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    My daily writing--emails, journal entries, marginalia, more emails, blog posts, and tweets--shapes me as a writer, helping and hindering the big stuff I'm trying to accomplish. Every word counts.

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Postmortem

I feel a little guilty for cheering on my father’s death. It’s what you do when someone lingers on after months of suffering with no hope for improvement. When more time only promises further deterioration, it’s time to go. As of a few hours ago, he’s gone.

Over the past few days, as his death has been clearly imminent, the ubiquitous question has been “Are you okay?” I appreciate the concern but I’m sick of the question. What answer is acceptable? If I say I’m okay, I’ll get accused of denial. If I say I’m not okay, people will keep attempting to make me okay when what I want is to just feel this experience as honestly as I can.

Losing someone I love and like as much as I do my father is not okay, not in the least. But months ago, when he was diagnosed, I accepted it would happen, and I accept now that it’s done. Besides a little bit of shoulda-ing and coulda-ing, I’ll move on, and I’ll miss him. Not a fucking bit of it is okay, but I’ll do it.

At the moment, the best thing anyone can do is not try to touch my pain, not tell me how to feel, and not compare my experience to theirs, at least not right now. I’ve been through this kind of thing before. I know the drill enough to know what I need. I’ve cried and will cry again. I’ll ask for help when I need it. I’ll remember some silly thing Dad said, and instead of just chuckling to myself, I will probably tear up, but I’ll still laugh. And if somehow I got the chance for a couple more decades of taking him for granted, I’d damn well grab that deal.

Meanwhile, no casseroles, please.

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3 Responses

  1. Now people will start saying, “I’m sorry.” At the risk of being completely impertinent by suggesting this, you could, perhaps, choose to answer in the way my late friend Brad did when his father died:

    “Don’t be sorry, it’s not like you had anything to do with his death.” (Pregnant pause, lean in, whisper) “Or *did* you?”

    Also, the only acceptable casserole, really, is lasagna.

  2. I like Brad’s style. And lasagna. Thanks.

  3. […] I decided not to travel back for the death watch but rather wait for the funeral and to help with post-mortem […]

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