My Dad has been dead for three years now, and there are weird little moments when I realize it more than others. I didn’t get a chance to attend his funeral, because at the time, I was in the hospital having a series of major abdominal surgeries and couldn’t fly. It was a hard time to go through for a lot of reasons. Now, grief is hard because I guess, in a way I feel like I never really got closure the way a lot of people who get to attend funerals do. On the one hand, if I had gone to his funeral, it might have been really terrible because my family would have been difficult to deal with- (they’re not really good people, and they were really unkind to my Dad the entire time he was sick. I don’t know if hearing the awful things they would have said about him would have made my grieving any easier, to be honest.)
Grief, as anyone who has ever experienced it firsthand can tell you, is very personal- and it goes on its own timeline. You don’t really wake up feeling “better” or over whatever you’re grieving. Such has been with my Dad. One thing in particular that has made grieving a little bit easier is that I have lived away from where he lived for a while. So basically my brain still thinks that my Dad isn’t gone sometimes. Things aren’t.. Different? In my day to day yet? I think when I get back to Massachusetts and see that my Dad isn’t there that I might feel a lot different. I sometimes worry that it will kind of hit me all at once. “My Dad isn’t here. I am here, and he is not.”
I was sitting on the floor packing today. Sometimes people tell me that my move is taking me forever. It might feel that way to you (well, not you specifically, but “you” the reader. But, we only actually announced that we were moving and therefore going to be cutting down on how much content we were creating back in February, which is six months. I know that six months feels like a long time, and for us it feels like a long time too- but in the grand scheme of things, with one adult on a feeding tube and seriously ill, plus a house that we need to pack up and sell in order to move- it’s really not that long. I also realize that a lot of people just don’t even realize what’s involved in buying and selling a house, but if you’re selling your house it’s a lot more of a process than just packing your stuff and moving into a new apartment.
On top of that, we have other considerations. Master Pravus has a full-time job, so we can’t pack things while he is working. Then of course I’m still really sick so I’m trying to get to doctor’s appointments during the day to stabilize conditions while we move, and in the middle of all of that- figuring out the best way to transport Dongalor because a lot of places won’t fly pets due to COVID-19. It’s a lot to do and a lot to think about.
The painters are coming in a couple of days and one thing that we need to get done by that time is to basically have the house staging-ready by then, and that will include having the closets empty so they can paint in there. In the meanwhile, the luggage has been pulled out and I’m doing the tedious work of rolling my clothes to make them fit. A job that I never excelled at, but one of the last things that we need to do before we actually show the house. Showing the house will be the final thing before we can finally relax a bit and then it should be downhill until we actually pass papers on the house. The “Easy” part.
As I knelt there on the ground, I was thinking back to my childhood. My Dad was a Scoutmaster. A lot of people in the community looked up to him, and he was very good at camping, hiking, backpacking skills. He was the type of guy who would literally be excited that he got his backpack down another .001 and he had to tell everyone about it! I, unfortunately, didn’t really inherit any of those skills.
As I was trying to roll up my asymmetrical skirts and tattered fairy rags, I remembered my Dad showing me how to roll up a sleeping bag for the first time.
“Look how small I got it!” he told me, and he had that familiar cheerful eye-smile.
“How did you do that?!”
“…Line up the corners…”
And he was patient the first time, showing me how. I did a pretty okay job. Not an amazing job. Not a great job. Just an okay one.
“How do you get yours so tight and compact?”
“Practice! You have to really squeeze the air out..”
“It’s talent,” I would scowl under my breath. And I would want to give up because I knew I didn’t have that. I was ordinary and didn’t really excel at things like my siblings. They always seemed to get it on the first try.
My Dad would always give me the same talk when I got frustrated. He would say:
“How do you think people get talented?”
“That’s not how it works, Dad!” (Why did Dads always have to be so annoying!)
“How do you think they get talented?” he would stubbornly insist, every time I was frustrated with something difficult.
“They’re just. Born good at stuff!” I would always say, exasperated.
“No.” He would be very deliberate with his words. “It doesn’t work that way. Everyone you see who excels at anything worked hard for it. When I started out folding sleeping bags, they looked even worse than yours. I practiced and look at my sleeping bags now.”
I didn’t believe him. It was easy to think that my Dad would say things like that to try to encourage his child, but I would sigh and try to go about fixing the sleeping bag.
As I was sitting at home working on my luggage, it occurred to me that if my father were here he’d probably have a ball figuring out how exactly to fold up the things in the luggage. I know to a lot of people, that might seem weird. Not really to my Dad. We were close and he knew I did fetish modeling when he was alive. He would sometimes see something that was PVC or Vinyl and buy it for me thinking it would be really nice for my shows. (Not that he ever saw what I did. More that he just saw a piece of clothing and thought “Faete will like this”.) He would literally buy me velvet dresses or fancy heels and things because he thought that they would be great for a gig. That was just my Dad. He would probably see a onesie or a marabou thing in my luggage and not think anything of it at all. I don’t mean I’d even ask for help with actual lingerie, but if he saw things in my luggage not folded right, he’d have no problem, and see it as fun to go fix it.
There were many times when I was going away on vacation and I would be folding my funky shaped clothing up in frustrated fashion and then I would dash out the door to get to work thinking I would finish it when I got home, only to find that my father had finished it when I got home that night.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I just thought I would see if I could finish packing your luggage. There’s room for a lot more in there if you want!”
My heart. <3
He just knew I didn’t excel at luggage packing, even though I haven’t given up on it. I’m definitely never giving up on it. It’s just that, as I sat there rolling it all and putting it away, I missed my Dad’s eternal joy for preparing his backpack and somehow finding ways to fit more in.
Oh, Dad. I miss you so much! I know that you won’t be showing up to fix my luggage this time, though. <3