Grief is a strange beast. I’ve lost friends, some extended family, but this is different. This is in my body. This is coursing through my skin. It’s painful and… weird.
I never expected to react the way I did when I was told my mother died. I had been detached for almost 15 years. In the few times I thought about how I’d react, I always thought it wouldn’t phase me. I thought I’d be relieved. I thought it would be easier since sometimes I pretended she’d passed long ago just to not talk about her.
It didn’t work out that way.
My dad showed up. He got the phone call from the sheriff and flew overnight to get to me- two connecting flights. Obviously that’s strange, you know, having your dad show up unannounced at 10:30 in the morning while you’re brushing your teeth so I was shaking like a nervous chihuahua. He comes in, puts his stuff down, uses the restroom (all common things that follow getting to your destination after flying all night). I give him a short tour… I’m freaking out, but I’m keeping it cool. He suggests we talk on the porch outside because it’s such a lovely day out. I’m loosely thinking I’m going to be scolded.
We sit down and I can’t pretend to be fine anymore so I say “this is the nicest way I know how to say this, but did somebody die?”
His face tightens, as if turning almost into stone. He nods.
I then lean back and think to myself who would warrant him flying all this way at the drop of a hat just to tell me….. oh.
“Is it my mom?”
Tears now swell in his eyes. He nods, croaks out “yes”.
This is the moment. This is where I thought I wouldn’t flinch. And yet…
I wailed. I bawled. I felt like I was a toddler again, you know how when they cry it just seems to explode out of them. I couldn’t breathe I was crying so hard. Then it was shock. The day had waves of tears here and there. The more days that passed, the less frequent the waves.
It was weird.
And that was just the beginning.