Jason is at a software conference in California all week, and apparently can see Disneyland from his hotel. My mom is in town to help me out with the kids, or at least that's the idea: Please come and save me from my own purposeful decision to have this many children, ay yi fucking yi.
Today is (was? would have been? no, let's stick with is) my parents' wedding anniversary.
I'm glad she's here. She says she's glad she's here, too. She had flowers and a card delivered to his grave this morning, though.
Her grief is...still intense. Raw and fresh and liable to bubble over at any second. The kind of grief that can make people uncomfortable because it's just so real and there.
And then there's me. I'm fine! And good. What's for lunch? I should go to the store. We need cat food.
Jason says I keep hitting the snooze button on my grief. On grieving. Which I suppose is true, like I keep expecting there to be a time when I can pencil in a good cry and some Deep Thoughts between 11 and 1 next Thursday but oh, crap. I have that call with the people at the place. Then I have pick Ezra up from school and get Noah at the bus and Ike has a doctor's appointment and there's some free time on Saturday but I think I'll schedule a haircut instead.
I could probably convince you -- and myself -- that I have simply opted to immerse myself in life instead. Life! Which goes on, blah dee blee, and my father would not want me to be sad and weepy at the expense of reveling in my pile of adorable, hilarious children. That happened, and that's all there is to it. The best way through it is through, at full speed, on a train, that's been turbo-boosted with rockets.
But then: My mom mails me copies of some old photos she's found of him. To add to the huge stack of assorted pictures and yearbooks and newspaper clippings I promised to scan for her ages ago, but have not yet touched. I stare at his face and feel my eyes getting hot. I quickly slap the paper face down on the counter, then cover it up with some catalogs. Then I snap at one of the kids, for absolutely no reason at all. Stop that. Whatever it is you're doing, just stop.
And then: We're out at lunch, some casual place with a big flatscreen TV up above the bar. We're in a booth across the room but I'm staring at the TV anyway, watching some PSA-type commercial in horror, knowing I should look away, look away, look away...
OH GOD STOP IT NO NO WHAT THE HELL. (<--Click at your eyeballs' own risk.)
I finally manage to look away, but only because I need to turn my face towards the wall while I attempt to get my sobs back under control. I blame postpartum hormones and try to laugh at myself. Jason tries to tell me it's okay but I cut him off and ask him about the state of my mascara.
And then: Father of the Bride comes on TV. Jason and I watch it for the dozenth time for no real reason. I make fun of it a lot, because I have no patience for extravagant weddings and never fail to side with Steve Martin over his poor little spoiled brat daughter who falls asleep reading tips for a BUDGET WEDDING, THE HORROR, SEE WHAT YOU'VE DRIVEN HER TO? SHE'S THINKING OF BAKING HER OWN CAKE, YOU MONSTER.
And then: She calls him on the phone, from the airport, just to say she loves him. My heart shatters into a million pieces and I'm sobbing -- bawling -- because I can't do that, ever again.
And that's how it goes. I stuff it down. I look away. I keep the photos and clippings in the basement. I put his fingerprint back in my jewelry box to protect it from Ike's grabby little fists. I dab at my eye makeup with tissues and laugh at myself and go to the store for cat food during Noah's karate class while Ezra tries to sneak ice cream into our cart and I text my husband to find out if I should pick up some dish detergent too. I'm fine! Really, really fine.
And then I walk past the Band-Aids and there it is, again, bleeding ever so slightly around the edges.