I woke up this morning feeling the weight of sheer dread sitting on my chest. Headed out to the front porch with my (decaf, just in case I’m impregnated) coffee to think. By the time Bobby got home from his breakfast meeting, I had worked myself up into a mental hissy-fit. As soon as Bobby stepped on the porch, I started crying and telling him that he doesn’t listen to me. He was bumfuzzled and, to his credit, he sat down calmly and told me to talk to him instead of getting defensive and sassy.
So I cried. I told him the whole story, about how I felt like Mama’s slipping away from me, and nobody understands. I told him that I felt very alone and sad. And he listened quietly, and then told me that I needed to call Daddy and tell him what I had just said, word for word. Bobby said that even though Daddy is undeniably difficult, it was unfair to not even give him the opportunity to understand, and to just assume the worst. I quickly (and ungraciously) replied that I had been giving Daddy chances my entire life, and he had never failed to exhibit his antisocial tendencies. Bobby agreed, but said that recently Daddy had been making an effort (here’s the example that he referenced), and I needed to acknowledge that.
Blah. Sometimes Bobby’s so freakin’…. right.
So I called Daddy. I told him the whole thing — that moving Mama’s clothes was a gigantic deal to me, and I needed to do it in my own way, and I wanted to be alone so that I could grieve. At first he was all snippy and hateful and kept saying “ok, ok, ok” impatiently, as if the entire conversation was inconveniencing him. But as soon as I said the magic G-word, his entire persona changed. “Aaaahhh,” he said, “I see. This is a part of your GRIEVING PROCESS.” (He always talks about THE GRIEVING PROCESS like it’s in all-caps.)
You see, Daddy doesn’t understand emotions like loss and heartbreak. What he does understand, however, is anything with a nice, neat label. If I told him I just didn’t want him there, he would assume I had some anti-father ulterior motive. But if I frame it with labels and keywords, he responds like a charm… kinda like a search engine, or an alien robot. It’s weird.
So the resolution: He asked if I could come next week when I can have the house to myself, so that I can GRIEVE. This is the first time since Mama died that he’s willingly opened the house to me without a chaperon. Of course, he concluded the conversation with “Now, remember, everything in that house belongs to me, so you need to ask me before you take anything.” That’s my father — couldn’t let it pass without slipping at least one of those comments in there.
After talking to Daddy, I read the comments that y’all left on last night’s post… as always, reading your words makes me feel comforted, less alone. And Ginny, if you’re reading, thank you for the text this morning… it made me cry. And Bree, thank you so, so much for the quilt idea. I’m going to do it — I’ve already talked to Jennifer about having quilts made for all three sisters. Just the idea of wrapping up in a quilt made of my mother’s clothes, or sleeping with that quilt across my feet is incredibly comforting to me. Thank you so very, very much.