I don’t know if it was the pain in her face, or the crying man outside that solidified the atmosphere, but I do know it was the phone call that told me it’s name.
It was about 10 minutes earlier and the word was a shock. “He passed,” she said and the word just made me jump. Like a slap to the face, or a punch to the stomach.
After I walked in, we started talking, and the older dog knew something was up. She knew and needed reassurance. I couldn’t be petting her enough. I couldn’t be paying her enough attention. She’s normally not that needy and she gave me even more insight into how the whole house was reacting.
It wasn’t good and I had to help. My self-pity and depression became luxuries that I couldn’t afford to keep. My worries and fears became childish in front of this real pain.
The dinner was opposite. It was a different group of people and it seemed like a different world. Lighthearted, not ecstatic, but carefree and untroubled. It was hard. It was cold. It was calloused. It was absolutely normal and perfectly fine. I was the one who needed to change, I was the one who was being insensitive and cold and calloused.
I needed to rejoice with those who were rejoicing. Mourning was not here, pain was not here. It’s not mine to share, it’s not even mine to fix.
It was almost harder the the house. At the house I knew how to act. I knew how to be strong, how to be there, when not to be there. I knew that sometimes I needed to just let them work though it themselves. Sometimes I needed to bring some sunshine in – not to much – but just enough to remind them that the pain will pass. And here, well, I just couldn’t. I was tired. I had to leave. I was not ready to make the switch. I’ve been working on mourning and sadly I wasn’t up to celebrating.
I couldn’t. It’s been something that I’ve been hearing and trying to put in practice all year and I couldn’t.