The anniversary of my dad’s death was March 30. Over Memorial Day weekend, my mom, my boyfriend and I went to Texas to visit my aunt (my dad’s sister) and visit his grave. I remember on the first anniversary (March 30, 2007) feeling like it was a very surreal day. This year, it was easier, but still surreal. I don’t know why, but the anniversary is a weird kind of marker that brings interesting feelings…feelings I don’t otherwise feel very often.
For the most part, those questions that haunted me right after Dad’s death have faded. Questions like “where’s Dad’s soul?” “What really happens when we die?” “What would he say to me if we could see each other again?”
Sometimes, though, something triggers a memory that causes me to just burst into tears out of nowhere. Once, I was watching TV with my boyfriend, and there was a military funeral, complete with firing rifles and folded flags. It was that slow, deliberate, mechanical salute from one of the officers that did me in. One minute, I was totally fine…the next, I was a mess.
Most recently, my boyfriend and I were preparing to cook out. We had gone grocery shopping and were headed to his house to fire up the grill. I started thinking about how much my dad loved to grill (don’t all dads?), and I remembered helping him and pictured him in his too-short white shorts, yellow tank top, and white baseball cap brushing barbecue sauce on chicken at the grill. That memory flooded my senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of all the times I’d watched my dad do that, and I burst into tears.
I imagine it will go like that for a while.
Fortunately, I usually have such moments in a safe place. They’ve often been when my boyfriend is around (probably because we spend so much time together). He’s really wonderful and is a fantastic support.
Meanwhile, taking care of Mom is still challenging. Her house has been on the market forever but is now under contract. Cross your fingers all goes well! She is doing well but is very difficult to manage. I don’t think she understands that she isn’t mentally capable of making the right decisions most of the time, especially when it comes to money. She also thinks she should start driving again, which I think is just an accident waiting to happen. And she won’t listen to me about most things, which is a major point of stress for me. Seriously, I have a very, very busy job, a serious relationship, and a myriad of other things that could totally be stressing me out, but my mom stresses me out more than anything. I’m sure she has no clue either. I love her to death but I sometimes wonder how I’m going to make it. Fortunately, my boyfriend is an objective outsider and is not as emotionally invested in the situation as I am, so he’s often able to help calm me down or at least make me feel like we’ll figure something out when Mom is being difficult.
I was about to say that this will be a journey…but where am I going? I don’t think this is a journey anymore. I think this is simply my life.
So I’m working on mourning my dad and taking care of my mom. Those are constants in my life. I could work on taking care of myself more. I need to get more sleep, drink more water, and exercise. I have been trying to eat better lately. I’ve gained a lot of weight and am SO out of shape. :( I’m doing a 10k on July 4, so that’s a start. I went and got my hair highlighted and cut today for the first time in many months. It may seem superficial, but it’s something. And I’m checking in on this goal, which is good for me. It’s been so busy and hectic lately that I haven’t had much time for 43Things. I miss the people, I miss the support, and I miss sharing more here. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the time to spend here that I did before. But that’s okay…it has to be okay.
Enough rambling…don’t know if this made any sense or not. I’ll try to check in on this goal more often, because it still remains my #1 goal and probably will be for a long, long time.