Thursday, September 1, 2011

Open house

Last night was the first of many firsts. This time, I left the kids at home to go to Kiki's high school open house. I ran into people who had just heard (and who always ask, "Was it sudden?"), which creates the push-pull in me of giving them information vs. not talking about it yet again. I ran into people who hadn't heard and would say things like, "How's EG?" Um, dead? (Which, of course, leads to "was it sudden?") Most likely fine, but I can't say for sure? Oh, about the same as the past three weeks?

Of course, they could ask where he was, and I could honestly say, "Home." I wouldn't need to add that he was in my closet, or that he hadn't come out of the closet for two weeks now.

My sister and I ascribe to a black sense of humor, believing that laughing at something takes away the power and fear associated with it. We laughed during my parents' issues with Alzheimer's disease, and while some people were rather horrified, I think, it helped us cope when my mother announced that she was pregnant and that the baby was racially mixed (I noted to the staff that Lifetime might not be the best choice for a dementia wing).

My friend N's mother makes the absolute best potato salad on the planet. However, like most great cooks, she doesn't measure but prepares food more by instinct. For years, we have all tried replicating the recipe, which we could never get in writing. When N came home for the funeral, she had her mother walk her through the preparation so she could bring the potato salad for a meal. Afterward, N backtracked and measured all the containers and cooking spoons used in preparation to get accurate levels for the ingredients. Between sessions at the calling hours, people sat down for a meal and, as usual, raved about the potato salad. N announced that she finally had obtained the recipe, which is akin to the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. I said, "Well, we always said someone would most likely have to die to get this recipe, and poor EG was the one who had to take one for the team."

Fortunately, the people who were there got it and were not horrified.

However, right now, I am not in a place where I can laugh, where even jokes won't reduce the awfulness of what happened. I know I need to move on, that my life will pass me by if I wallow in this grief, and that EG would never, ever, ever want me to curl up in a ball and stay there. However, I need to be careful that I find that balance between grief inertia and completely ignoring my own needs.

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