Surprised by Grief

“Are you surprised by how hard you are taking this?” She asks the question as I sit at her kitchen table. I think I’m doing well, considering that Dad has been gone less than a week.

What surprises me isn’t that I am grieving, but that grief makes me feel tired, slow, sore, and forgetful. My body feels like I have a low-grade flu. My brain isn’t processing quickly.

Having no funeral feels wrong. It is an occasion without commemorating. It’s Easter without Church, Thanksgiving with no meal, 9-11 without a moment of silence, moving without a goodbye meal, an inauguration held in the kitchen, not on the steps of the Capital. Certain events, both happy and sad, cry out for ceremony.

I feel like I’m waiting for the event.

But I don’t think I’m taking this too hard. My Dad died. I would be surprised if it was easy.

A back itch has me in tears. The last time I was at Mom and Dad’s (now it’s just Mom’s) Dad was rubbing his back on a corner to deal with persistent itching. I asked which uncle used to do that. “Ward,” he answered.

I found myself at Salvation Army this afternoon looking for the clothes we donated. Where are his suspenders? His shoes? I didn’t see one familiar thing and couldn’t decide if that was good or bad.

I feel substantially older.

What do people expect of me? I went to work today. One week after Dad died. I went to work. Yes, I cried. But I was there. I made two mistakes and fixed them. I was relieved when the day was over.

My hair has been clean almost every day. This is a good sign. I can’t seem to remember to take my meds and vitamins, but that will come.

How easy was this supposed to be?


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