Sunday, October 10, 2010

100 (Some Odd) Days

September 20 marked 100 days since my dad died. I'm not sure where this tradition of marking 100 days came from, but I think the Asians got something figured out. As 100 days approached, I seemed to feel sadder for no reason at all. Nothing sparked the sadness, I just felt extra sad. Maybe it had to do with facing up to the reality of having to go back home, but my mom said she was felt the same way, a compounded sadness. Up until 100 days, I, on average, had been coping and functioning pretty well. But as day 100 approached, I felt more melancholy. Things reminded me more of him. I thought more about him. I was frozen with sadness more frequently through the day.

I believe in God, Jesus, heaven, judgment day, all of it. I also believe in ghosts and spirits, but I don't know, like, the mechanics of it all. I heard one theory that, based upon a reading of the bible, everyone just goes to a sort of nothing place until judgment day, and everyone who has lived and died since the start of time rises at the same time. That's a lot of people. But anyway, that's one theory. But there doesn't seem to be room for ghosts of dead relatives in that theory.

The strangest thing happened to me a few weeks after my dad died. I was so torn up because I hadn't talked to him in so long. And the last time I was home, he was not. He was in China. I tried to call him, but I just couldn't get through. I tried and tried and tried for 30 minutes. I knew he was sick, and I wanted to talk to him, but I just couldn't reach him. I remember thinking to myself, well, it's Dad. He'll be ok. But he wasn't. He died about 24 hours after he landed back in the US. And I hadn't spoken to him, much less seen him, in far too many months. Yes, that's right. Months.

Guilt gnawed at me. I was inconsolable. Then, one night, I had this dream. I dreamed that my dad came back for one last day, to say things he needed to say, and to sort out things that needed sorted. Whatever they were, they were not known to me in my dream. But in my dream, I ran up to him like a guilty child running up to confess that she did something bad, and blurted out, in Mandarin, that I was so sorry I didn't call him more. And he said, it's ok. And then I woke up sobbing. It was so real. And I think it was. I woke up that morning feeling more ok than I had been since I first heard the news.

I spent a week at home after my dad died. It was a hard week, but it was where I needed to be. While I was home, I took care of a lot of business. One of the things I had to do was cancel my dad's health insurance. My parents pay/paid a lot of money for insurance. And my dad used a lot of it. I told my mom that in order to cancel the insurance, I needed to see the insurance cards. She couldn't find them, and had no idea where they were. Then one morning, she showed up with them. She told me that she was laying in bed that morning and was talking to my father and asked him to show her where they were. As she was laying there, she heard something fall off of the tv. (Aside: this tv is straight out of 1978, and essentially is a huge wooden box with wheels. It stopped working long ago and my parents have used it as a shelf for at least 20 years.) She went over to inspect, and my dad's insurance cards had fallen off onto the floor. Just the insurance cards.

Maybe it was my dad. Maybe it was God comforting my mom. I don't know, but it was powerful.

I still get sad every now and then. I'm sad right now just writing about this and thinking about him. I'll be sad if I ever have a wedding day. I was really sad watching that episode of Friday Night Lights when Matt Saracen had to deal with his father dying in Iraq. But, the things I'm feeling and will feel are the same feelings millions of other people have felt all through history and for years to come. Maybe this should make me feel pathetic, but, really, it makes me feel...human.

Stopping and writing about my feelings just overwhelms me with emotion, and that's probably one of the reasons why I don't blog much anymore. That, and the fact that I'm at work like 14 hours a day and don't even come close to daring to post from work. But, I miss it, and I'm going to try to do it more.

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