My dad died last August. I was at his bedside. Then came the funeral, I went home, and it was back to my own life.
I had a lot to do: We had a cat in failing health peeing all over the basement, so every day I had to clean up after her multiple times. The tub/surround desperately needed replacing, and that required contractors, lots of $$$, and a loan. Hubby wanted me to deal with that, and it took some time. I’m working on a novel that requires extensive research. And of course, there’s typical life stuff: housework, kid’s school, church, club, etc.
In the midst of all that, a large group of obsessive trolls began stalking me on and off.
But now the tub is finally replaced, with beautiful new tiling. The trolls lost interest. The cat is, unfortunately, now passed, leaving me with much less work to do in a day.
And now my brain is starting to force the grief upon me. I didn’t try to push it away before: I just had stuff to do and had to focus. But for a long time, details of being by my dad’s bedside, and then losing my dad, were kept in a little spot in my brain, because they were too painful and disturbing. But now the grief’s been coming out, over and over again.
At night, I sometimes dream about death. Much of it is about my own mortality, the old fear arising yet again that death is truly the end, that the atheists are right and we go to nothingness. The fear of the end of Me.
Just the other night (this was written March 25), I dreamed of someone whose eyes were forced open after he died (yeah, I know it’s usually the other way, but this was a dream). Somebody said that brain waves continue after death unless your eyes are propped open: Then they stop. This made me wonder if forcing the eyes open meant that you truly went to nothing, while before you still were alive someplace. I wondered if forcing the eyes open meant interference, truly killing someone. It freaked me out, and I woke up.
I dream about life slipping away, aging, faster and faster all the time, looking back and longing for youth. I dream of my son’s life passing too fast.
Two months ago, I dreamed about my dad. I wrote it down, and decided to use it in my novel. I’m not sure if I want to write it here, or just let the world see the fictionalized version. Maybe I already did write it here, but forgot. But it was upsetting.
I constantly imagine the death of someone who has just died, whether in reality or fiction: not going to Heaven, but going to endless sleep. I remember myself in surgery a couple of years ago, going up onto the table, then suddenly nothing until I woke up later on. I imagine it being like that, but without waking up.
I remember details of my dad’s death. I begin to whimper. I remember he’s gone, that it’s all over. I wonder if I will ever see him again, or if the afterlife is all just a fanciful dream we fool ourselves with. (The atheists don’t seem to understand why we don’t find their version of death appealing or their message comforting.) I could swear it was only just, say, my college years and he was driving me home for Christmas Break. Or that I could still call him up on Father’s Day or his birthday.
I hear something or see something on TV that reminds me of my dad’s last hours, and it floods back.
Then I shake it off because I have to go on.
I recently told my husband something of this, because we just realized the cat was dying, and we were watching for the signs. After checking the Internet to find out what they were, I realized she was probably in pain as well, but hiding it. It reminded me of how my dad suffered, and watching for signs that he was about to leave us. My husband said I needed a vacation. Yet the house keeps needing to be cleaned, meals need to be cooked, bills need to be paid….While the grief and the mid-life crisis continue in the background….