- it’s weird telling everyone. I don’t know how to segue a conversation towards that level of intensity. Especially if it comes up out of nowhere. I want to manage my friends' reactions; I want to say “ok, bomb coming, please don’t overreact.”
- I understand everyone is different; in my case, it is helpful if you are pretty matter-of-fact, like “ok, that happened.” you don’t even really have to say you’re sorry; I know you are; as we are all sorry about death of really anyone. (it doesn’t bother me if you do say you’re sorry though.)
- I feel conflicted about pointing this out (because it’s ok!), but there’s a script: “I’m so sorry” followed by “if there’s anything I can do”. This is ok! It’s ok if your response follows this script. Still, it’s curious how we universally culturally settled on this.
- ha ha ha wow, any reactions I had in the past were woefully inadequate (sometimes to acquaintances I didn’t know that well so The Script was fine, sometimes I am wishing I said/did much more, more proactively.)
- I’ve discovered the limits of my extroversion: 5 hours at a wake greeting everyone who knew my dad, followed by a funeral and lunch the next day. I feel physically ill
- hard for me not to mask a lot this week! (see previous point.) I would probably do things differently if I were planning a funeral (but I might be wrong)
- Grief World is a weird place. so far it feels like dark matter eating up my capacity. like, an average day you start off at 0 stress, pile on stressors throughout the day as they come up, remove stressors as they go away, and maybe end up at 50 on a good day, 90 on a bad one. Going over 100 means you lose your temper. These days, I’m mysteriously starting at 40. Not because of a stressor, just, I’m a little worse at everything.
- relatedly: my emotions haven’t been “sad” or denial/anger/bargaining/etc, they’ve just been volatile.
Here’s what I’m thinking of, about my dad, and what I said at the funeral and therefore feel comfortable sharing ~publicly:
“Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.” - Reinhold Niebuhr, more or less. My dad was good at “courage to change what must be altered” but even better at “serenity to accept what cannot be helped.”
“Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy” - Cat Stevens, and my dad. How?! (I assume the “old” helps the “happy”, and especially looking back at a life that you feel pretty satisfied with. Still. He had it harder in basically every way than I do.)
There’s much more that I don’t feel like sharing ~publicly. He was a wonderful man and dad.
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