Monday, March 30, 2020

Death and thoughts about it

March 9th, 2020
Off and on this past year, and especially last month, I was thinking about how March was coming up, and March was the month that my dad died, so the one year marker of his death was coming. And now March is here and that date is closing in. March 30th. I just looked back through my texts and it was only nine days before he died that my mom texted, asking if I could talk. We were at a play that was about to start, so I texted her back with that information, and asked if everything was okay. She responded, "Not really...Daddy has cancer..."

When I logged back into this blog today, I saw a draft post from April 2018 that I had decided not to publish. Here's some of it:

"Death. I think about it more than I should, perhaps. I've questioned within myself why this might be so, and I think it's at least partly because I have never experienced the death of someone very close to me and feel totally unprepared for that inevitability. Death scares me. Or, perhaps, the thought of grief scares me. And because it's scary and unknown, part of me wants to prepare myself for it.

Since having a child, I seek out stories of child loss. I think I'm just trying to wrap my mind around how people go on after losing a child. Maybe some part of it is masochism. Maybe I think, by reading of how others have lost children, I can prevent it from happening to us."

I couldn't keep death at bay.

March 16th, 2020
I saw a therapist on Friday, three days ago. This was my first time seeing a therapist. Brendan and I both sought this out through our primary care physician, hopeful that something would be covered through Medi-Cal. What is covered is short-term therapy, so I will have eight sessions. Toward the end of the first session, the therapist was going through a list of questions with me, and one was something like, "Do you worry about losing people you are close to, or about them being harmed?"

I realized that I worry less about that now that I have experienced loss. In the past year, I lost my father and father in-law, and our close friends lost their child. And now I know the enemy, grief. It's not so much that it's any less scary. It's just, I see how every day just marches on. Nothing I do can stop it. Not that I want to stop time. I want to go back in time and change things, stop people from dying. But I can't, and it marches on with no regard to my feelings.

And now there's COVID-19, or coronavirus disease 2019. I don't even know what to say about it. Of course it relates to death, but for me, personally, I hope it won't. I hope I don't lose anyone I know because of it. And not just from contracting it, but from the greater effect it's having on people's livelihoods and mental health. At the same time, I am fascinated by it and the impact it's having on the world.

March 27th, 2020
I wonder what my dad would think about COVID-19. I think he would also be fascinated by it and the impact it's having on the world. I'm sure he read books about pandemics or worlds changed by pandemics. I could look at the notebooks my mom gave me, where he wrote down the titles and a brief blurb about books he finished, and the date he finished them. He'd been keeping these notebooks for years, going back to when I was a teenager, up until he died. And my mom didn't know! Isn't that funny? You can share a house and a life with someone for forty years and they still have their own private world.

I think my dad had a rich inner life. I've had this idea, to read all the books he read, and blog about it. I'd include what he wrote about the books he read, and my own thoughts about them. It'd be an ongoing, lifelong project, at least at the rate I read books lately. It'd be a way to continue sharing experiences with my dad. I'm glad he kept those notebooks.

March 30th, 2020
I donated blood this morning. I didn't pick today in honor of my dad, it was just the first available appointment I could get. I have a hard time calling this the anniversary of his death, because anniversaries are usually something to celebrate. But then what do I call it?

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2018. In the couple years leading up to it, I had imagined I would plan a big 40th wedding celebration for them. I had organized something when they had their 25th, and 40 years seemed like another good big one. But then life just seemed harder. I mean, it was. We had a kid. I didn't get a full night's uninterrupted sleep from November 7th, 2017 (probably before then, what with being pregnant and pee) until at least the end of October, 2018. Probably not even then, but that's when we night weaned. And their 40th wedding anniversary was October 29th, 2018. So it's understandable that planning a big event in another state just didn't happen. But boy do I wish I'd done it, now.

I don't think grief is the enemy. I know I said that before. But it's death, really. Grief is dealing with living after death turns your world upside down. That's a friend more than an enemy. But death? Death can go...I was thinking of saying various expletives. But really, it can just go. Go away. I think I believe that there's a time for it. But I wish it could be more like the very end of The Good Place, but instead of choosing to leave the afterlife, that's just how it would be for actual life. You get to live it all until you're ready to go. And until your loved ones are able to accept that you're ready to go.

On this day one year ago, my dad died.

December, 1982