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April, 2012:

Life goes on

I guess when I post a rather emotional statement about grief and then disappear for over a week, it looks as if I’m stuck in that state, when in fact life doesn’t really let you just be sad. There is still shit to do.

I did really, really, really appreciate that I was able to take a week off work to be with Dad at the hospital, and the week after that to do some minor preparations for the memorial (in truth, I didn’t do much, but I wrote an obituary and biography for the booklet) and mostly zone out. Given previous jobs where I was denied vacation and always had to carry around a blackberry, I don’t think I would’ve been able to drop work like that had I not been where I am now. My coworkers were awesome, taking over my work to the point that I had no backlog when I came back. They deserve many hugs.

I did also get to visit my mom over the weekend, which helped so much too. My comment in the last post about my being most like my dad is quite apparent when I see Mom, because we aren’t much alike at all. Our voices are similar, but in looks and persona we differ to the point that people have shown surprise at hearing I’m her daughter. Though I think I have her ankles.

Due to my stepmother’s generosity I now own Dad’s car, and have paid off the remainder of my student loans. These sorts of things normally deserve a celebration but I would rather have Dad and debt and no car, to be honest. It feels as wrong to be happy about them as it does not to. But I named the car “The Pillock” because Heather and Kimli named their cars so I figured I’d have to, plus I grew up listening to Dad yelling at all the “bloody pillocks” on the road (I think I was a teenager before I learned that the word didn’t mean “bad driver”). And I guess this will mean less time spent with smelly, drunk and insane people on the Skytrain (I always picked the best times to travel).

But as I said, there is shit to do. My work won’t do itself (I’ve tested this in the past by ignoring it; nope), my cat won’t feed herself (though she stole my muffin this morning) and the condo won’t pay its mortgage. Life is dragging me forward, and I’m trying my best to let it.

I was speaking with a cousin last Friday (after Dad’s memorial service) and he asked if he’d offended me months ago by complaining in a comment that he wanted more Friday Cat Blogging, and if that was why I’d barely blogged for the last year.

Well, no, that’s not the reason, and I wasn’t offended, since I don’t remember it. The reason instead is everything that led up to Dad’s memorial service: the cancer diagnosis, Dad’s illness, and his request that I not tell anyone (which I took to mean, not blog about it; so I didn’t). Since sometime last summer I realized that I could hardly think of anything else, and attempts at blog posts would become streams of consciousness that would naturally head in the direction of Dad and my despair. So I posted little, except in the subject of my own health problems which were a nice selfish break from everything.

My father died on Friday, March 23, at age 68, of lung cancer. He was diagnosed with it, stage 4 even, in August or September, I don’t remember anymore. We knew sometime in the summer that things were really bad but it took doctors months to figure out the problem. I fretted for weeks before we got the definite news; friends and family told me to stop worrying, what’s the point of worrying when you have no control over the outcome, think positive, blah blah blah. And in the end it was worse than even I imagined, but “I told you so” or my preference of “fuck you” weren’t all that gratifying given what truth I’d won. The oncologist gave Dad a year and a half (with treatment) and instead he got a third of that (with treatment).

I feel I need to point out that he didn’t smoke, since the assumption with lung cancer is that it’s partially the person’s fault. Cancer doesn’t even run in the family, either. Dad just had to be a trailblazer.

Grief is a horrible thing. On Friday the 23rd I felt elation and relief that his suffering was over, and thought maybe I’d be fine from then on. That was quite stupid of me. Either I wake up feeling okay, but then the realization hits me; or I’m having a dream about Dad, where I know he’s gone, and when I wake up he’s still gone. I might see something funny and think, I should show this to Dad, and then I remember I can’t. I spend my days having the wind knocked out of me at random intervals.

I know I’ll get better eventually. But at this moment, the person I was most like in the world, and who loved me more than most, is gone, and I feel so very alone.

Me and Dad