My life is a shitshow, so what better time to restart this habit.
My father had a stroke at the beginning of February. About a month ago he passed away. And because life knows how to pile it on, in that time my relationship of the last almost three years fell apart, so I’m single again.
Backing up, for a second, because this wasn’t supposed to be that year. I just started a new job in January, two weeks before my dad’s stroke. Two endings and a beginning.
The other day, someone asked me if I’d gone back to work yet. And I was flabbergasted. Whose life did this person think I was living? That is not how it works in my reality. I haven’t taken a single day off since my father passed. In all the time since the stroke, I’ve only taken two days, the week it first happened. It never occurred to me to not go to work. I have to work. Is this a thing that people do? Just stop everything when someone dies? I get the requisite bereavement leave my company offers in this case, five days. I am saving those to help my mom move out of her house later this month, because that’s our reality. While my father was alive, they had a decent income, but they were paycheck-to-paycheck like most of America. They didn’t have any savings. Just steady pension and retirement checks. And the second that he passed, most of the income went with him. My mom is boned, and there isn’t any time for either of us to fall apart.
It sounds luxurious, to be honest. So decadent, to stop working because my father died. To fall apart for even a moment feels like something reserved for the upper-crust of socioeconomic strata. How elegant. Does the fainting couch come standard with that plan? And the on-call doctor with a bottle of valium.
So I power through, like I’ve always done. I go to work. I’ve flown back and forth to my mom’s house every two to three weeks, slowly slipping into debt that hopefully, someday I can get out from under. And if I’m honest, I’ve drunk more than is probably necessary. I haven’t even remotely begun to grieve. First things first, and someone has to keep it together.
I hope I keep writing. I have a lot of material right now, honestly. This I have to say about how hard it is to find out information about services and housing available to an elderly, low-income parent. That there should be a number like 1-800-MYPARENTSAREOLD. There’s all the lessons my parents have taught me of the “what not to do” variety. About the importance of a durable power of attorney, and the fact that you’re never too young to make sure you have one for your parents. About wills, lawyers, real estate, estate liquidators, medicaid, medicare, hospice, and the VA. Maybe I’ll write about some of that, or maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll write about being single again, suddenly, and what it’s like to be a single woman in her 40s in the age of Tinder, or maybe I’ll go nowhere near that crap. Hopefully I’ll find whatever humor there may be in this situation.
I’ve been through so much. I’ll get through this. Want to come along for the ride?