Too Big For a Blog
This is the first blog post that I ever completely deleted.
I started out wanting to write about my last day in Korea. 660 words in, and I couldn’t tease out anything good. I talked about everything but Korea. The Simpsons, Aziz Ansari, memories, and pregnancy days. I think Kanye West even worked in a mention in those 660 words. But they were sprawling and unwieldy. My mind was caving in on itself. I kept telling myself to get on with it. What’s the point? Get to it!, I told myself.
There was an elephant in the room.
So I deleted those words. And now I find myself oddly ready to talk about a last day that I always said I wouldn’t blog about because it seems to deserve more than I can give it here. It deserves to be in a book somewhere or a special, private place that smells like a pine forest and your grandmother’s house.
Do you believe that, that a blog isn’t reverent enough?
My dad died at the end of the summer. It was hot in Memphis but I don’t need to tell you that. That day I had been sitting on my parents’ patio all morning with 30 SPF sunblock on and Medieval In LA by my side, never getting past page 40 because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I think I wore a halter top and sunglasses, which is funny because at that time I hadn’t read Lolita yet.
My dad called that morning to say hello from Canada. He and my brother had been there for two weeks on a Boy Scout trip, exploring the Northern Tier. He called and talked to my mom and she offered the phone to me but I didn’t take it because…I don’t know. Maybe I had to go to the bathroom? Maybe I just didn’t care? I couldn’t have known, but that doesn’t make it easier. That actually makes it worse. I didn’t know. With births you have an idea about when they’re going to happen. Death isn’t so gracious. You can’t plan for it.
I went to work at the Gap that afternoon. I worked a short shift, 3 to 8. This was my second job that summer. I had started the summer working at Hobby Lobby, but after only being there for a month, the Gap called about a job I had applied for at the beginning of my summer job application blitz and I obviously took it and quit Hobby Lobby because I had already acquired a boyfriend at Hobby Lobby and why would I stay if I could get 50% off on jeans?
That day at the Gap I wore khakis and a sleeveless top and a headset that the Gap provided. Pro-fess-ion-al. I greeted some people and folded some jeans. I don’t know why I remember this.
I drove my brown Mercedes home from the Gap and when I got there I noticed that there were many cars parked in the street in front of my parents’ home. It’s so funny where your mind goes. When I saw the cars I thought my dad and my brother had come home early as a surprise and that everyone was celebrating. My mind went to a place of surprises and fun.
Before I had even pulled all the way into the driveway I could see my mom and my aunt. They walked to the car and I could see several members of our church too. All I heard was
The word dead was not spoken but it filled my brain, literally taking every spare corner and rudely shoving everything else out if its way. Dead was in big white all-caps block letters and it pulsed through my veins and belittled and bullied everything that wasn’t Dead. Dead was like a drug, and in that moment in the driveway I was under its influence. I immediately wanted to barf.
Instead I cried.
I think I cried for about five hours that felt like 10 minutes. I fell asleep later that night in my mom’s bed and could not believe I had spent the day sunbathing halfheartedly and folding jeans.
Does this day deserve more than a blog post? Probably. It is too big and sacred and private. It is part of my story. It was a day that each member of my family interprets in different ways because of the roles that my father played in their lives. Are these things too big for a blog? Maybe.