Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

Somewhere around 5:45ish every morning, I roll out of bed, land on my feet, and stumble into the shower. Thirty minutes later, coiffed and made-up, dressed in the day's costume, I make my way downstairs for a hot breakfast and whatever book I'm reading at the moment.

Come 7 a.m., I'm on the bus, my eyes already half-closed and my mind on auto-pilot. An hour later, traffic permitting, I'm in Downtown Pittsburgh, navigating the crowds and cutting through buildings to escape the cold, the rain, or both.

Five days a week I do this, relishing the sameness. Maybe today will be so bland that I'll make it through without thinking about much of anything save for the future.

Five days a week I talk about business communications and management theories. I'm at the point in the term where the students who show up regularly what to be there and want to learn. We accomplish a good bit. It's nice to feel that I have a point.

It's safe to say that most days are pretty good.

There've been two funerals since Dad died. I made it to one, I think. It was the mother of a friend of my mother-in-law.

You know, I didn't even make it into the parlor part of the funeral home. I stayed in the foyer, next to to coatrack, and lied. Said that the crowd was "too much" for Gavie, that I didn't want him to see another casket anyway. Truth is, I couldn't walk into the main room for anything. The mere thought of seeing someone -- even a stranger -- in a casket was simply too much for me.

About three weeks ago, Jack's wife Val lost her sister. I contemplated taking a berevement day and driving up because, after all, Val is my (biological) dad's wife and thus (technically) my stepmother. I love her, I care about her, and I felt horrible for her having to go through this. I wanted to be there... but...

What a relief it was to realize that I had a meeting after school the day of the viewing. The thought of being about people I know and of dealing with their grief was overwhelming. If I could barely handle a stranger's death, what was going to happen to me at this funeral?

We went to the cemetary for Memorial Day. Took Gavie.

All you heard, as we silently contemplated the new headstone was a tiny little mournful voice, a wavering syllable. "Pap." Drawn out and ending with a little sob as he buried his head on my shoulder and repeated it again. And again.

Some days are worse then others.