Monday, June 4, 2012

Dinner for Three

Last night I made dinner for the future Mrs. and my mother. It was simple, nothing fancy, just dinner. They both came in and sat down at the table as I started to plate the meals. As I reached up to the cabinet my fingers found four plates. I had to stop and remind myself, not four, three. I pulled the three plates down and did the same for the silverware, three, not four.

Earlier in the day my mother gave me a card for my birthday. I had told her to save the stamp, to just bring it out when she stopped by to visit. It wasn’t the cost of the stamp I was concerned about, it was my reaction to the card. This would be the first card in which my father’s name wouldn’t be attached.

The card could have told me that I won a million dollars, or that I was adopted, or anything really, but none of it mattered. What mattered was me opening the card, which was extremely difficult to do. Inside there was just one name, Mom. I started to tremble a bit and she was up in an instant hugging me. That was just as difficult for her, maybe even more so, than it was for me. We stood in the kitchen crying together over our shared loss.

Dinner was quiet, just polite chit-chat. After the table was cleared and the trash was taken out, I made up an excuse to go and sit on the porch for a bit. It was warm in the house I said, and much cooler outside.

The house we bought is over 180 years old, but it’s new to us. We are still furnishing it, so my porch is bare save one of those folding chairs you can store in a little bag. It’s bright green, and looks out of place, but it’s comfortable. I plunked down to watch a storm move in and thought of how unprepared I was to lose my father.

It’s funny really. A friend and I often talk about the fact that schools really don’t prepare you properly for the real world. Sure, you learn calculus and history, which are important subjects, but it’s never about real world issues. There are no classes on how to deal with someone passing away. I only learned basic medical and CPR from taking a class I needed for one of my diving certificates. Hell, PE when I was younger was more about square dancing and dodge ball than proper exercise and nutrition. All important things you need to take initiative to learn but are needed by everyone. It’s a topic for another post I guess.

I went back inside and logged on to the blog. There aren’t many comments on here yet, but those of you who have posted provide support and understanding, which helps me out in these times. I can’t thank you guys enough.


  1. Porch sitting proves great for feeling feelings that we might rather not acknowledge elsewhere. In time good thoughts of Sam will turn up precisely when you need them most.

    The house is a great project you can channel your energy into, a constructive diversion from scrutinizing the grief too much. But there was so much humor, love & respect in your relationship with your dad..replaying that can be wonderful. ~Mary oxoxoxo

    1. I'll have to come and get you so you can do some porch sitting with me. I wouldn't want you to get lost leaving your home town there... :p

  2. There are so many things that school doesn't prepare you for, but then, I think of life as a school of sorts.

    I really wish that I had some kind of insight with which to share with you, some experience that I have had that would may shed some light and ease your anguish. But all I can think of is to paraphrase Tolstoy and leave to each his own their time of grief and how they morn. It is an experience that is different for us all.

    What I do envy is that you have someone to share that sense of loss with and another who is willing to walk with you during this time. That, I assure you, is invaluable. As difficult as it is for you, to go through this time alone is something I would not wish on even my starter wife.

    I like what Mary said about replaying the "fun" that your Dad brought to your life. For me, I only think of those who I miss during the good times and they actually make things better. I get to imagine them shaking their heads as I keep on bumbling forward, going on new adventures and coming back to share with them my triumph.

    No matter what you believe, you Dad knows of your joys and is with you. Both spiritually and literally (because once an atom comes into being, into being it remains as a part of the universe itself).

    Yup, Mary sucking down the icee (slush!) hit it on the head. Fix up the house and he will be there with you. For real, I believe, and not for play!! Enjoy that part of your relationship with him, and if I may be so bold, invite him in and talk with him awhile. The both of you may like that!!

    1. Mark, your insight thus far has been great and I appreciate what you have to say. I mean it when I say that you guys have been awesome in helping me get through this. I sent you an email letting you know this, but it might have gone to the junk box!

      Thanks again!

  3. Well, I have read the past four or so posts to catch up with your blog, and this one is the one that brought out my own tears. I can remember talking with one of my siblings, my husband, or my mother right after my Dad died, and hearing the catch in my voice, feeling the tightness in my throat. So I could put myself in your place when your mom handed you that card. It is so very hard, and you're never prepared.

  4. I'm glad you and your Mom are able to spend some time together, both of you need each other to lean on right now. I don't think there's a school that could ever prepare us for the passing of a loved one. I don't have a porch but sitting outside on the patio at night gazing at the moon and stars brings great comfort and peace to me and somehow makes me feel closer to my lost loved one's. I hope your porch sitting does the same for you.

  5. You seem to be working through things at a rather normal pace under the circumstances. I know it's hard. And your birthday coming so close to the tragic event has not helped. But the first year is the worst. I PROMISE you. The first Father's Day, the First Thanksgiving. The first Christmas. There's a rough road yet ahead but you seem to know that crying is a healer. So I'm not worried about you. Keep on with the keeping on, dude.