Today is one year since my dad died of a massive heart attack. And it marks two and a half since my mother died by suicide. Today is one year since I was cut loose from the apron strings of girlhood.
I awoke this morning at the same time I did last year when my sister called me to tell me they were all at the hospital and Dad had died. I remember I went into Majestic’s room and they held me while I cried and somehow we booked a ticket to get me to Kelowna to say goodbye. I remember sitting on the couch so heavy that I could barely physically lift my head. I thought that heaviness might go away some day, but one year later…two and a half years later, I am just as weighted.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel today. The knowledge of this anniversary coloured this last weekend during which two dear friends got married and my partner and I finally closed the book on this chapter of our relationship. The weekend was steeped in sadness and I felt so lonely. And as I drove away from Victoria, I felt another shift in my notions of family.
That’s the thing about family. We believe that families are a constant, whether they are blood or chosen. We believe they are a foundation, a rock to stand on when everything else is shaking around us. But what happens when that foundation cracks, when that rock is the thing that is shaking underneath us? I guess family is more like a thread bare t-shirt, still wearable and held together but loose. Old holes get stitched together only for new ones to be worn through, the well loved threads inevitably letting go. Impermanence is a hard lesson to learn, one that I still haven’t managed to close my fingers around.
This morning I awoke from a dream. I was at a joint funeral for my parents. It was two funerals happening simultaneously but they were held back-to-back so the room was filled with people but it felt like how it does when you go to a weird buffet restaurant and all the walls are covered in mirrors and it looks like the dining room just goes on forever. Everyone kept commenting on how few people were there. In the dream, though, the funerals were also a joint wedding and birthday celebration. I was given a microphone and a set of speakers that everyone chipped in on but they were too loud to play anywhere so every time I turned them on and tried to speak, I got in trouble.
Life keeps going after the funeral, even though you think it will stop. Even though you want it to. I’m still trying to find my voice in this world where nothing makes sense anymore. I’m still trying to find a room to speak loudly enough so that my parents can hear me.