These days I'm having trouble writing. Sure, I can write about four kinds of chicken for work and a matching number of cheesecakes and get it all done by 5, but I can't just write. Nothing seems important, yet everything feels too sensitive.
Driving home from Birmingham yesterday I was thinking of a few moments I wanted to remember from the past few weeks, and now I can't think of them to write down. I'm forgetting.
Just now I turned on the TV, background noise for my chicken and cheesecake programming, and landed on, first, the SC governor's press conference (negative) and then I Dream of Jeannie on TV Land. Suddenly, tears were in my eyes. When I was in high school, Dad and I watched TV Land at night, and he loved the foibles of Major Nelson and Jeannie. Or maybe he didn't, but knew I'd watch with him and maybe stay for I Love Lucy, which came on right after.
Right now, life is hard. I feel totally robbed of my joy, an overdramatic and overarching statement that I know means I'm letting my joy go willingly, but it's true. I'm sad and upset and I don't know when it's ok to be those things and when it isn't. B's aunt sent me a book about grieving and it says it's ok to tell people when days are hard, that we've lessened grieving from what was once a year-long commitment of memory and celebration of a loved one's life to a neat-and-tidy three day event of death, visitation, and funeral. The odd thing is that the family plans those things, so those three days weren't spent grieving, but more planning and arranging. The fact is that my to-do list during those days looked heartbreakingly similar to the one that remains on my calendar from before the wedding. It's enough to make you want to sit shiva.
I'm torn. So much of me wants people to move on and not give me that look of pity or, worse, fear, as if losing a parent could be catching, but another part of me just wants to stand in the middle of a crowded room and scream that the world shouldn't go on like nothing has changed because for me, everything has.
It's hard to find the motivation to move forward, to see the importance in once everyday tasks. I see now why people get puppies and rejoice in babies during times like these-- they need you. You have to get up and care for them. The next thing is no long optional. They're helpless. It may be a band aid, but you can redirect some of your angst and worries, setting it aside for the time being, because someone needs a walk, someone needs a bottle, and someone needs bedtime prayers.
I hate not remembering what I want to put on here, this place that is my memory in these vast days of thoughtlessness. Already it's fading.
I want so badly to write of happy things, but feel like I'd be cheating them right now. I'm not the girl that's upset that her post-wedding bliss was interrupted by something, but I am the girl that desperately wants to both grieve and rejoice with a whole heart, an impossible task when one's heart isn't whole the begin with.
I started reading The Red Tent, and got to a passage today where a woman's husband was murdered at the same time as the girl's father-in-law and, for the first time reading a book, I felt her pain and longed for the days of the Old Testament where you could simply lose yourself in your grief and not be considered insane but rather mournful.
The hardest thing, for me, is knowing how to respond to people. I feel as though I make them uncomfortable, those who read my cries here or know my heart, so I joke to relieve the tension and release them from their worried gazes. The truth is that I have no idea what I need or how to feel better, or if I even want to yet.
Tomorrow we're sorting out Dad's estate and will with the lawyers. I want so badly to be helpful, even if it's simply being there to keep Mom's spirits up, but I fear that I'll end up in a puddle of quiet tears with looks shooting over my head forgiving me for being the youngest one in the family.
B offered to come with me, but I know he needs to be in the office, especially because they're at trial this week. The truth is, I may need those hours alone in the car to get the tears out, whether before or after the meeting. Besides, he's always good for a hug, so I know he'll take good care of me when I get home.
For now, I sit in my home office sniffling at the credits of I Dream of Jeannie and remembering Dad and his love of TV Land. He always told me these shows were too recent to be on there. Now that they're showing The Cosby Show and Full House, I totally agree. I miss you, Dad.