Yesterday was a tough day. April 21 is the day my dad was born back in 1940. He would have been 78 yesterday. This post came up on my FB memories yesterday from 2016:
6 years ago, my mom, dad, sister, her kid & her husband met up in Las Vegas to celebrate my dad’s 70th birthday. It was a fun time! The next year, he told us he was going to need dialysis. The next year, he survived a rough surgery for other complications. Since then he’s been plugging along, with help from my mom, grateful for every day. I love you, Alonzo Wann, so very much! Happy birthday!!
I read that yesterday and realized that I was lucky that I feel like we truly did feel grateful for nearly every day, knowing that, since the surgery, we were really on borrowed time.
My sister wrote a lovely blog post about the day. I commented on it, and that’s one aspect of what I thought about yesterday. But there was other things. I went to acupuncture which can be a magical healing place. I was feeling very vulnerable when I arrived. Having just received a photo my mom sent of a candle lit and a rose placed next to his ashes which are in the room where he died. It’s not a morbid thing. My mom, at first, didn’t think she wanted the ashes in the house. But after we got them and put them there, it felt right, at least for now. And there is no residual spirit, which I feel is a good thing. I think saging the room helped with that. Before that, when I was having breakfast, I shared the birthday poem I wrote for him with my work colleagues as part of my poem-a-day project during National Poetry Month. In the poem, I reference that he is ‘alive and a year older.’ I was sure I would be able to rewrite the line so it was accurate, but I couldn’t do it yet. I cried in my little French cafe. So I was pretty low when I got on the table for my acupuncture session.
Shortly after she’d left the room with my pins intact, my eyes closed, memories just came flooding through me. I don’t know if it was the pin placement or my state of mind or a combination of both, but the tears came. And I was noisy. She came back in and replaced the pins on my right arm with little tabs (here’s one that’s still on my arm) and gave me Kleenex so that I could cry, blow my nose, whatever without having to disturb the pins.
I was definitely not relaxed and had trouble calming my mind. I wasn’t anxious or anything, just thinking and remembering, crying and thinking of him. I think I was able to calm a little bit here and there. I really enjoyed when she came in and did some massage work on my head, hands, and legs. After that, I was better but a little spacey and still a bit sad. There were errands I wanted to run, and I did, but I was not really feeling it. I decided to go home and try to do some work and online shopping. I did that for a bit then it was time for a poetry thing happening at the library, which is literally 2 minutes walk from my apartment so I didn’t feel I had an excuse not to go. I didn’t take much effort in my appearance, which made me feel a little worse, but at the same time, I also didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. I was glad I went because I saw a lot of people “in the scene” that I’ve known for a long time, and a couple with whom I have a couple things brewing so it was good. Plus I started a new poem. After that, I got in my car and went directly to an art reception for a friend which was good. I still felt very frumpy but I persevered. I saw some friends and hung out for a bit, but then I ghosted (or as I learned from my friend, I absquatulated (look it up!)). I went home and ordered a pizza and never quite over my funk. I binge-watched episodes of “New Girl” and went to bed around 10 pm.
I feel like maybe I missed an opportunity to truly honor my dad on his birthday, and I’ll have to live with that. I think thinking about him almost constantly all day was a pretty good way to pay tribute though.
And then last night, I had my first dream about him since he died. All I really remember about it though is that he was going to sleep and I had to help him with his CPAP machine. In real life, he did not use a CPAP machine (but I do). I remember in the dream that I helped him with it much like I helped him with his oxygen during the hospice bubble. In the dream, he was peaceful, and thankful for my help. I’ll take that as a good sign.