurting, it does. And I don’t well up. My hands sweat and I feel like I drank some strong coffee. My heart races, but no tears.
Today is Valentine’s Day and a week ago my dad died. My mom’s mate for almost 40 years is gone and she’s stuck at home with her thoughts, unable to speak to me over the phone. The pain that she must be feeling is too much to even fathom. I really can’t imagine it. I can’t step into her shoes for a moment. She must be crying her eyes out. Leaving her at home, alone, for the first time was torture. I remember crying as I stepped down the stairs off the front porch onto the cold lawn. I clenched my fist and cried so hard. ‘How could this be happening?’ I asked myself. I just shook my head in utter disbelief that I was going to live the rest of my life without my dad.
I still don’t believe it. I think that’s it. I just can’t get my head around the fact that my dad is dead. He’s not ever coming back. I can’t ask him for advice. I can’t impress him any more. His voice will only be in my head. I even tried to check my voicemail on the old phone to see if I still had his birthday message. It was gone. I’d been saving it since my birthday last year. I knew he would be gone at some point in the not-too-distant future and I wanted to keep the message to listen to. He left really sweet messages and I didn’t save any of them. I just can’t believe he’s gone. Literally.