Luckily, I have my family to keep me going. Sometimes I just keep on going and sometimes I go too far. They help keep me from going off the edge though as I find myself going blank or going mad I can't help wondering if I'm the source of all problems. I am the mother, after all.
Let me introduce my cast of characters, my supporting cast, my support system.
That's about all I need. That and the occasional full-body crushing.
I could have been talking to myself. Even the cashier at the drugstore knew from looking across the store that she was the daughter I was trying to find. "Unless you and your husband look alike, she's your duplicate," he said.
Oh, my child. Do not fear others will not admire your gifts. Your gifts are too extensive and varied to be neglected.
When I told Steve in October that I was going to continue grieving for as long as I needed and that I wouldn't be able to work any time soon, he said that from his perspective I was already working hard.
Nobody was suggesting it was time for me to do anything different. Nobody but my own anxious self.
Steve knows how lucky I was to take care of Dad during the last months of his life. He says, rightly so, that if I'm truly lucky, I'll get to do the same for someone else sometime. He says that dealing with Dad's death is not a problem, it's a fact. I love this man and I think I'll keep him.
This Tuesday, while we were decorating the Christmas tree, Steve asked, "Where were things with your father this time last year?" I think he thought I needed to go from tense to crying, to burst the dam. It worked.
Just that day I'd listened to the last of the recordings I made of Dad's conversations. He was talking on the phone to Aunt Manci, the last of the living Hungarian immigrant Kleins.
"Mediocre. No, I'm not getting better. I'm staying the same. That's good if I can stay the same." This was just after New Year's Day.
On January 11, Dad died. That's what I said to Steve when I stopped crying long enough to speak.
And then the three of them finished decorating the tree.