Death in the age of Covid – especially when you live in another country, even if it is a friendly, once-open-border – adds a few surprising obstacles. Then there’s the ever-present guilt associated with the choice to move here in the first place. You know my struggles… and I get better!… until something happens… and then it’s back to square one.
There will be no funeral. Unless things in the States suddenly take a turn, I’m sure my mother will plan some kind of celebration of life in a few months. The visitation was not public. My mom and my sister and her family were there. I was not. Just as I wasn’t there for many events over the last twenty years. For all the talk about our global community and how easy it is to stay in touch with cell phones and the internet, at times like these, it’s still easy to feel very alone. Of course, I am not the main attraction, as it were. I am but one small cog in the wheel called Family.
In the midst of this grief and feeling sorry for myself, my sister offered a gift. It was the first of two I have received over the last several days. I’ll get back to that in a moment.
My sister was in the visitation room with Dad and she called me. Would I like to FaceTime? I could visit with Dad and say a few words. OMG YES, no, yes, NO, wait… YES. Normally, it might be tacky, but with Covid… well, times have changed, haven’t they? Then again, without Covid, I would have BEEN THERE. So… YES, I said and within seconds, I was there in the room with them. I cannot tell you how healing and beautiful it was to be included in that way.
I was given another gift as I wrote to someone on Twitter, of all places. They were asking that anyone who grew up with supportive parents share what it did for them. I mentioned that I am still very emotional because my dad died a few days ago but that I wanted to say something that popped into my mind as I read their question. It’s so important that I knew I needed to share it here.
The thing I thought of was, “I knew who I was in his presence.”
Sit back and think on that for a moment.
In so many relationships, we play a game, called by many names:
- Emotional Rollercoaster.
- Give and take, take, take.
- Cat and mouse.
In some case, the players are in a very dangerous game, indeed:
- Twist myself into a pretzel to become what they want.
- It’s OK, really.
- Passive aggressive and narcissist.
Of course, there are so many variations on a theme. You get the idea.
How many people TRULY allow you to be who you are at your core?
My dad was that person! I could be fully myself with him for all 60 of the years I’ve known him. That is quite something, don’t you think?
Do you have someone like that in your life? Will you chance it? Will you open yourself to the possibility? Being honest, I often don’t. Even with this blabby blog. Yes, I say a lot… but it is… what’s the buzz word of the day? Curated. I choose my words carefully. Yeah, even the mixed up, misspelled, clunky bits of writing.
Gotta say, having the ability to think before I write/ talk is what I love BEST about writing vs. talking on the phone. Not that it stops me making a fool of myself while writing. Sheesh, you should have seen the text exchange between my sister and me last night. Ugh. I say “exchange” but what I mean is that it was four long messages trying to explain myself and getting deeper and deeper into my anxiety. She’ll forgive me, I know. But seriously. Embarrassing.
So, my dad’s passing is heartbreaking… but also… heart-mending. What gifts I have been given!
Note: For those asking privately because you “know :)” my mom through my blog, she is … brokenhearted… and also… a walking, talking testament to the resilience she’s always been able to tap into during tough times. It is early days, of course. She’s busy and doing her best to eat, drink and sleep. She was Dad’s caretaker. Now, she will have to turn the attention to herself. She is, as you all know, very spiritual. I have no doubt that she and Dad will be having some conversations as the months and years go by. I believe the thread they are connected by transcends astral existence.
Love to you all and thank you for asking!
Oh, and PS: The angel in my featured photo is a gift I bought myself with a little money left by my dear grandmother. I have spoken of her often… my Nana. It’s on a shelf right in front of me. Every day I look at it. Every day, I am thankful for the love of those who have gone before me.