On December 21st, it will have been five years. Five years since I got the worst phone call of my life - my brother, simply saying, "It's dad.", and his silence when I asked "What happened? I just talked to him last night and he was fine! Did he go back to the hospital?" He couldn't, wouldn't give me details, but I had a feeling. In hindsight, there were some clues, but we'd all kind of brushed them aside, never dreaming that it would come to that. Five years since I've been able to hear my father's gruff voice, doling out advice on my questions. Five years since I've heard him laugh at something my daughter has said.
It's gotten a little easier over those five years, but I still find myself funking out this time of year...getting cranky or weepy for no good reason. Feeling like I'm not good company for anyone. There's been anger. How dare he, didn't he think about how it would mar the holidays for all of us? Didn't he know? There's also been a lot of introspection, which may not have happened under different circumstances.
I feel myself pushing people away, trying to save myself from any possible pain like that again. I avoid bad news because I don't like feeling vulnerable.
That's why, every year since, I've had to pull myself up by my bootstraps and put my big girl pants on to get through. So if I seem distant and standoffish, it's not you. Keep trying; I'll get over it. Somehow.