Saturday, February 16, 2008


I am currently sitting in my parents' house, alone. Actually, I am sitting in my dad's house, alone. That small change in sentence structure is so gigantic, and is so unlike anything I have ever known, anything I could possibly convey to anyone who hasn't already been through something similar.

It's like the earth all of a sudden spun off its axis. Like the ground suddenly shifted from under my feet.

Seismic. That's the word my sister and I keep using.

I cried a lot on the airplane on the way down. I couldn't read, couldn't listen to music, and, thanks to the TSA, couldn't really pace up and down the airplane. So I cried and wrote in a journal. When I told my brother and dad about it, they concluded that the people sitting next to me must have thought I was schizophrenic.

The next couple of days were a blur. There were the arrangements, and then the funeral, and then the sitting shiva. My brother described it as, "Sorry about your mom. Have some mayo." I would replace the word "mayo" with "babka," but it's close enough. I don't really remember most of it, which is probably a blessing in disguise. I kept my notes from my speech at the funeral, but I'm not sure that I'll ever be able to muster up the strength to look at it.

There are little things I think about that I never really considered before. Like how the last meal I ate with my mom was in a Denny's. And the last time I kissed her was in front of the Palm Beach International airport. And how the last conversation we had was about a Catherine Malandrino dress and the Giants winning the Superbowl. And the last Thanksgiving, the last birthday present, that kind of stuff, the stuff that I would do over again if I knew it was supposed to last a lifetime.

I think, most of all, that's what I'm going to take away from this whole crazy thing.


DSL said...

I have no idea how you must be feeling. All I know is that I would be devastated if my mom died and my dad would be a wreck. You are holding up surprisingly well in spite of the tragedy that you are facing. I'm sorry that you have to come back to a huge trial. You really should not have to deal with that right now. Take everything one day at a time, and please let me know if you need someone to talk to or just be around.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry Dara (there's not much else I can say).

tingb said...

You and I have commented before about us having a lot in common, for two people who "know" each other only through the internet. I'm so, so sorry that this is now on the list.

What we go through and how we handle loss is so shaped by the specifics of the situation that I truly believe no one can ever rightfully say that they know how you are feeling. But to the extent one can come close to knowing, I know.

The sentence structure thing doesn't go away. Almost four years later, someone who doesn't know will ask if my parents are still in New York, and I hesitate to answer.

My (very unsolicited) advice to you is this: just take things in the chunks of time you can handle them. One day, one afternoon, one hour. And indulge yourself and do whatever it is you need to get through that chunk of time. Talk about it. Don't. Go to a movie. Kick the wall. It's not okay, so you don't have to act like it is.

And do find comfort in the random things you start to remember. The last thing my dad said to me was on the phone, two days before he died. "Talk to your mother, I have to get this chicken in the oven." A goodbye, though not really.

I'm so sorry.

E :) said...

I am so sorry to hear this, Dara. I am very sad for you. My best wishes to you and your loved ones...

anne said...

I'm very sorry for your loss Dara. My thoughts to you and your family.

Paige Jennifer said...

I'm so sorry Dara. My thoughts are with you and your family. And the line about mayo? Yeah, pretty much sums up Jews when dealing with death.

Kimberly said...

oh dara, i am so sorry! my heart goes out to you and your family.