This is the pile that’s been sitting on my desk for quite some time, of stuff that I’ve brought back and forth to Israel – where I spent the months of April, May, June, July and August – helping my family while Dad went through his pretty sudden deterioration culminating in his passing away in July. (Oh Audrey, just say it like it is – I died – I hear his voice in my head.) The image of him in his coffin still sticks in my head like an infestation of silverfish.
I look at this pile, which seems actually a little tidier than I remember it – no thanks to me – there must be someone in my house – my husband or our cleaner – pushing it gently into a neater pile, hoping I won’t notice, and while I appreciate the thought behind the action, there’s something in me that loves or needs this mess.
How did I not realize, living blissfully in denial, that every single person I know is going through this? Dealing with ageing parents, with children who have left home but still need us, visiting our families frequently – sometimes in different parts of the world, so we have to travel by plane, or train, or bus or tram to see them, or zoom, good ol’ faithful zoom, or a whatsapp video except she can’t hear me, my mom, when I call via whatsapp, so she puts her ear to the phone and that defeats the purpose of a video call, right? Then there’s our partners who wouldn’t mind some quality time with us, our limping cat who won’t let me cut her nails, and we are sometimes exhausted and other times energized to start or finish new projects; we are still working – and that keeps us busy, plus gives us a sense of purpose and we enjoy our work although we hardly have time to fit it in, between all the other obligations, then there’s the vegan lifestyle we’ve adopted so cooking and prep work take up a good part of the day as well.
But those are not the only reasons I don’t sort out this pile of stuff. It’s the light blue “Hodaat Ptera” – notification of death – the official paper from the Ministry of Interior in Israel that is peeping out in the middle of the file. Where do I file this piece of paper? Is it even mine to file? (Dad, where should I file this paper that defines the end of your life?)
How can this thin A4 fit anywhere in my filing cabinet? (Print it out on letter size, dad says, then it will fit in my plastic binders, but I don’t use letter size paper in my printer, dad, I explain, and he looks exasperated. The only reason he doesn’t yell at me is because he’s dead now, and dead people don’t raise their voices, or at least, not as much). My dad was a force of nature, 6 feet tall before he started walking with his head stooped over. He wasn’t a slender man either. The funeral director actually fell backwards when helping getting the coffin off the gurney and over the grave. He had piercing hazel eyes, like my own, and my sisters, a brain that constantly challenged, investigated and analyzed whatever it came across.
5 thoughts on “This is the pile of memories…”
“The only reason he doesn’t yell at me is because he’s dead now, and dead people don’t raise their voices, or at least, not as much).”
I also note the Terry Pratchett in the pile. May we age like Granny Weatherwax, both keen and kind.
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You are healthier than i am as you write these “brain sensations” down for all to see and relate to!
Maybe we are twins separated at birth(?) as I have an identical pile on my desk!
Rabbi David Wolpe says ” Death is the end of life but NOT the end of the relationship. ”
Your dad עליו השלום is still with you as you have now demonstrated to all of us!
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Thank you, my twin! I was thinking of attacking the pile one item at a time and writing something short about it?? What do you think?
And – why am I healthier than you? We all deal with our chaos/ grief/ memories in different ways… not one way is better than the other xxxx