February 5, 2008
Publisher’s Clearing House does knock on the door before calling, right?
I’m a raging hypocrite at times, and it hasn’t taken me years of therapy to figure this out. It’s a no brainer. I talk over my mother while pleading with her to listen to me. I want you to allow me my neediness but I abhor it in you. I simply cannot stand avoidance in other people. Man up, I think. Make the call, support the friend, face up to what’s eating at you and let’s get this show on the road. Got an issue? Tackle the damn thing. Talk it out, sweat it out, drink through it, whatever it takes to feel it and move on to greener pastures. After an extended stay with self-pity, likely involving a large delivered pizza that I swear I’ll freeze the rest of, I like to think that I get in motion. Not cured, and as is evidenced by archives resplendent with tales of highwayside crying, but moving forward nonetheless.

Not right now.

I don’t want to talk about it. I so don’t want to face this, this situation, that it took a bottle of Cab Sauvignon for me to check the 19 new cell messages I’d been sitting on for the week after my father died. There are a dozen or so on there right now and I don’t want to listen to a single one. Truthfully, of what real importance can they be? Gone are the days of the scattered phone calls from Mom, the question marks around my travel given my father’s condition. These new calls can wait. As can the cards. I’ve opened about five, and the remaining ones are kept as far away from me as is physically possible, on the windowsill in the foyer. I can see them from my vantage point on the couch, much like the bills from Pepco and Comcast, but I see no need to open them right now. I’m just keeping things steady. Ask my closest. I tell them I’m fine – more about them is better. Maybe I can do something tonight; I’m just a little bit tired.

I don’t want to face this head on. What I want to do is fall asleep while watching delightfully bad television, while Simon berates some fool who should have known better and Paula claps her Labrador puppy-sized man hands. And when I’m awake, I want to drink wine and pore over buckets of old photographs while listening to Bridge over Troubled Water on repeat. As much as I want to remain numb right now, it’s like I want to soak in him. It’s why I frantically record memories of us in Blackberry memos before I forget them. As if immersing myself in the living part of my father will allow me to stave off the inevitable.

He isn’t here.

I know rationally that this masterful avoidance will not bring him back, that I will open those dreaded envelopes and with them the floodgates. But it sure keeps me from spilling out of the thin coating I’ve managed to wrap myself in for two weeks and counting.


23 Comments:

Blogger Frankly, Scarlett said...

Kris:

I'm so sorry - sometimes its good to remain numb and avoid until its far enough away or you feel strong enough to deal with it.

The voicemails will be answered eventually...the mail opened...the friends seen. Life will return, but not until you're ready for it to.

Blogger Washington Cube said...

Everyone has their own ways of handling death and grief. For me, writing personal letters to those who sent cards was my own method. I have a friend whose mother died last year. To this date, she hasn't contacted anyone. And the answer is: there is no right way to do it. You handle it in the best way for you.

In other news....Rock Creek Rambler has returned to blogging. I thought I would fall off my blogging chair. So many departed from the blogging world. So few return.

Blogger ETK said...

Kris - I wish I had anything useful to say. I don't, but wanted to post anyway, just so you know we're all here.

Blogger Chris said...

Take all the time you need. Everyone who cares about you will still be here.

Thinking of you.

Blogger Gwen said...

There's no right way to grieve, no matter what the experts say. Avoid, wallow, rage, in whatever order works. Your head's above water, it sounds like. That'll do, for now.

Blogger Zandria said...

I don't think you should feel any obligation to do anything you don't want to do. You'll know when it's right.

Blogger Single In The City said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile now. Even tho I am new here, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and my prayers!!

Shalom

Blogger KB said...

I totally agree with zandria- if you don't want to do it, don't fucking do it! The cards & calls will wait for you to be ready.

Blogger Debbie said...

do what you need to do, even if it means you do nothing.
when you are ready to do something more or less or different, you will.
the rest of the world can wait.

Blogger WildbillthePirate said...

I've been doing the same thing with parking tickets! Now that I have crashed my car and am turning in the plates, They don't count, do they? No Car=No Tickets!

Blogger Mamma said...

What was that PhD program in again?

Don't bottle it up too much, cause it ain't gonna be pretty when it eventually breaks.

I'm here for you whenever.

Blogger Kelly said...

Hi.

Every single one of us can give and offer advice, but really what do we know? You know how to best work through anything you encounter. (And happily, you know that eventually you do have to work through everything. Even this.)

But wait. Until you are ready.

Sadly this situation will not change, and each milestone or celebration that you reach will make you face this again. Hopefully it won't be so hard eventually... But wait.

Wait until you are ready. We can fill you with silly stories until then!
xo, love.

Blogger JP said...

Hey Chris,

My father died 8 years ago this February - I was 20 years old. I have a letter from him that he wrote me while I was in high school about how much he loves me and what advice he would give me on my life's journey. I don't remember what it says, I haven't read it over since he's died. Every year on the anniversary of his death, I look at it, I touch it - but I haven't been able to bring myself to read it. I guess I've always felt that once it's read, that's the last I'll ever hear from him. And I just haven't been ready for that.
Take your time. My case is maybe a little extreme, but I think you get the point. Do what you want. Take care of yourself.

JP

Blogger Genevieve said...

I'm sorry. But, like everyone else has said, I also think you just do what you can and what you need. I hope it will get better.

Blogger BOSSY said...

Bossy is so sorry. Take your time - you're not avoiding, maybe you're trying to heal.

Gosh I am so sorry, I can imagine it would be incredibly painful and you should read, listen, do all of that whenever youre ready and if take s along time....then so be it.

Blogger Blue said...

All those guys are right, when you're ready then you'll get to it.

Hang in there sweetie, we all love and care very much about you.

Blogger brookem said...

You do what you need to do dear. Avoid, drink, watch shitty Simon. Do whatever makes you feel good at that moment. There's no time frame for this whole process. What works for one sure as hell is not certain to work for another. Your friends, the cards, the messages, they will all be there for you, when you are ready for them.

xo

Blogger KlevaBich said...

I think you're doing remarkably well, frankly. You're still writing, which is probably helping work through this whole nightmare a bit.

As the previous commenters have said, there is no right way to grieve. You're a strong and awesome woman, Kris, and you're doing what you need to do.

P.S. Screw the phone messages. The people who really matter KNOW why you haven't called back.

Blogger Lola Goetz said...

what mamma said. love you, girl. email coming soon, i promise.

becky

Blogger Kim said...

Can you at least get a better song to listen to on repeat? Seriously.

Blogger Jorge said...

Just don't take too long.

In your quest to remember your dad, don't forget who you are. The risk is there, K.

J

Blogger gorillabuns said...

put the song on repeat, avoid the phone and drink another drink. that's how i would handle the situation as well.

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