Comfort And Joy

December 29, 2009

Christmas has come and gone and we are still picking figurative tinsel out of our hair, even as we move forward into a difficult week, clinging to the hangover of joy so that whatever pain the next few days bring is blunted by its residue.

We’ve come west to try to finish the work of clearing out my father’s home, of getting closer to closure with the business surrounding his death. My husband is doing the heavy lifting – the packing, the moving, the cleaning – and leaving to me the sorting – the physical and emotional sorting – that will, hopefully, bring the aforementioned closure, closure that I am not certain that I want, but still.

I cannot go to his home this week. I cannot do it. I am ashamed of this, a little, but it is necessary, so I am trying to forgive myself. Instead of me going to Dad’s stuff, his stuff – the few remaining things that might matter, the stuff that my husband will sift and sort and set aside – will come to me in the lair that I have fashioned for myself in my mother’s home some miles away, and in the meantime I will fret and fuss and worry that some precious object – some note, some stone, some photograph, some feather, some fine bit of detritus – will be misplaced or overlooked or tucked in the wrong box and sent to the thrift store or the recycling box and be lost forever. I will, worry, I will worry constantly. But that is also why I cannot go, because were I to go I would linger over every last spoon and teacup and paper clip and oil change receipt and spend an age agonizing over whether I could bear to let these – these remaining artifacts of my father’s life – go.

So, no. I am struggling to keep a distance, some little distance, between myself and the things that are, right now, too difficult, and working to distract myself with diaper changes and music shows and marathon cookie baking sessions and visits to see the horses at the ranch and eating my mother’s lasagna. And I am tending my grief carefully and quietly, keeping it well watered with the last drops of holiday joy. And hoping that I will be okay.

kamloops lake

The view from the road between my mother’s home and my father’s. Desolate, and breathtaking.

I don’t know how much I will write this week. I may need to write. I may need to not write. We’ll see.

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