Yesterday marked the first anniversary of my dad’s death.
It was also my first day back at work after six weeks of FMLA.
This wasn’t as dumb an idea as one might think. I think going back to work distracted me. It was kind of nice, although if Paul got a job tomorrow that brought in enough, I’d quit. It’s funny how even though I’m working from home, I miss Charlie–Paul pops into my office with him on occasion, but suddenly Paul’s his primary caretaker for eight hours and I barely see him in that time.
To mark the anniversary of my dad’s death, Brandon, Kelly, Eliana, and my mom came over here, we cooked for dinner, and then we headed out to the grave.
I’m having a hard time putting it into words–I tried to describe it to Paul and he got the gist of it, but I didn’t quite nail it down–but I was struck by the passage of time, especially watching Eliana walk around and put pennies on graves. Maybe what I had a hard time putting my finger on was describing the way things change, what my dad is missing out on, and how life moves on without our loved ones. Because one year ago, Eliana was just a few months old and Charlie was barely a thought. In fact, I had two thoughts regarding starting a family while my dad was essentially dying. The first was that maybe I ought to rush things so at least he could share in the excitement, maybe even meet the baby. The second was that he’d never actually meet my kids, and that’s what I came to terms with. Despite feeling overwhelmed when I did get pregnant, I was kind of frustrated that it hadn’t happened yet, but the part of my brain that believes everything happens for a reason thought about how much more difficult last year would’ve been if I’d have gotten pregnant sooner, especially now knowing what it did to me physically. I was exhausted and struggled to get around; just going from one end of our small house to the other had me out of breath. Bradon and Kelly had baby Eliana, and I, being the oldest and without kids at the time, was free to do things dog sit and help my mom get my dad settled in when he chose hospice care at home.
You can tell we’re new parents in the age of COVID because we were antsy to extend our time out by just a little bit, so we went through a nearby Sonic for ice cream. Charlie’s mood in the car is unpredictable–sometimes, he’ll sleep through the hour to my mom’s house, and sometimes, he’ll scream after 20 minutes. At first, I thought it was a matter of bad timing and that we were on the road when he was due to eat and so he was hungry and therefore threw a fit, but Paul has a theory that it’s because he can’t see us. There’s probably something to that. It’s one thing when Mom and Dad put you in the car and you promptly fall asleep, but it’s another when you wake up, you’re moving, and you don’t know where Mom and Dad are because you haven’t mastered the concept of object permanence. We have discovered he doesn’t like being stopped, so Sonic was taking a risk. And damn it if it wasn’t the one time someone orders two big bags of food and we have to sit and wait. And wait. I’m convinced that if we’d beaten that car there, Charlie would’ve been silent until we made it home.
So why are we driving an hour and a half down to Deep Creep on Saturday? Because we’re idiots!