Loss

A week into my “Dad’s dying” visit home, my iPhone decided to stop working. Mom and I took it to the Apple Store, but they couldn’t make it work either. I had fortunately copied all the pictures off it earlier in the week, but that meant, since I don’t use iCloud for photos, that particular week’s pictures were unsalvageable.

I can’t remember if I had taken any pictures of Dad that week.

The next week, he died.

I took some pictures with my replacement phone, and those were saved. But when I finally got home and restored my phone from backup, I lost everything else I’d done during that time. Actually, I lost everything since December, since that was the last time I’d backed up the phone. No pictures, but notes I’d written. Text messages.

I keep thinking about how the last text messages with my brother Ben had been “You need to come to the hospital.” And how there were other texts, evidence of my trip to New York in January. And diary-type stuff I wrote in notes, gone forever.

You’d think I’d be used to losing things by now.

fucking

why did he die?

life was just happening like normal

and then suddenly it’s like

okay your dad’s dying

okay your dad’s dead

(you watched him die)

seeing a picture of a backyard, not even your backyard but close enough, makes you want to cry

mother’s day makes you want to cry

you think about father’s day coming up and making some sort of happy father’s day post with a picture of his cremains because that’s all that’s left, right? that’s funny, right?

all these plans, all these what-ifs, they weren’t supposed to be needed so soon

mom planning to move

no more backyard, no more basement, no more house

it’s all gone anyway, everything’s gone, everything’s changed

you said things you can’t take back and ruined it all

you want to erase this entire year, almost

no, you do, you want to erase it all, even the good stuff, because it’s overwhelmed by all the bad stuff

you’re so selfish

and everything’s about you anyway isn’t it

everything that happens to anyone else, you make it about you

specifically, about how you are Wrong and Different and a Failure

how you don’t fit in and never will

how you should disappear

but it’s not even about you, it’s about them, even when you’re hating yourself you’re fucking self-centered

and you think about how you are when you drive

and how arrogant you are with other things

and how you’ve been blaming it on inheritance, but it’s yours, those are you, you’re the one doing them

every day you choose to be pathetic.

Alone

I’m sitting in silence, the most complete a silence can get in this apartment—only the soft hum of the refrigerator and the whir of laptop and file server fans and the clacking sound of my own typing breaking the stillness. It’s so still, so quiet.

I’m alone.

On Skype, Sean’s status is green for online, and so is Kathryn’s. They’re here, but not really. Sean is at William’s, and Kathryn is hundreds of miles away from me, where she always is. Earlier I typed at length into Sean’s window about a story idea I am working on, but he didn’t respond. He and William are likely in a game. Kathryn is quiet, but available: she spoke first, and we spent some happy moments imagining what we might do if we were actually in the same room. I would like to watch The Last Unicorn with her. It’s been on my mind lately, and all weekend I’ve been listening to the soundtrack, and tonight I browsed screen captures and quotations and fan art and was brought nearly to tears several times.

Today was aimless; I did laundry and read and fed myself. I had planned to read Bloodline, the new Star Wars novel, but instead I read fan fiction. Both times I ventured out for food, the day was bright and beautiful, the sun blinding and the trees vividly green. The air was warm but not hot and there was a cool breeze and it was perfect. When I got home the first time I opened all the blinds and saw that our patio bistro set is completely coated in pollen.

I’ve been opening two of the blinds in the sunroom every day, for the peace lily. I just searched Google for “funeral flowers” because I couldn’t remember what it was called, and I scrolled past dozens of arrangements that were so obviously meant to stand near or on a casket, and then I started seeing names spelled out in flowers: Lee, Granma, Mum. So many Mums. And finally, Dad.

The peace lily was given to us for Dad’s memorial. We received several beautiful arrangements and plants. When I first came home, after he died, after the memorial, I didn’t bring any of them with me. I was sure I would kill it. But I soon went back to Kentucky because I wasn’t okay, and I stayed a little while longer, and when I came home again I brought the peace lily too. It’s big, and it looks good on my dining table in the sunroom.

There’s so little stability now. But I can take care of this plant, at least. Right now, it’s just me and it.