These are the words I read from my mug trying to keep my shit together. “Today is a strong day” I repeat. Why is today so much harder than yesterday when I found out about it?
I log in at work hoping to find a shitstorm in my inbox. However, no such luck. Nothing. Nothing to distract my thoughts.
SteveO says “good morning” and I couldn’t. Not a single word. He made all this so much harder. You could cut the awkward silence/tension with a knife. I was still in shock so I didn’t notice it at the time.
I had another sip of my crappy coffee and noticed that I finished it.
“Today is a strong day” – Mr Strong.
Except……..that it isn’t.
Lets timetravel to yesterday.
I had a fairly good day and was on my way to London to dance some zouk. My battery was low, so I had my phone on flight mode.
I got to the dancing venue and for some reason turned my phone on normal mode
.. which is odd because the dancing venue/bar is underground and I had no signal there.
However a FB message made its way to my phone. It was from my brother.
He said he’s got some bad news for me. My father died.
A beginners salsa class was ending at that point as I read the message and you could hear the instructors giving pointers and summaries to the kids about what they learned today.
At the same time I completely froze.
And started shaking. Uncontrollably, but not visibly (maybe it was visible, I’m not sure). An inner tremor of sorts.
The music switched to a zouk beat. I was glad it was dark and nobody saw me… or maybe I wasn’t too concerned whether anybody saw me or not.
I pondered about what I should do and remembered something I read a long time ago. When somebody dies, you shouldn’t make any radical changes to your life. Instead, continue your daily routine as you always do.
I felt the waterworks starting.
I made my way to the toilet to take a piss… you ever wonder why the loo is so busy at the worst possible moment?
I remembered that it’s not possible to feel sad if your body is in a happy/positive posture. So I sucked it up. Chest up, head up, shoulders back and it got better. The initial shock was a thing of the past.
That didn’t last long…
I needed to distract myself before the class started and made some conversation with Phoebe. I think that was the wrong call… She asked me how I was and I said fine… she saw right through me and I gave her some crap about having a stressful day at work in response.
It was a painful conversation but it worked. I kept my shit together.
The class started. Zouk is a fairly engaging thing you know. The fact that I can’t multitask also helped. Only a few times did my thoughts wander and remind me of what had happened. I feel bad for saying this but I was able to enjoy myself throughout the evening. Don’t judge, dealing with death isn’t something they teach you at school.
However, I broke down like a little bitch just a few steps from home. It was too much. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. The distractions were gone and
I fucking cried myself to sleep.
Next day I went to work, as usual (remember the thing about not doing anything radical…The stupid is strong in me.) The morning was difficult but as I got more involved with work it got better. Much better. I shared the news with one colleague who might have shared it with a few others.
But I wasn’t quite myself. I was very quiet and generally avoided human contact.
Did I mention that my passport expired in March? Well… that’s a bit of a problem if I want to go to the funeral in Estonia. Anywho… I contacted the embassy who came back to me fairly quickly and told me they could issue me a document which will enable me to travel temporarily. However, first I needed to tell them what my travel dates are. At this point where was no date for the funeral… I would contact them again once I know. I was told the Embassy can issue the document in half an hour and all I needed were two passport photos and a date for my flight out of the UK.
I feel the fucking rainbow. I’m sad, then angry, then oddly OK, then depressed, then even happy. I’m all over the place. And it feels like there’s no end in sight. Work helps, a lot. It keeps me focused on other things.
I wrote the above almost two months ago. The funeral was last Saturday. I’d rather keep the details to myself about why it took so long until the funeral. Sorry. Don’t ask. Things are much better now and I’m glad this is all behind me and that I can finally close this chapter.