The call came Monday morning - Mom called me on my cell phone at work, prefacing her statement by saying, "Are you driving?"
No - then Mom told me Dad passed away. My social worker looked at me and mouthed, "Is Dad gone?"
"He's gone" I silently mouthed back as Mom spoke.
It was then a blur - calling my supervisor and asking him for time off; contacting my uncle (my father's youngest brother) to inform him as only a super-macho guy like me could. Amending my Labor Day plane tickets to come and leave earlier. (I had planned to spend close to a week upon hearing of my dad's death; however, I realized that I would go insane after a certain point, so I amended it to give myself a day off to recover). Finishing off projects, packing like a madman, making arrangements for the cat....and getting to Chicago was non-stop, the only break occurring when my toiletries were confiscated for security reasons. (Yes, I know, I'm dangerous with shaving cream). As the plane laned and I went to retrieve my bag, I met my cousin at Midway Airport, selecting Dad's clothes, finalizing financial arrangements.
It wasn't until 1:45 pm yesterday - when Mom and I first saw Dad, laying in his casket - that we both broke down and cried.
Wakes and funerals are always tough, but especially so when it's a direct parent. Several people throughout the course of the evening kept asking me when I would "move back to Chicago...your mom needs you." I fought the urge, despite my better wishes, to yell at them, "Back off, I've just lost my father - give me some frickin' room and leave me the hell alone."
Or words to that effect.
Today's the funeral, and I've had to find solace in small measures - Joy Division's Closer (some read it as a suicide note; I see it as gradual acceptance of a tough situation); the "Father's Day" episode of Doctor Who (which I had to tell my cousin to let me watch, because he insisted on having a conversation).
I'm a little frazzled, but OK. Lots to do, a possible decision to make...but things will work out. They always do.