nonBlog — February 2009

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Not-Happy Anniversary—Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Today is the first anniversary of my father’s death. I’ve been dreading it, and now that it’s here, I know why. It’s because everybody says that the first year after a parent dies is the hard part, and once you get through it you’re out of the woods. Except that my first year after my father’s 25-year suicide attempt finally worked has been much harder than anyone—myself included—could possibly have guessed, and I don’t believe that tomorrow will bring relief.
 
My mind actually came apart at times this year. As recently as October I was still making shocking mistakes that made me wonder if I was in an altered state. Greta was supposed to go to a birthday party for a friend who now lives in Connecticut and was flying in for the holiday weekend, and I entered it into my iPhone for Monday, the school holiday, even though the party was for Sunday afternoon. I got two emails talking about the upcoming party and whether Greta was coming, and mentioning that the family would be flying back east on Monday. So it didn’t make sense that the party would have taken place on Monday. But my brain didn’t work well enough to re-think what I had entered into my iPhone. On Sunday afternoon we were lolling about, with no other commitments, while Greta’s friends had a merry reunion. On that Monday Tom left work early to take Greta to Acrosports and the receptionist told him that the party was the day before.
 
It gets worse. The reason I made that mistake is that I had made so many similar ones in the months prior that I had decided my iPhone was my only defense against my nonfunctioning noodle. I entered in dates and reminders relentlessly, leaving myself endless clues, just like the amnesiac in Memento. I had noticed that the iPhone sometimes enters a date one day later than you intend, so I got into the habit of checking and double-checking every time I hit Save. My iPhone became my memory’s district judge, overruling its every verdict. So even my reliance on a solution for bringing an end to these mistakes caused mistakes.
 
Since October I’ve gone back to being only as bad as the next multitasking mommy. I guess that’s a sign of progress. And I’ve gotten to the point where I can mention my father without crying every time. I guess that’s a sign of progress too. I’m areligious and not inclined to embrace the woo-woo, but it has become absolutely clear to me that my father is communicating with me on a regular basis, trying to send me comfort. Yesterday, for example, Greta asked me if I would teach her how to surf. Out of the clear blue sky. While eating cereal. I had awakened with the thought that tomorrow would be Death Day, and I felt positively ill. So my dad seems to have decided to do one of his fly-bys to make me feel better. And I heard his message. Even more progress, I guess.
 
But now a year has gone by since his death. I’ve made progress. My question is, Dad, what now?

 


 

 

New, or Practically New

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  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.