When my dad died I asked myself, and was asked by others if I thought I could continue doing what I do for a living or if it would make me mental. I decided - 1. My experience would make me better at what I currently do, as I will now truly understand what someone is going through, and 2. My dad would be very disappointed in me if I used his death as an excuse to give up a career I still very much loved. So I'm still here and I was right...it has made me a better person and funeral director.
Eric pointed out to me a while ago that I was subconsciously pushing my emotions to the back of my mind during the week, and when my emotions overwhelm me it tends to happen on the weekends when I'm not at work. I think I'm doing what I need to do to survive my work week.
My dad is always front and centre in my mind when I'm alone. Be it in my car, just falling asleep, anywhere when I am alone with my thoughts. I used to dwell on stuff I had no control over or think about inane things when I had this private time, but since April 9th, he is who I think of when it's just me (and him).
Anyway, this past couple of weeks I've been feeling lousy physically and kind of melancholy. I had the last week of July off and the boys were with Rob so it was just Eric and I. We had no real plans and basically just hung around the house. I read a lot, we played Cribbage, we just chilled. I was feeling blaise over all. I couldn't put my finger on what it was but I suspect it was just a lousy week emotionally for me. I had nothing major to occupy my time and thoughts, so I often found myself thinking about him. And thinking about him makes me both want to smile and very sad at the same time.
Eric wants me to go see my doctor about feeling physically ill, but I secretly (though not so much anymore) wonder if my physical ailments aren't a direct cause of my emotional ailments. (Saying that out loud to anyone would make them want me to talk about my feelings though. I don't do that so well...) I don't 'feel' depressed though...but perhaps I've just pushed my feelings so far to the bottom that they are manifesting themselves through my physical being. I don't know.
Four days after my dad was diagnosed, a woman walked into the funeral home to do her pre-arrangement. She had been diagnosed with same thing my dad had earlier that morning and she too was given a grave prognosis. She was the first person I had dealings with, at work, following the blow our family had been dealt and since she too was going through the exact same thing as my own father it was a difficult arrangement and I cried a lot after she left. She has stuck with me in my mind. I have spoken to her husband on a couple of occasions following our initial meeting so I have been aware of the steps she has taken and I kind of know where she's currently at in her fight with the big C. On Friday, she randomly popped into my head and I wondered how she was making out. I wondered how she was doing mentally, I wondered how her kids took the news, I wondered how her husband was coping. I smiled and hoped she was doing ok as it's been 4 months since I met her and I still haven't received the call, so that's good news!
On Saturday a co-worker texted me to tell me she died, early in the morning. I have never in my 14 years been so affected by the death of a 'stranger'. My physical ailments seemed to get worse...my mood remained blah. I met her daughter on Monday at the funeral home and started crying in the hallway while I was talking to her. I have never done that before. Yesterday was the four month anniversary of my dad's passing. Today I buried this woman. I stood at her grave and I wept. I wept for her. I wept for her husband. I wept for her daughters. I wept for her grandchildren. I wept for my dad. I wept for me.
I'm not feeling any peace right now.
I think about this woman and the horrible things she went through physically and emotionally since I met her in April. And I wonder... Was my dad better off? Was he the lucky one for only getting 12 days? Were we lucky for not having to watch him suffer any longer than he did? Or was she the lucky one? Lucky because she had the time to write all of her family individual letters letting them know how important each of them was to her? Lucky because they all got to go to Disneyworld together for one last family vacation? Lucky because last week she got to take her grandchildren to the drive-in to see Cars 2 and the Smurfs movie? Lucky because she suffered in pain for four extra months physically? Lucky because she fought her mind for four months longer? Lucky because of what the cancer did physically to her body?
I don't know that answer. I do know this. I'm jealous and that makes me selfish. I'm jealous her husband, daughters and grandsons each have one last letter. I was jealous looking at their family photos from Disneyworld. But I was grateful that my father didn't go through the physical changes that she went through. I'm so grateful that my father looked like my father. For my sake, but more importantly for my children's sake.
I am a ball of emotions and today was a rough day for me. I wasn't able to separate work life and home life today. Today I was weak. Today I was human. Today I was a daughter who has lost her dad. All over again.