And here we are. The whirlwind that was the last week has quieted. The hustle and bustle of planning funerals and burials and slide shows and viewings and having family and food greet you at the door is done. The obituary and the newspapers have all been recycled and tossed aside. I go back to work and back to life. Only a life without dad.
I thought that I would be okay. And I guess I probably am. I just feel stuck. The whole world is moving on. Time marches forward. But I am stuck. I feel numb and empty and completely blank. I am not sad. I am nothing. It feels so wrong to keep going. It’s only reverent to pause and reflect. But, I have kids to rear and birthdays to celebrate. So I put on my best mom face. I am a professional at smiling when I am dying inside. Only today it seems so much harder to shove all the emotions into a box and put on a pretty face.
The tasks of the living in the aftermath of death are many. The spiritual, reconciling with God and life. The psychological, the grieving and soul searching and time for reflection. The cognitive dissonance that arises when the practical conflicts with the imaginative. And then the mundane tasks…the financial, the paperwork, the computer accounts, the cleaning up, and the busy work.
As I sit here, and pour the bottles and bottles of pills into a white paper bag, I remember how hard dad fought. The hundreds of pills and chemicals he poured into his body to wage a war that was doomed from the start, but he fought the battle proudly even though defeat was inevitable. And as I hospice nurse, I’ve disposed of so many medications before. I never really tied the act to any significance. But as a daughter, I feel like I am pouring his little leftover scraps of vitality down the drain, one colorful morsel at a time. And here we are. The end of a life. And all that remains are memories and paperwork and possessions and so many tiny pills.