It’s now been almost 6 months since my dad died. Sometimes it feels impossible that it didn’t happen yesterday, and sometimes it feels like 6 years have gone by. It’s not at all surprising, I imagine, for me to say that I am still grieving. What is surprising though, to me anyhow, is the force with which it still hits sometimes and the small things that will trigger it.
This morning, for instance, I was doctoring my coffee and got a flash of myself at the hospital in Lapeer ordering coffee at the tiny Starbucks in the back of the waiting room on the ground floor. Every day I would stop there before heading up to ICU and every day the lady would ask me what flavor I wanted in my latte. And every day I would say, ‘Coffee flavor.’ And she would stand in front of her vast array of syrups and look at me all like, who drinks coffee for the coffee flavor?
And then I would go to the elevator and up to Dad’s room and in the early days, maybe we would talk or he would write me a message, or we would watch CNN show the Chilean miners as they were transported above ground. And then later, after the ventilator, I would sit there with my coffee flavored coffee and stare at him as I made bargains with god(s) and universal forces (I’m not spiritually picky in times of crises). I would silently chant Kundalini mantras in my head (Ra ma da so, sa say so hung. It’s supposed to be healing) and picture my dad healthy and laughing and surrounded in a glowing light. Or I would sit by the window and knit or talk quietly to Mom or the friends who sat vigil with us.
And each day he would look older and weaker and each day we would take turns feeling dejected, hopeful, sad or optimistic.
But you know where all that got us. My mantras and bargains (I hesitate to call them prayers because they were so blatantly self-serving) didn’t change the outcome. The lady at the Starbucks counter never stopped being surprised that I didn’t want a shot of vanilla or raspberry in my coffee. Later, when we got to the hospital in Detroit, there were so many more people around that no one at the coffee counters there really gave a crap about how I took my coffee, which was kind of nice.
Not that any of this matters, the coffee related stuff, anyhow. It’s just another random trigger to those strange in between days spent expecting him to get better, waiting for it with such firm belief that he would get better only to be let down so drastically.
These memories pop up, fully detailed and high-speed, they go though me quickly and then they sort of echo in my brain (obviously, why would I be writing this otherwise?). I never know where they’ll come from so the world is currently something of an emotional minefield. Less so than it was a few months ago, but that makes it more treacherous in a way, because I let my guard down now.
Grief is ridiculous and strange. I don’t recommend it.