My father had the bad manners to die 19 years ago today. For those of you who have gone through a holiday death, I feel ya, big time. For those of you who haven't, let me just say that it forever colors your experience of that holiday. ForEVER. If you ever have a choice in the matter, please don't die on an important day. It's hellaciously more painful for those who are here after you're gone.
Last year was the first time I slept through the night. It amazed me. Tonight? I'm obviously not that lucky. It's amazing how memories flood back at the least opportune moments. And then there are the mental images, and this year--olfactory hallucinations. How lucky am I, huh? It would be better if the memories were of good things. But today? Just of the day he died--where just about the only "good" memory I have has to do with some alcohol-induced momentary raucousness that occurred after we'd left the hospital. Irreverent and inappropriate as it was, it's the only memory I have of that time that makes me smile.
In some ways, I wish that Christmas Eve were a day full of friends, family, and especially noisy kids I love who couldn't help but absolutely call my attention elsewhere just by their being. But it's not. It's a quiet day usually spent alone because everyone is either working, traveling, or getting themselves ready for Christmas in whatever ways they do.
And so the memories come as if to keep me company. They don't seem to know that there really are times when I'd prefer to be alone.