Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And so it Goes

Apart from everyday life stuff, since Kathy passed away on Friday, the days have been spent visiting with Steve's family, going to the mortuary, preparing for the service and adjusting to life without a person who is impossible not to miss.

Our 2 1/2 hour meeting at Holy Cross on Monday was filled with lots of signatures and information I could have easily lived my entire life without knowing. Like what? Like the fact that Kathy's body had been refrigerated in a "sister" mortuary in East LA while waiting for the okay to move ahead with the cremation. Like the fact that a van from Culver City would drive to East LA to pick up the body, bring it to the "sister" mortuary in Long Beach where the crematory is located, and then drive the remains back up to Culver City. It was unsettling to know this process. Even more unsettling to read the actual cremation process on the paperwork Steve's Dad had to sign. My husband sulked through the entire meeting, spending 97% of his time reading whoknowswhat on his iPhone. His coping mechanism leave little to be desired and on the way home I gently told him that if he was my child, I would have told him to go and wait in the car.

Pat & Steve have stepped up to the plate big time, which is really nice. Although, as someone pointed out, it's not so much that they've stepped up, so much that they're finally doing the right thing. Which is good, because I feel like after the service, my mental capacity to take on much more is going to be non-existent. And I struggle with that. Because I want to be there for Steve's Dad, but it's not my job. I can be there in a lot of ways, but I don't have to play a major starring role in the Life After Kathy special. That's what his sons are for and for this, I don't have a problem speaking up and insisting that my husband does his part. The fact that he's already doing it, is a good sign.

I've been mostly fine with Kathy's death. Part of that can be blamed on the fact that I was mostly in shock over the way I found out Kathy had died, and not the part where she finally died. We did know this was coming, but I really couldn't have predicted that I'd have to request a call when the time came. Despite that mind tease, I got upset when having to tell my Steve that his mother died. What really got to me, however, was when I went up to the house on Saturday. Patrick and his family came up and while everyone was talking and catching up and completely avoiding all talk about the fact that Kathy had just died the day before, I wandered to the back of the house and gently pushed open the door to her bedroom.

For months I was used to walking back there and seeing Kathy on the bed- reading, smoking, drinking, sleeping, whatever. So I knew it was going to be difficult to walk into the room and not see her laying exactly where I had left her just three days earlier. The bed issued by a home care agency was still in the room with the sheets all crumpled on the bed- the smell of stale sickness still floating in the air. Everything just as she had left it. As if nothing had happened. It was as if she walked into the bathroom and was going to come out and get back into her bed. Only she wasn't.

I stood in the doorway and cried for a few minutes and then walked outside and just looked out over the ocean thinking about how empty the house seemed. The thing is, it's nor uncommon to go up to that house and not see Kathy. She often stayed in her bedroom feeling too sick to see anyone. But it's obviously such a different thing when you can't see that person- when you don't have a choice.

That's the thing about death. It's the finality of it that really hurts. The overwhelming loneliness you feel in knowing that you'll never see this person again. A friend of mine, who lost both of her parents, said something after my father died that's always stuck with me. I had mentioned that I was looking forward to life going back to normal. She said, "What I've found is life doesn't really ever go back to normal. It's more like your definition of what's normal changes." I've really found this to be true while trying to come to terms with the death of someone close to you. What it really comes down to is that is just sucks. And it takes time to come to terms with it all.

That's what it's going to be like with the Fasts now. Life really won't ever go back to normal. Kathy was a tiny woman, but she sure did have a larger than life personality. And as I mentioned at the beginning, it's impossible to not miss her. As crazy as she could be, as sick as she was at the end, as sweet as our relationship turned out to be at the end...I just miss her. More than I thought I would.


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