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State of the Author: Grieving

Ka5k%vsRR3KY13uREZ4EOwMy daddy and me. One of my friends says that me watching him at the typewriter explained a lot about me becoming an author.

I got home from Oregon yesterday afternoon. I talked to my husband, ate a sandwich, took a bath, and went to bed. I slept for 12 hours straight, and it was obviously much needed. I have been running on pure adrenaline for more than 10 days.

My brother, who is incarcerated, has been harassing my mother day and night by telephone. He is totally unconcerned about her feelings, about my dad’s passing, about my mom’s now-uncertain financial situation (my dad was a 100 percent disabled Vietnam-era vet, and had a good-sized pension as a result … and we have no idea what her income is going to look like until she has had benefits discussions with both the VA and Social Security). His only concern is demanding that my mom continue to make payments on two vehicles she cannot afford … because he feels that he is entitled to have them upon his release in seven years. (Suffice to say, this is the condensed version of the story … and that plans are afoot to sell both of said vehicles to help ease my mom’s financial burden). When the financial situation was explained to him, his only response was “You guys have to think about everything I’ve been through.”

Unbelievable. And people wonder why I don’t want anything to do with him. We finally had to stop answering the phone. I am not kidding.

Some of the stress came from my mom’s bishop sitting on his thumbs and not arranging things until so late that a) I told him off and b) we had missed all kinds of newspaper deadlines, etc. We were frantically calling people left and right … and many of them could not change their work schedules to attend on Thursday. There were about 30 people there all together, which was disappointing — but the people my mom wanted there the most were present.

When all was said and done, both the service and military honors were well-done. My mom held it together better than we thought she would, although we’re glad she got a prescription for something to help her sleep. My mom’s neighbor, a fellow in his early 30s, came to the service and was sitting next to me; he fell apart more than mom did, whispering to me that my dad had been like a grandfather to him. He often comes over and does yardwork … and refuses payment. He and the neighbor on the other side have both promised to help my mom out whenever she needs it, and her church lady friends are going to keep her busy going to lunch and whatnot.

My main concern is my brother harassing her. I’ve asked that she not go visit him until my cousin (who is a rather imposing guy) is back in town and can go with her.

I know this is rambling. I know it’s early days and that I’ll do better eventually. My grief counselor during The Year of Great Sadness told me that there is really only Time Before and Time After the loved one’s passing … and that Time After means figuring out how to live life around our grief. Right now, I don’t know how to live life with the Daddy-shaped hole in it.

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