Saturdays are now known as “sad days” around our house.
I didn’t notice it, but P did. “Are you okay,” he asked last Saturday as I moped around starting project after project I just couldn’t finish. “Aw, I’m just sad today.” “Saturdays are hard for you, aren’t they?” P asked. I hadn’t realized it, but it was true, the past several Saturdays I’d woken up in a funk and been unable to shake it. I still loved Saturdays, looked forward to them, but it was true, they’re my new sad day.
It’s a unfortunately development. I mean Saturdays! Why that one, special work-less day? Why the one day I can sleep in and schedule as I please. Why the one day I look forward to all week long? Why!
P usually works long and hard to gently cox me out of my hermitude. He plies me with promises of “going to the garden,” “feeling better,” and “maybe stopping to pick up some groceries.” It takes me hours to be convinced, to get myself together and get out the door. But it does help.
I seem to talk about mi papa all the time now. Mentioning how I hope he can see our garden this year. Asking him to pull some strings, any strings, to get the damn bank to sell us the house. Using some of his favorite phrases all day long. Phrases like, “Fine, fine as frog’s hair. So fine you can’t even see it,” “Merry Easter and Happy Christmas,” “There ain’t no place like this place anywhere near this place so this must be the place.” I wonder if he knew he wouldn’t make it much longer. I look at pictures of him wondering if he knew. I think about our last harried conversation. Was I helpful? Was I calming? Did I sound as frantic as I felt? I think about sitting up with him on his last night in the quiet blue of the hospital night, trying to sleep, feeling his sweaty, swollen hand in mine.
I took a nap today. A long, heavy nap. I woke often but dreamt vividly. I dreamt about my dad – it felt real and calming. Although I don’t remember any of the dreams, it was nice.
I had to tell my sister about mi papa’s death via Fac*ebook on Friday. That was awful. My brother called and left a choppy, vague, truncated message about me not wanting to see him. WTF? P’s aunt was just diagnosed with stomach cancer and three months to live. Her daughter has skin cancer on her face and doesn’t have very long either. She has a little boy. This will be the third aunt P has lost since December. And his family isn’t that big! There are so many fragile and complicated situations that I feel so helpless and unable to navigate.
I can barely keep up these days. Actually, I don’t keep up. I’m drowning in undone projects and matters. This, of course, only increases my heavy sense of malaise and makes me less inclined to actually do anything. I get to work, get seeds and plants in the ground. I get sleep, usually. But I haven’t cooked a meal in ages. I live on P’s preparations, take out, popcorn and ice cream. I knit a little bit, do a load of laundry once in a while, but all those complicated situations? I don’t have the wherewith all to actually deal with them. I waste all my energy thinking about them. And Saturdays – my get it done! days – are simply a matter of survival.
I hope this passes. But there is part of me that is wallowing in sadness like a pig in mud. There is part of me that loves it. It reminds me I’m human, it gives me excuse to stop and feel. I know I miss him, mi papa, and that means I really loved him. Being from a loose family with a “take ’em or leave ’em” attitude, it is nice to know that under it all there are bonds, bonds that hurt when they’re broken. And I’m okay with the sadness as long as I’m assured it’s normal (I am) and as long as I know I’ll feel better one day. What worries me most is wondering if the bad news is going to keep rolling in. What if it never stops? What if all this cancer, death, economic collapse, family conflict, and depression is my new norm? What if this is what the rest of my life is going to look like? That terrifies me. I think it has to take a break sometime, but when?