Both of my parents died six months ago. It was April. My mom from cancer that she’d been battling for a couple of years. My father from a stroke that took him in 5 days. He went first. Twenty—or was is 22—days before his wife of 46 years. They were young by today’s standards. Sixty-five and Sixty-seven.
I’ve cried a few times. Quickly. Quietly. Willing but not quite able to muster the turning-the-corner-into-anger sort of tears that would signal my official descent into the widely accepted stages of grief.
I’ve purposely not spent too much time reacquainting myself with the stages of grief. Rather than stack the deck against myself by the power of suggestion, I figured I’d allow the emotions and memories to gather together like raindrops on windowpane, linking together slowly, one by one, until their combined weight was enough to draw them downward.
Then, earlier this week, I started to see my parents everywhere. “Doesn’t Sarah Palin look a little bit like my mother when she was younger?” I asked my husband. He did his best to mask the not-really tone in his voice “Well…maybe a little.”
Walking down the street toward my favorite writing café, I saw a man in the distance that I could swear was my dad. He wore a baseball cap over his blonde-gray hair and had his hands in the pockets of a Members Only-style baseball jacket. There was something in his slightly curved posture and sporty white sneakers that brought him home for a moment. But only for a moment.
When I found myself in a state of unsettled sensory-overload last night, I figured I was just tired. I’ve been staying up too late and I teach early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I figured I just needed a good night’s sleep.
Then I started to snap at my husband and the drummer for our band because they were having trouble nailing a rhythm.
And today I find myself wearing this kind of free-floating anger-at-everything-and-nothing-at-once like a heavy, scratchy and damp wool blanket. I am not fighting it. I am confident that this anger will weave its way toward acceptance in time. All I can do is pray for strength and do my best to be loving toward the people while I make my way through what I know is a painful but healthy process of gathering them close so I can let them go.