It’s nearly four weeks to the day I awoke within a few minutes of a Facebook message saying the end seemed nigh for my dad. Within an hour, he was dead. Enter the mourning period.
A complicated month, indeed. Mourning has gone… well? I’m doing better than I expected, but pangs of profound grief hit unexpectedly, and that’s likely to continue for some time now.
Today I’m writing from the silence of a $2.5-million home I am house-sitting. It’s quite possibly the most silent home I’ve ever sat in. A gas fire is distinctively not crackling in the hearth. There are no preternatural groans or hums from the refrigerator or heating systems. Only small, quiet clicks of my soft-touch keyboard. (This is so not Mexico.)
It is as alone as a place can make one feel. Which is not to say I am lonely. I’m just decidedly alone.
An Unparty of One
I’m taken aback by how little effort I’ve made to see people here. I’ve seen only “safe-zone” friends. Dead-body-removal crew, I call them. The folks I’d count on if I needed to hide a corpse. Luckily for all of us, I’m unlikely to be the murdering type. But I know who to call if I were, though.
Why am I not meeting up with people? I should. That was the intention with coming home. After all, I know I’m not returning until a house-sitting gig arises or the siren call of my roots summons me to Vancouver again. My relationship with Vancouver will likely be akin to Michael Corleone’s lament in Godfather III – “just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in.”
But the “Dad’s dead” thing threw a wrench into my plans.
And I wish I were in the mood to see people, but I find most people suck at grief moments. I’m kind of okay with my grief and mourning, and I don’t need hand-holding, but society is weird. On the one hand, no one wants you to be consumed by grief, they want you to move on. On the other hand, people are weirded out if you’re suddenly okay that someone is dead.
So, I’m in emotional no-man’s-land and I’m trying to figure out what’s next in life.
I thought I figured out my autumn travel plans but now I need to arrange where to go for 3 weeks in November/December. I’m considering Athens, en route to my Christmas on a Greek Island.
In the meantime, I’m working a lot. I long to be abroad already because I find it easy to work elsewhere. I get consumed with work. Here, in Vancouver, I’m forever distracted by the knowledge that an English-speaking world is outside my door. Beyond these walls are people who understand me, cater to me. Elsewhere, foreign-language life is complicated and holing up and working is one way I feel in control.
Soon – in just two weeks – I’ll wow you with images from Prague and the Czech Republic. In 6 weeks, maybe it’ll be Athens I’m showing you.
But today a silent fire casts soft, warm shadows on a cold autumn day. My fingers are cold, my mind is empty, and now it’s time I fire up the TV… and fold some laundry. Ahh, domestic bliss. It takes giving up a home to realize how comforting one can be.
House-Sitting: Need Some?
For 2017, I’m available after March for house-sits three weeks or longer. I’m okay with small pets and they like me. I have experience both in pet-sitting and just watching an empty house. I’ve watered a jungle of plants in Mexico, kept a $2.5-million home in perfectly staged-for-selling condition, and I can provide references.