I think I’m getting better at grief. Maybe I leveled up and didn’t realize it somewhere along the way. I’ve been sort of offline for a few days – here but not here and mostly just playing Words with Friends and lurking on Reddit. My dad has been gone for a year now, the day came and went with no fanfare, no whistles or bells. I don’t know what I expected I guess. I am a little surprised that I didn’t dream about him. Maybe the melatonin is giving me more vibrant dreams at the cost of the vibrant, meaningful dreams that tend to poke at me around special dates. I didn’t dream of my mother around her birthday this year either. Like I said, I think I leveled up and didn’t hear the sunburst sound or get to allocate my level points.
It feels like so much has happened in this first year that he missed. I wrote a book that he’ll never read. I don’t have the right words for how upsetting that is. I’m kind of glad he missed all the health crap – he would have tried to help more than he should have because he was like that. The oldest kid continually surprises people with his talents – acting and singing. I know Dad would have loved to see the boy be Edgar Allan Poe and completely kill it. The youngest kid has tried a bunch of new foods – many of which my Dad loved to cook (granted, he loved to cook pretty much everything but still) and has come so far. He’d have been so damned proud of them both. And me too, for that matter.
I find I’m standing up for myself a little bit more, putting up with nonsense a little less. I’m not sure if it’s because of said leveling up or if I just don’t have the energy to placate people or stroke their egos anymore. Plus, I have much less time now that I can type again. All the words belong to me now – still a bit slower than I’d like but I’m so happy with the volume and quality of them!
My phone is incredibly quiet now – no one calls to kibbutz with me or texts final jeopardy answers anymore. I miss him a lot. I did however finally go back to his favorite restaurant – there’s only so long I can go without Theo Yanni’s baklava cheesecake (which is even better than it sounds). Heck, maybe that’s when I did the leveling up. Somewhere between the spanikopita and the cheesecake, the horn must have trumpeted. I guess that means my points are all automatically assigned though. Which is a shame. I would really like to assign some points to learning freedom of movement.
When my mom passed, there were a million things she would never get to do but only the big ones seemed to matter – she’d never see me make something of myself, she’d never meet the man I love or make my wedding dress, she’d never hold my kids or teach them silly campfire songs.
Now, a few decades later, with losing my dad, it’s the little things that dig in. I can’t help but wonder who’s going to pester me about how many words I’ve written? Who do I text to brag when I get my picky boy to eat something new? One of the worst has been final Jeopardy honestly. It was a little bit of a competition between us and to give credit, he was far more often right than I, but it was fun and silly and now it’s gone. I neverwill get to do any of those things again. He neverwill respond or pat me on the head or tell me what’s wrong with a particular plotline (or what’s right with it too).
I think with all the things going on right now, all the little transitions that are going on in my life, I’m feeling those holes in my life a little more today. I would give anything to show my mom what I’m working on using the techniques she taught me. I think my dad would be hugely proud of me for taking some of the steps I’ve taken recently with getting myself out there. I’m just missing them both pretty hard today and all the neverwills are squawking at me.
They’re terribly icky shadowbirds those neverwills.
Today was IEP day for my youngest kidlet. It went well, as it usually does, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a twist of nerves and flooded with research in the days leading up to it. There’s a lot going on with him and, even though he is getting better at speaking neurotypical, he’s not there just yet. There are still things he needs a little bit of help with. I’m fortunate to be in a district willing to work with me, even when my ideas maybe aren’t the most orthodox ones. I know a lot of other parents have had problems working within the system, even specifically this system, and I am so grateful that I have had such a comparatively easy road for both kids.
I’ve also been helping my stepmom go through my dad’s things. Some things hit me harder than others. I was doing pretty well with the whole thing until I started looking through his slides. He was a phenomenal photographer who had such an amazing artistic eye for framing and focus. I may be looking into what it will take to do something interesting with some of those – maybe pairing his art with mine. I wish I’d seen some of these images before – I’d have suggested this project directly to him. But it’s a long way off and there’s a lot I’ve got to do before I can do a project like what I’m thinking about.
