Haven't written in so long... since September, I see. During a typical December, I'm a very productive Kim. This year, I got Very Little Shit accomplished, and even less that was NOT shit. Maybe this will kick-start the process.
Here's the thing: since the beginning of December, I felt dragged down, like all of my energy and drive was being sucked from me. I wrote about it on December 6 on Facebook. Here's what I said:
Dad died the following week.
While he had been very sick for a very long time, no one could have predicted the manner of his actual passing, or the time. This was one of those things where Dad had begun the slow, excruciatingly painful and undignified, wicked death that the doctors told him about, and God decided the man had suffered enough and sent a random metaphorical medical left-fielder to make sure it didn't happen the way any of us expected.
I was there when he died. It was very ugly.
So, here's what I'm getting to: pop bottle moments.
I explained it a few times this way and it makes sense: I'm feeling rather like a bottle full of soda (I don't actually call it "pop" -- that's an up-North thing, and I'm a Southern girl, but "pop-bottle moment" sounds better than does the alternate). That bottle gets shaken up unexpectedly, and by the damndest things. Suddenly, I'm agitated and exploding out in these great gushes of ouch, and the crying goes from a teary-eyed weeping to these animal wails that just take over and leave me gulping for air.
I'm crying for Dad. I'm crying because of Dad. I'm crying for hurts he caused and for hurts he suffered and for things we will never know because, well, we'll never have the chance. I'm crying because my kids never got to have another Christmas with him. I'm crying because I'll never have another Christmas with him.
The faith I have in heaven is being tested in profound ways. My religion teaches that we aren't just assumed into heaven for good behavior or time served. It's more complicated than that if you're Catholic. I can't deal with the thought that he won't be Dad again even if I do see him, that the person he was will never exist again.
He never got to say goodbye to me. That's the way he died; he was awake, aware, but couldn't talk. He could not move. He couldn't squeeze my hand. He couldn't blink his eyes. He could feel and hear. But he couldn't tell me, "Kim, you were a great Mom and I love you and want you to know that." He couldn't say, "I'm sorry about this. Christmas won't ever be the same again." He couldn't apologize for things that happened. He couldn't not apologize, either, as a choice. Or maybe he tried. I will never know. When the time comes that I can ask him these things, they will no longer matter. So I'm left with what I've got.
I didn't have time to make things right. I didn't have time to tell him it doesn't matter. I didn't have time to figure out whether either of those is true.
Now I have lots of time, but can't think about it. Pop bottle moments happen and wash out every rational thought with a flood of feeling.
And I'm still unable to write. It's as though my ability to make sense of anything that doesn't have to do with my own pain and confusion has been dulled by December.
There's an irony there, a sick poetry to it.
Pop bottle moments may subside when the vessel runs out of juice. Frankly, I'm astounded that I ever had that much in there to begin with.