what it’s like

I went to bed thinking about Magazine Man and his family, and woke up thinking about them. This is such a hard thing to go through.

The numb, I remember the numb. And the bewildered, don’t know what to do while you wait for the weight of all that grief and loss to come down on you like a ton of bricks. It’s hard to breathe deeply, you keep forgetting what you came upstairs for, you run out of thought before you can finish the sentence.

It does help to keep busy, which is good, because there are a million things to do, and you never had to think about any of them before. Getting a death certificate, who knows how to do that before they have to? It’s all terrifying new territory. You can’t think about how hard it is, just keep moving forward. If you stop to think about it, you get overwhelmed.

One thing that I will always regret: It sounds terrible, but I should have taken more of their stuff, whatever I could absorb into my own life. I thought pfft, it’s just stuff, how can it matter in the face of what’s happened? But it’s full of memories, and using his gadgets, wearing her jewelry, seeing their trinkets around keeps them in my thoughts and helps me miss them less. I was kind of on autopilot when Mom died, and one of the basic premises of expat life is that mailing things is risky and expensive and should be kept to a minimum, so I let the kitchen stuff go. I didn’t realize until much later that price bedamned, it would have been worth it.

The missing them? It loses its edge, over time, but it never goes away completely. When the Sniglet’s hair gets long, it curls in the back, just like my dad’s did. It makes me smile every time I see that, it’s so cute. But it makes me sad too. I wish he’d lived to meet his grandchildren.

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