It’s been a rollercoaster lately.

I’m not stating that to make excuses for not blogging.  Sebastien reminded me that I really don’t need to do that, and his comment was extremely freeing.

Quite simply, I haven’t had time.  And, I haven’t had time for damn good reasons (though, the reasons don’t really matter), but even still, I miss it.  I am fortunate that I generally like my paying job, and my paying job isn’t soul-sucking and emotionally draining, but is still intellectually stimulating.  It’s not my love, but that’s OK.  Because I’ve already done what I love as a career – writing, that is – and I hated nearly every minute of it.  (Not EVERY minute, mind you – but more minutes than not, let’s say.)  Sometimes, doing what you love doesn’t mean what you think it means.

Anyway, that’s a tangent.

I mention that it’s been a rollercoaster lately, not to make an excuse, but rather said rollercoaster is something I want to write about.

Tuesday night, two weeks ago, I was making dinner.  Well, actually, Chris was coaching me through every baby step of making a pot roast without the McCormack seasoning packet.  Specifically, though, I was cutting mushrooms to add to a pot roast, made with some of the meat I had purchased at the Troy Winter Market (or, as I prefer to call it, Foodie Mecca).  I had just washed the mushrooms and began to chop when I heard my husband exclaim, “What?!”  I hadn’t heard his phone ring, so I thought he was speaking to me.

I poked my head into the living room.  “What’s that, babe?  I didn’t say anything.”

I saw him on the phone, oblivious to me.  “How is Mom doing?” he asked.

I knew then whatever it was, it wasn’t good.  I sat down next to him.

“My father died,” he said to me.

I gasped, covered my mouth, and, in shock, went back to cut the mushrooms.  Tears blurred my eyes as I chopped, and I thought to myself, “The last thing Chris needs right now is to drive me to the ER because I chopped off a finger because I was crying while cutting the mushrooms!”

I didn’t chop off a finger.  And the roast came out delicious.  Bill would have liked the roast.

This was two weeks ago.  It still doesn’t feel real.

No, it was not expected.  He was traveling for work – because, yes, he still worked at age 75, and yes, it was an active choice – and had a massive heart attack.  On the other side of the continent.  My brother-in-law and his wife hopped on a plane to California to fight the bureaucratic, red-tape nightmare that ensues when one dies in another jurisdiction.  My husband drove down the next day to be with his family, and I followed a few days later.

Funerals are exhausting.  You don’t really think about it until you’re in the midst of mourning a loved one, but the days are so emotionally charged, that to think about anything else is just too much.  Most places of employment only allow for three days of bereavement.  Fortunately, most places of employment also are flexible about employees supplementing those three days, because three days really isn’t enough.

My last memory of Bill was wearing 3D glasses.  He got my mother-in-law a Smart Television and a Blu-Ray player for the living room.  (He already had a Blu-Ray player for his large screen TV in the basement, though it was not a 3D capable TV.)  He scoured his Blu-Ray collection for ones that were 3D and popped in Cars 2.  My 75-year-old father-in-law, sitting on the couch, with 3D glasses on, watching Cars 2.  You can rest assured it wasn’t for the plot.

I am pretty sure I saw him without the 3D glasses on before we left that night.  But that’s what I have as my last memory of him – playing with gadgets.  He loved gadgets.

As sad as I was, however, I found myself saddened most because of those he left behind.  My mother-in-law, whom he was married to for 52 years.  My brother-in-law and his fiancee, whose wedding he won’t be here to dance at.  His grandchildren, the oldest whom was barely out of college, and the youngest who only recently got to know him.  His German Shepherd, Abby, who, upon realizing that his suitcase came home without him, walked out of the room with her head down, into an empty room to sit by herself.  And, of course, for my husband, who lost his father.

Nothing is more heart wrenching than watching someone you love in pain.

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