We’ve sold the first of my mom’s properties – her condo in Bellevue. This is a good thing. This is SUCH a relief and will lift an enormous burden off all of our shoulders. But it’s also bittersweet. It’s all so bittersweet. This is how everything is right now. It was the place where I last saw and spent time with dad. It was the place where lots of events happened over the last 14 years. (College graduation celebrations, our post-Wedding day brunch – also bittersweet thanks to our Wedding night spent in the ER, it’s where we brought babies to visit Grandma and D-dad, it’s where we threw an amazing surprise birthday party for mom’s 70th, it’s where we went after dad died).
Yesterday, I was driving home from dropping Kayliana off at preschool. I was kind of just zoning out when, all of a sudden, I became uber aware of my surroundings. I think it was the combination of sun and the color of the autumn leaves around me. It also happened to be the same road that I had to drive home on after getting the call from Mike. I was immediately transported back to that moment, that day.
This year, the changes of fall make me feel just a little ill. It’s beautiful, but it puts a pit of dread in my stomach. It just means we’re in the season and nearing the inevitable first anniversary of dad’s death. Every moment causes me, in some way, to think about that. Well, a year ago when we were putting up our harvest-Halloween decorations, I had no idea what would happen in just a matter of weeks. I was also all sorts of confused and stressed, fall 2013, with my new (dad-initiated) plan to go back to school and get my Masters. (A plan that has been completely shelved, put on the back-burning, has a pin in it – you name it. I feel like, for the last 10 months, I’ve hardly been able to get through a day without falling apart. I can barely look a week ahead right now without feeling overwhelmed. Figuring out my future career path is the last thing on my mind.)
People have already started talking a bit about the holidays. I saw Christmas trees in a store already. Normally, this would thrill me to no end (and, of course, it partly does). But Thanksgiving will be forever tainted. I’ll never be able to experience it for just Thanksgiving. It will always bring back memories of last Thanksgiving – reeling and really, still being in shock, from the two days before.
I think I’ve even already blogged about this, and it makes me sad that this has become the tone of my blog, but whatchya-gonna-do, right? November 26th looms like a dark shadow in front of me. It’s the day before Thanksgiving this year. I (selfishly) pre-dread seeing all the happy Thanksgiving posts on Facebook or having to listen to people complain about the stress of the holiday, the family madness, the cooking, the cleaning, the prep-work (even though I will grumble about some of that too). I assume that we’ll probably have Thanksgiving here. I do think it’s good that we won’t be having it in the same place as last year, but I know it won’t necessarily be any easier.
This is the thing with grief – and a dear friend from Engaged Encounter (who lost her son) – told me: it’s the build-up to the days – the holidays, the anniversaries and birthdays – that’s usually the hardest. That, and the random days (like today and yesterday) when, for whatever reason, it’s just extra painful. The hurt is just a little more constantly present. So, maybe that’s what I’m in now. The random hard days. The build-up to the big days. No matter how you slice it, it sucks; it’s all hard. Different levels of hard, but all sucky.