Tomorrow is three years since my dad fell ill. That day there was a ton of snow. Today it’s 66 degrees F out. Go figure.
I have been having strange dreams in the last week.
In one, I was interviewing with a distinguished middle-aged white guy for something. (I mention that because all the political stuff lately has made me very aware of race and racism.) I realize now that he looked like one of the people I work with, who isn’t very friendly.
I also actually had a similar phone interview last week. Both in the dream and in reality, the interviewer asked about my PhD, etc. In the dream, I told him the truth–that pursuing an academic career was a risk and, in retrospect, a mistake that derailed my career. In the dream, he told me that my going to graduate school would only have been a bad decision had I known ahead of time that there was a 100% possibility of failure. I don’t think that is true, but in the dream it seemed a very profound statement and I woke up feeling a little comforted.
I had another dream last night where I got an e-mail from a stranger who had been renting a property from my dad (not realistic; my dad never rented property). The stranger said that nobody had come to mow the lawn and his grass had been growing very high and he was trying to reach my dad. I sat on the e-mail for a while, and then realized I had to make arrangements for the lawn. I thought about whether and how to tell the stranger my dad was gone. Then I realized the house he was renting was my parents’ house, and that we had moved on.
I have started interviewing for stuff on the other side of the country, where my husband will go for fellowship.
Especially with my father gone, I feel so very alone sometimes. Ever since he died, and I saw up close what happened to him (and to my mom, whose cancer was the impetus for this blog), I feel afraid of the future.
It’s been four years since my mom began chemotherapy. Her oncologist told her last year she could stop with the CT scans. My husband feels otherwise and I know he’s right but I don’t want to tell my mom. Mentally, I just can’t cope.
In bed this morning I thought about how people in horrible situations–facing death, or man’s inhumanity to man, must have gotten through each day. I guess maybe at the time you focus on surviving, in little chunks at a time. Only looking back at the event in totality do you realize the horror of it all, and wonder how you survived.
I really miss my dad and want him back. I can’t believe it’ll be three years, and soon five, and then (if I’m lucky) fifty. I also can’t believe that life has gone on, but it has. Back after it happened I remember spending so much time wondering whether there was an afterlife, and whether I’d ever see him again. These days I don’t think about it as much. I have learned to live without him. There’s a new political administration that he didn’t see; he never got to see WhatsApp or my iPhone; he didn’t get to see his granddaughter walk or his grandson be born. At first it hurt a lot that he was missing all of these things, and now although it still hurts, it’s normal; my post-dad world.