Sunday, December 30, 2007

Going back to work

I went back to work on Friday (and worked yesterday too) and it was harder than I expected. I've been trying really hard to go ahead and cry when I need to and not let sadness get bottled up, but after work on Friday I did the very thing I've been trying so hard not to do: I came home upset after my hard day, told Greg about it briefly, then a couple of hours later had a meaningless disagreement and suddenly burst into sobby tears. Oh, well.

I have always been so afraid of my parents passing away that I was uncomfortable when other people had a death in their family. I remember people at work especially, I'd often sign the sympathy card being passed around and then not mention it to them at all. I've always heard that it's way better to say something, but I'd still feel reluctant to bring it up, since it's obviously painful. But holy cow, going back to work and having most people either say nothing or say one quick "I'm sorry" and then retreat hurt my feelings much more than I expected it to.

I know no one wants to think about anything so sad during the holidays. I really appreciate the couple of people who hugged me, and I appreciated the couple of others who actually spoke to me for a few minutes about it.

I also got the feeling a few times that people weren't saying anything because they didn't want to remind me of it. It's not exactly like I can't think about anything else, but it's sort of like I am thinking about my Dad even when I'm not. There's just a continuous achy sadness that's getting a little better, slowly, but doesn't go away.

I feel bad now about all the people I didn't speak to when it happened to their loved one, and I guess one lesson I have learned is how important it is. I'm sure everyone is different in dealing with their own grief, but I think pretty much everyone is already thinking about it all the time and feels some amount of relief when other people bring it up.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

My Father

When I was little, I'd go out to the porch in my nightgown and climb up on my Dad's lap and he'd tell me a Tarzan story. They always ended with Tarzan getting really sleepy and going to bed. When I was going to spend the night away from home for the first time, I was afraid of being homesick, and Dad recorded a Tarzan story for me to listen to if I couldn't go to sleep.

I remember he didn't want me to hear it (so that it would be a brand new Tarzan story for me) so he sat outside alone talking into a tape recorder, and Mom considered playing a joke on him and calling the neighbors, saying that Dad had gone insane and was sitting alone talking to himself. Ha.

On Tuesday he and Mom were in the dining room in their retirement home, and he said something (possibly that he would rather be having dinner at Red Lobster) and Mom turned away to speak to someone, and when she turned back a moment later he was gone. Just that quickly. He might have had a heart attack, we don't know for sure.

I can't imagine how unbearable this would be if I wasn't completely sure that he knew how much I love him. I saw him for his 92nd birthday in August, I visited again last month, I just spoke to him a week ago and told him all about the Mt. Dora Christmas lights and how much I was looking forward to seeing him for Christmas. He knew I was going to bring him cigars and a Hickory Farms box, just like I always do.

I mentioned in my blog a while ago that he had dictated his obituary to me, leaving out his degree from Virginia Tech and his Army service (during WWII), and highlighting his faith and church activities. He also gave me a list of things to do and phone numbers to call. I have to admit, even though seeing that obituary in print made my stomach hurt, having it taken care of and having a list of things to do did make it easier for me. I was having trouble thinking clearly, and I know he knew I would be and he tried to make it better for me.

I miss him so much.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Happy Friday

Holy crapmuffins, it's practically Christmas, and almost 2008! How did that happen?

Tomorrow Greg and I are making our annual trip to see the Christmas lights in Mt. Dora. Our first date was in early December 2001, and our second or third date was to see the Mt. Dora lights, so it's a tradition for us now. I loooooove Christmas lights, especially in the lovely 65 degree Florida evenings!

We are also following tradition by spending Christmas in a retirement home. What, doesn't everyone spend Christmas in a retirement home? :o) Well, we'll be heading up to GA to see Mom and Dad, and we're staying in their retirement home's guest room. It's nice, it's much easier to be so close to Mom and Dad (as opposed to staying in a hotel).

Next weekend we'll be staying in a hotel suite that I got for free at work. It's only one night and it's here in town, but it's near a movie theatre and lots of great restaurants, so it's perfect for a date night. We'll go see a movie (maybe the Golden Compass) and have dinner and spend the night in a suite. It's been a long time since we've had a date night, so I am really looking forward to it.

I'm so glad it's Friday! :o)