So, yesterday was the anniversary of my dad’s passing. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year, but I suppose grief has a way of messing with your understanding of time.
A year ago I had just finished the first complete draft of a book of vampire smut I was intending to publish, and was just entering the publishing stage of a book of poetry that was five years in the making.
I hadn’t seen my dad for a month when I’d gotten the call he was going to the hospital, of his own volition. I was in the middle of trying to get Wizards101, the only MMO I’ve ever truly loved, working on the laptop I had at the time. I had gotten through the character creation screen just fine, and had gotten to the moment where it would crash my entire system, when my phone rang.
Mom was at work, and let me know that Dad had called 911 for himself, and was waiting for the ambulance.
Months before that, Dad had laughed when his telehealth doctor had told him to call 911 for himself. He’d waited patiently for someone to be able to drive him, because he didn’t take the doctor seriously.
Mom telling me that my dad had called 911 on his own, without being told to? That was an immediate red flag. Something was very, very wrong.
While I spoke to her I watched the loading indicator of my game spin around, and around, and around. I knew when I heard my phone ring it was never going to stop loading, but I didn’t have the brainpower to stop it. Mom was an hour drive away, and I was a six hour drive away. “Do you think I should come down?” I asked, helplessly knowing my car had just been in the shop, and there was no money to put gas in it anyway.
“That’s up to you.” She said, audibly running around on the other side of the line, gathering things to leave work.
She doesn’t have answers, and neither do I. I had flown to visit just last month under similar concern, and it had nearly bankrupted us. It felt horrible, thinking about money at a time like that, but our apartment was dingy, full of mold, and expensive. Not only that, but the car we’d bought in early 2020 kept breaking down, and we were so underwater on the loan that there was nothing we could do about it.
Mom hung up to start driving, and I hard-rebooted my laptop. I wanted to start driving right then, go hug my dad, but that would be losing partners’ hours at work since I’d be taking the one car, it would be putting the gas on the credit card, it would be adding to the pile of debt that was crushing us, and risking eviction. We talked about a plane ticket, but then I wouldn’t have gotten there till the next day, and considering what my worry was, it didn’t feel helpful.
Instead I cried, and clung to my phone, hoping for good news. I don’t really remember the rest of the night, I know I watched Monsters University to try and distract myself, and I know I was woken up at four in the morning by the call.
I know that Peter and I cleaned his bedroom while we processed it, locating the source of our ant problem in a sort of dissociative state. What do you do when your dad just died? Hollywood shows grief as a continuous line of sad which gets progressively better with time. But, even that first day, we couldn’t physically process it every minute. We probably looked insane, laughing manically in a Walmart because it was six in the morning and…wandering around Walmart seemed like the thing to do.
I think I bought a plant?
If I did, I don’t know where it is or what happened to it. Sorry buddy.
The donations from this site afterwards paid for the move back to Pennsylvania, something we’d been already planning on doing, but were struggling to afford.
I was entirely wheelchair bound, and after the six hour drive to PA the next day, ended up bedridden. The motion of the car and sitting in the position I had to caused a flare-up that sent me to the emergency room twice, and both times I was told they couldn’t help me.
So, it’s been a year, with some good, some bad, and ALL ‘my Dad is gone and there’s nothing I can do about it.’
I haven’t touched Wizards101 since. I can’t stomach it, despite the fact that this computer would point and laugh at it’s processing needs. Hell, this thing could probably run Wizards 101, Minecraft, and the Sims 4 all at once and still be good for more.
I haven’t worked on either of my books at all, I don’t even know what to do with them, they were my pride and joy a year ago, but it’s oddly hard to work on things pre-the 15th of June 2022.
I haven’t touched my wheelchair in almost six months now. My rehab doctor was so excited to find out that she came to see me when I was in a different appointment in the same building just to give me a high five. I walked 20,000 steps in one day recently, although it looks like I’ll never be free of the limp I evolved during the last two years. Something about a tendon in my ankle being too tight, but surgery might be an option if I ever decide to go that route.
I miss my dad.
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