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.