The ten days that followed my father’s passing were hard. Christmas was approaching, an emotional time of year for many. A Holiday I had planned to spend with him and my Mom. During the day there were many things to take care of: banking, legal matters, contracts; while those things helped me be distracted and busy they also served as a dam to hold in all my feelings that were strong and fresh and building up, so the nights became even harder.
Once I was out of my Mom’s sight, I let go. The anger and the pain. Because of our crazy sleeping arrangements those days at my parents’ house in Mexico , the only one at night with me was my daughter. The same one that was next to me when I heard the news that my father had passed; she was the same one to hold me at night, and say “It is OK Mom, we will get through this together”. Only 10 years old and yet she was the little person that comforted me as much as my husband did those days. Children can be amazingly sensitive to our needs sometimes.
Having my mother here, back home with us for two weeks after the holidays, helped us both have each other for company, for comfort, for support, as a crying shoulder. Even though she was very much in control of her emotions and surprisingly calm, she broke down crying when someone close sent her a message, an email, or would pay respects.
Me? I worked hard to be busy, to be distracted, to be watching TV or listening to the radio. January is the busiest time of year for me at work. Being part of an Accounting department, I knew what was coming, and I welcomed the work almost thankfully.
My commute to work is an 80 – 90 minute drive, twice a week. This is the time when I either make calls with leisure, listen to relaxing music, mostly classical or listen to the news.
It is during this commute that I always called my Dad, once or twice a week and we would chat for a good 45 minutes. He would tell me which movies and series him and my mom were into, he complained about the weather, about his arthritis and his aching back. He would ask many questions about my children, about our new home, about work. He always wanted to know -and make sure- that everything was ok.
We laughed a lot during those calls, making jokes about most anything. At times he would be a bit sad, lonely I could tell, on the verge of a depression. He missed his children, and the joys of having a full house, with kids or grand kids, but him and my mom had nothing ; the three of us left our hometown years ago. Rarely he cried and vented, but sometimes he did and it broke my heart not to be able to help, to be there, to give him the love and company he yearned for.
As of today, my commute is silent. Loud, fast music annoys me. News overwhelm me, I can’t play classical music – yet. It makes me cry still.
Every now and then I will call a close friend and say hello. Now I am the one that feels lonely during those 90 minutes.
It is down time; time to reflect, to relax, to collect one’s thoughts and put them in some logical order. Yet, it is also time to accept, to process, to remember.
I find myself talking to him in my mind, asking…are you there? Can you hear me? Can you see I miss you so?
Maybe silence is what I need, to take further steps towards the road of healing.