There’s one image in particular that I’m just struck by. We were in Spokane, WA then, I think I might be four in the picture. I’m wearing a bright red winter coat and it is the only real color in the image. I’m feeding the ducks and swans in Riverfront Park with the pavilion and the clocktower in the background. There is no one else in the picture. Not the old lady with the bag of breadcrumbs. Not a single soul on the grass on the other side of the river. No one on the bridge. I cannot remember a time when there weren’t people milling about everywhere there. It was always one of our favorite places to go on his weekends, puttering around with those birds. Oh, how I loved those swans. It’s a striking image and I really want to do something interesting with it. But I suppose I need to get a print first as it is only a slide.
I’m not getting a lot of usable writing done – it’s all a little too maudlin right now – so I’m doing more editing. I’m polishing up a few things to get ready to send out. I think being in this weird zone is actually making the editing easier because I’m not being drawn to five or six other projects I want to write also.
Dad’s Nikon is a lot different than my Pentax but I think I’m going to dust them off, load them up, and teach the kids how to take proper pictures this summer. If I knew how to do developing, I might just do the whole shebang but I’ll settle for lighting, color, and composition matched with shutter speed, exposure lengths, and that sort of thing. I think it’ll be a nice thing to be able to pass that along. Plus, we’ll maybe figure out if the cameras have any appreciable difference in quality.
Champ sleeping in his younger days (2010)
For 15 years, Old Dog has been a good dog. He wasn’t always old but he was mostly always good.
We’ve known this was coming for a long time. He was able to stay with us far longer than we expected but it was time to say goodbye. We’ll always remember our Champ.
The kids are dealing pretty well – better than I am, certainly. Red Dog is going to take a while to adjust but I think he knew it was coming too. We had extra time we weren’t expecting to get – a few months – but that doesn’t make saying goodbye easier at all.
We tried hard to be busy today, to do normal things – we were supposed to have a yard sale – but I should have known better. I’m not good at being personable on a good day and today is not a good day. The weather gets it – torrential downpour that stopped the minute Older Child and I had everything cleaned up. It’s been that kind of day, that kind of summer, and that kind of year. No year is without good points but damn if this year doesn’t seem to be full of terrible no good very bad moments.
Filed under Animals, Life
I want to wrap all of my remaining favorite famous people in bubble wrap.
Alan Rickman has passed away. I would like to express my sympathies to his family. He was my favorite villain. From Die Hard to Harry Potter with a stop in Sherwood forest. (And yes, he wasn’t really a villain in HP except when he was).
2016 has been a terrible year for famous people I admire. I’m really hoping this year is done with that now but it is only January and some of my favorite people aren’t all together well. I think I was right when I said something earlier this week about growing old having nothing to do with age and everything to do with loss. I am feeling very old today.
David Bowie has died and my heart goes out to his family.
I’ve suspected for a while that I’m getting old but now I know for sure. Getting old for me doesn’t seem to be about age. Getting old is losing my heroes and today I’ve lost another. For me, he was The Goblin King, Ziggy Stardust and The Man Who Sold the World. He was an incredible artist and an inspiration. He was magic.
The more people-sized holes appear in my life, the older I feel. I hope very much that his family is surrounded by support and love and that they know how large an influence he had and how well he will be remembered for the art he created and the beauty and magic he gave to the world.
I’m going back and forth today between the Harry Potter marathon on ABC Family and my hummingbird feeder. These things don’t seem connected in the slightest and they aren’t.
I get emotional when my favorite characters in books and movies die. Overly so? Maybe. For most of my life, my closest friends were made of paper and film. It’s easier to be close to people who don’t really exist. Much easier than making connections with flesh and blood people who can hurt you, whose disappearance from your life can leave you empty. At least on paper and film, they’re never really gone – you can rewatch or reread a book whenever you like and there they are, whole again.
I get a little weepy when certain characters die. Sometimes a lot weepy (with Spock most especially). I get a little weepy when certain series come to a close for good. My kids laugh at me and the hubster teases me a bit. It is how I’ve always been, probably how I’ve always been.
The characters don’t even have to be people. When the Enterprise gets hurt, when Baby (Metallicar) gets hurt, a certain snowy owl, and a horse in a swamp… my heart breaks over and over every time.
It’s probably a good thing I haven’t lost very many flesh and blood people who are really close to me.
I think I want to end on a happier note here so have a picture of my cat, Castiel in his jar of dirt (apparently, I should have named him Jack).