My mother had been calling fairly regularly to update us on my father's status. I knew things were grim. I knew it was the end. One day, she called and asked me to talk to him, to tell him that I was happy, that I was going to be OK. So, even though he couldn't understand, I did exactly that. I told him he had been a wonderful father. I told him I loved him so very much. I told him my husband and I are very happy, and we would take care of my mother (or try to, anyhow -- my mother is a stubborn old woman 🤣). I thanked him for everything. A few hours later, he was gone.
Trying to process my father's death. Now there's a task. I thought I was ready. After all, he had been sick for years. But the truth is, no one is ever really ready for the death of a parent. So, when my mother called to inform me that my father had passed away, I fell apart. I found myself sobbing into the phone, something that seemed to take my mother aback. She kept telling me this was for the best, as he had been ill for so long, and finally, she snapped at me to pull myself together. I did not much appreciate this, although I suspect she was coming from a place of pain and frustration. I hung up and cried a bit more in the arms of my husband, apologizing for staining his clothing with my make-up. He did not mind.
The next day, I felt a deep and widening sense of unreality, as if I were floating on a cloud. The housekeeper was there, and as others arrived (I was having my hair blown-out and a manicure), I realized that I felt odd and fuzzy, my ability to communicate was limited. I was making travel arrangements for us, answering the phone and typing things on the internet, all while my hair was blown out and my nails were being done . All the while, the tears flowed intermittently. As my husband and I packed our suitcases, I tried hard to focus on each task. I had been made pretty for my father's funeral. Never once did I look in the mirror. I chose clothes to wear to the funeral. I did not try them on. Thin or fat, I would wear these black funeral garments. I would play this role. I would never look back.
I woke up the following morning and prepared to head to the airport. We had a noon flight to catch, but there wasn't much traffic out to JFK. The morning was beautiful, and we made it out to the airport in no time. Soon, we were sitting in a restaurant, contemplating breakfast and talking. I chose egg whites and hot sauce (I gave my toast to my husband). I honestly don't remember what my husband ordered (but I imagine it was some variation of bacon, eggs, and toast). I had a cup of tea. He had his usual coffee. We talked. Apropos of nothing. Washed up after breakfast. Headed for our gate.
One of the FAs recognized me from a couple of weeks before. I told him that my father had passed away, and he gave me his condolences. I realized I was going to be hearing a lot of this from now on. I thanked him. Tried to smile. As the flight took off, I realized it was the first time I would be going home that my father would not be there. I hated that thought. I don't remember that flight: not the food, not what I watched. I remember arriving and the FA once again giving me his condolences. I remember thanking him once again for his kindness during the flight. Getting off the flight with my husband. Heading to baggage claim. Retrieving our luggage and finding a cab. Arriving, an interminable moment later, at our hotel, and checking in. Going out to dinner that night (really amazing food, and the heck with Jenny or anything else). Washing up, thinking I would never be able to fall asleep that night, then falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
First day. Done.