Wednesday, February 28, 2018

it’s really fucking weird

I love this blog and over the last couple weeks I’ve wanted to post. We had Averson’s birthday party. Syd is a cookie selling crazy person. We spent an ungodly amount of money on dressers to combat our 1950s closets. But there’s a block that I couldn’t get myself past. So this isn’t going to be my best work. It’s choppy and stream of conciousness. But I have to get it out here so that I can continue to use this space like I want to.

 My dad died on February 6th (fuck, almost a month ago now). He was 68 years old, obsessed with health and fitness, still living big dreams and planning adventures. He died suddenly and unexpectedly and it was terrible. I haven't decided yet how much of the story I want to tell, and how much is mine to tell, but I woke up on that Tuesday facing a completely normal day and by that night I was driving, alone and tired and shell-shocked, to my waiting step-mother and my brother and sister-in-law six hours away. C and the kids joined us a few days later, and then my mom, my sister and nieces, and my half-brothers a couple days after that.

Those first few days are a blur. My brother and I stayed in a little no-name motel in town and spent almost every waking moment (of which there were many, since we found that sleep did not come easily) attending to the business of death. There were legal documents to find, arrangements to make, personal effects to track down. My step-mother was surrounded by the kindest, most wonderfully unexpected angels who made sure that she was never alone, never without someone to talk to.

That was a bright spot in an otherwise awful time; finding all of these incredible, wonderful human beings. People stepped up in small thoughtful ways and in huge, incredibly generous ways that made us all break down with gratitude. It was a testament to my dad that these people were so eager, willing, and ready to help us. I didn't know a lot of these people, but at his service, those were the biggest hugs and the sweetest words. People who knew my dad and loved him, who would miss him, who had heard all about me because, as his obituary said, he was an unabashedly proud father. And friends at home have been amazing too. I don’t have a lot of friends who’ve lost parents, and I never really know how to show my support. Flowers and casseroles always seemed so cliche but I’m telling you now, Bring flowers and a casserole. That meant so much to me.

The kids have been managing, as they do, in very different ways. Averson, in typical Averson style, is very matter-of-fact. "I miss Coach. I don't know why he had to die." Sydney, I find, is internalizing and somatizing a lot of her feelings. And sweet Eli. My poor kid. He and my dad were so close. One of my last texts from my dad is about how proud he was of Eli and how similar their childhoods are. My dad was his biggest cheerleader and they spent so much time together. It's the first loss Eli's really felt in his day-to-day life, and he's managing, but man it sucks. Me, I keep waiting for the crush of grief to hit me. I've had a couple of moments where the tears feel like they'll never stop, but for the most part it's been a numbness. That's the weird thing. I feel like I'm constantly reminding myself that he's gone, which is awful and surreal at the same time. A friend told me that it took her six months to stop picking up the phone to call her mom every day. That fits for me. I find myself filing things away that I want to tell him next time I talk to him, and then remembering.

I said that those first few days are a blur, but honestly, the last two weeks have been a blur. My brain doesn't work and I'm trying to be gentle with that. I have been so blessed by people who are kind, thoughtful, and understanding. C has been amazing, letting me function when I want to and then seamlessly picking up the slack when all I can manage is to put a show on Netflix.

I don't have a nice way to end this. It happened, and it sucks. It's really awful and all I can say when people ask how I am is "It's really fucking weird." I miss him so much, but I am also so so grateful that I'm not wracking my brain for our last moments together. I knew how much he loved me and he knew how much I loved him and that's something to be thankful for.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Getting to know you - Chiconky style

So... I started a new job two weeks ago. I desperately want to write a post about how that transition's been and how much I love the new gig (to include pictures, PICTURES!, of my new cubicle and the dress I wore to work) but I think I'm still digesting it into a coherent statement. But it's awesome and I love it, while still having positive feelings about my old institution. So it's good.

This week I've been able to spend a lot of time with two of my new co-workers. You know how it goes when you're getting to know people. They tell a story, you tell a story, and so on. So a couple days ago, one of them was talking about an article she'd read about how mothers who drank caffeine while pregnant are more likely to have kids with ADHD, and she was lamenting the fact that mom's really can't do anything right (she has no kids.) She asked us how we managed that, and I jokingly said I wasn't too worried about the little things and was really shooting to not have them turn out to by psychopaths. Laughter ensues. Then I tell the story about how my sweet Averson went through a phase where she asked people if she could cut open their pets. Which led to the story about how she suggested that we kill the dogs so we could get puppies (OMG. I went to link to the post where I talked about this and I can't find it. I can't believe I didn't blog that! See the footnotes) Still laughter, but maybe a touch more awkward? I don't know, I'm a terrible judge of these things.

This morning, determined to make a better show and to redeem my little bundle of joy and sunshine's reputation, I look for an opportunity to drop a cute Averson-ism into the story. Let's sit back and see which one I picked...

Co-Worker: I love that my girls are friends. They even decided not to split up into their own rooms last year. I'm really worried about what will happen when my older daughter goes off to college.

Me: That's so sweet! I hope my girls still love sharing a room when they're teenagers!

Co-Worker: Oh! You're girls share a room too? Do they ever ask for separate rooms?

Me: Not really.Well, except this morning Averson asked if her brother froze to death, could she have his room?

That laughter was definitely awkward.

So... The new job is good BUT they're pretty sure my family is composed of psychopaths. So that's awesome. Also, please credit if we ever become a hugely successful but also gruesome and disturbing subject of a podcast.

Deceptively adorable
They may have actually said, "Come play with us!" 
Backstory footnote: Averson has been obsessed with puppies and was lamenting that she's never had one. "But they're so small and so cute and I've never had one in my whole life!" I told her we couldn't get a puppy because we already had two big dogs and there just wasn't room for puppies right now. So she sweetly suggested that we kill our dogs, and then we'd have room for FOUR puppies! A couple days later she told me not to complain when they die. It really is a little creepy. Add that to her recent obsession with dissection and seeing what animals look like "on the inside" and we try to keep her away from sharp objects and delicate animals.