As many people in my office have been discussing Thanksgiving plans, I feel grateful that more people have not asked me about mine. Even if Thanksgiving was a holiday I enjoyed, this year would still be different. It’s our first year without Dad.
But I never much cared for Thanksgiving, which I associate with a day’s worth of work for food I don’t much favor and a feeling of displacement that only deepened once I learned about colonization. I can’t adequately describe these things to acquaintances, and feel as if I am letting down the listener even when I just smile and say that I’m not doing anything.
This year something that feels like a flu, a new job, about 700 miles, and the after effects of life without Dad have combined to make it so that I am simply too tired to care about a holiday I never felt comfortable with. I am very glad that no one has offered to host us so that I am spared the impoliteness of refusal.
You could even say that I’m grateful.
But of the many things I have and am grateful for, that would be nearly insignificant.
It was raining. Even though it didn’t feel as if it was raining, it clearly was. It felt more like crying–sporadic, medium-sized drops that were so numerous they’d become more than a careless outburst or a wind-burnt leak. A few drops accompanied by a few more until rain began to happen all around, but not touching, me. Or maybe that was me feeling those feelings. Maybe I’d feel like this no matter the weather.
When I spoke to Mom she gave the impression that things were getting easier for her. By and large time was helping. I was relieved to hear this for her. Things are different for me. I feel as if I am steadily moving backwards, but I am certain it’s not finite because it feels like a great coiling. Or maybe it’s an uncoiling. Either way, I have faith I will be returned to the center no matter how it has moved.
When I boarded the bus yesterday it was in a different place. The stop had moved a block down. As I sat on the bus, hurtling down the same bridge towards the place I call home, I wondered if I would actually end up there. Would this new route deposit me somewhere else? And if so, who would I be once I got there?
At times I feel as if I am very far away from the people I’m around. When we talk, I have to make my voice extra loud so it can pierce the awkwardness that shrouds me. During those times when I don’t have the energy or inclination to make myself heard, I say nothing.
But even nothing makes me tired.
So I do as much as I can each day, and even on days where as much as I can is next to nothing, I’m grateful for this chance.
C says he’s seen me cry more in the past month than I have in the past year. I express genuine puzzlement, because I feel better than I ever have before.
It’s just that sometimes I have these jabs of loss, like I’m waking up from a dream where everyone I know is still alive.
He says that it’s probably because things are good that I’m feeling this way now. Now that I no longer have to protect myself, I can feel. He describes my former state as icy, and I must admit that at times I do feel as if I am melting.
I’ve been at the new job for just over a month, and I’ve learned so much.
For example, I’ve learned about the kind ways that commuters look out for each other. A request that the driver open to back door of a bus for one person can travel through multiple mouths until the message is received, and a message from the driver can travel back just as quickly. I learned that a contents of a split backpack can be scooped up and restored to the owner in seconds when three people jump to help. And even though it’s been just over a month, I feel at home where I am and where the bus takes me. This is a byproduct of privilege as surely as the cheap rent in the walk-up in which I reside.
I’ve also learned how Seattle looks in the morning when the sun is rising, and in the evening when it’s setting. I’ve witness gold-drenched buildings set in hot pink skies and I experience every morning and evening as a true gift.
These are some of the things I choose to focus on as I move through my day, and I feel rather happy in them.
I sense a great welling of things unsaid and unwritten in me. For whatever reason, they’re not coming out. But I am learning to be patient. I am learning to be okay.
Lately I have been trying not to speak unless I have something to say. It is possible that this undertaking has been yet another of my attempts to retain the best parts of Dad now that he’s not here to remind me. I came to respect how he would hold silence until he was ready.
Still, I think I might actually come across as dull. Much of the time this doesn’t perturb me, but sometimes I forget to not care what other people think.
So much of life is learning to be okay with the things around you. I suspect that the rest of life is learning what needs to change and how to change it, but I can’t say quite yet.