[Mar 2013] The Day my Father Died

After finishing our lunch, we went home with my car, but I asked my brother to drive. I sat to the rear-right seat. I prefer travelling there, especially because I wanted to hide from everything and everybody. I didn’t want to be noticed at all. I asked my mother to wait with all the phone-calls for a while, we could figure out everything at home. She told me that she had already told it to three of her friends. But when? Right away after I called her? Or during they came to the hospital?

Soon, her phone was ringing again. She answered it immediately, as if I hadn’t asked her not to, just a few minutes ago. It was her best friend, who lost her mother last night. They were talking long. Soon they were talking about the funeral again, and all the things to manage and arrange. No matter how I had asked her just an hour ago to wait with things like this, she ignored it again. If I had warned her again, she would have said with big innocent eyes that she had forgotten. As if it would be something you can just forget. It was really difficult for her, I know that, and she must have been in a shock, and she was anxious about lots of things, she was afraid of the future, but still. And then all of a sudden it was my favorite subject again: the cheap mortician of the neighbor village. I was raging inside. I wanted to take her phone and throw it out of the car, but I didn’t dare to do it. But I was really considering asking my brother to pull over and leave me there, because I couldn’t stay in the car any longer. She fortunately finished the call short after that. I told her with crunching teeth that we should leave it all for the next days, and she should forget about this “cheap mortician” thing today. I told her that all I wanted was one fucking day, and I added a silent but audible “God damn it”. She said alright and that I was practically right. She could have said “you are right, I am sorry”, but she didn’t.

My brother switched to my mother’s car at the station, and drove to my father’s sister to tell her the bad news. I drove my car home with my mother by my side. I was very angry at her, but I didn’t show it, we were just sitting silently next to each other. We took the things in the car, brought them into the house and started putting everything to its place. I started thinking about what needed to be done and what could be done later. With only a few hours of sleep I only wanted to do the necessary minimum. I concluded that the only thing we had to do was to create a list of all the people who needed to be notified, then to call them one by one to tell them about my father’s death. This had to be done by my mother, because most of them are people that I hadn’t talked to for years. I only wanted to help creating the list and to support her by the calls.

So I told her that it was all she had to do, so we would have time to rest and grieve for the rest of the day. She became upset immediately, that I should have let her finish putting things away, although I hadn’t told her she had to do it right away. I told her that, so she calmed down a bit, admitting that she had overreacted it a bit. But then she had an even more incredible move. She told me there was no point in calling anyone until the date of the funeral was set. I told her that she had to call all these people, right away. She took it as an offense, and refused to call anyone. A little time passed, we finished tyding up, I sat down, took a few deep breaths and gave it another chance. I told her that some of the people already knew he was dead, others didn’t. If we hadn’t call them all, they were still going to know it, from someone else, instead of us, and it would be disrespectful not to tell them personally, especially if they were close to the family or to father. I told her it was not enough to call them in a few days, when we were going to have a date for the funeral. She asked me about what was going to happen when we got the date. I told her that she was going to have to call everybody once more then. She chafed and told me that she was not going to call our relatives abroad twice for sure. I guess the phone bill would have been to expensive that is paid by me by the way. “Please, call them today”, I was begging with my body shaking.

I didn’t want to believe that I had to argue with my mother about this a few hours after the death of my father. I thought after a night and a morning like this, nothing could be any worse, I could ease up a little, I could rest a little, but the worse was yet to come. I was ashamed for her. Her behavior was unbelievable to me. She used to have these inappropriate behaviors sometimes, and she had always been worried about money, maybe I was just blind about it, or maybe there weren’t any situation when these things could surface so harshly, I don’t know. But these scenes shocked me completely. I was ashamed of her in front of my father too, and I was begging him inside my head, not to be angry at her and at us, I told him how sorry I was.

I don’t even want to mention the fact that my mother used my father’s phone to call everybody around, just because she lost her own phone-book on his on phone, and didn’t want to type the numbers again. This was much more than morbid for me, that someone’s phone was ringing, he or she could see that it was my father, answered the phone, and heard my mother saying that he had just died. I didn’t even want to mention this to her, because I was happy that I could at least convince her that she should have called everybody. During the calls she was sobbing. She made me cry too. It could be really hard to say it out loud into the phone that he was dead, especially telling it to people who were laughing and crying with us for years, and who were supporting us in these difficult times for the last months. I was sitting next to mother, holding her hand, while she was calling all these people.

After many calls she asked me if I hadn’t found it strange and abnormal that nobody was asking anything about the date of the funeral. I thought it was absolutely normal, especially in the moment of the first shock. “I find it normal”, I said silently. She answered with an incredibly sarcastic and angry face, as if she had told me “go fuck yourself and be happy about being right again”. This was the moment when I couldn’t hold myself back any longer. I stood up and started shouting at her: “What is wrong with you? What is your problem again? What the fuck did I say again?! I don’t believe this anymore! I can’t take it anymore!” I turned around and went out of the living room, up the stairs to my room, while I was shouting of crying, and I could hardly breathe. For some reason I went in to my brother’s room, went down on my knees, and laid my upper body on his bed, and kept on crying loud. I heard my mother climbing the stairs and coming after me. She was crying as well, and swore that she didn’t mean anything bad at all. I thought she was lying, but I wasn’t sure. It didn’t really matter. She came into the room, when my brother entered the room as well. I couldn’t bear letting my mother talk to me, I couldn’t bear letting her touch me. I felt if I had to spend another minute near her, I would die, my mind would split into two. The next moment my heart gave a leap, I felt like it wanted to jump out of my chest. It was terrifying, I was horribly scared. I jumped up off the bed, then went back on my knees, being completely out of my mind. Then I stood up again and went down the stairs to escape from my mother’s presence. I didn’t know where to go, I didn’t know where to hide. I went downstairs, down to the basement, and laid down on a bed, while I was sobbing and rattling bitterly. My only wish was to be left alone, or else I would go crazy. I didn’t have meaningful thoughts, let alone meaningful words. My brother came down to me and started stroking me to calm me down. He didn’t understand what just happened. He covered me with a blanket. All I could say to him between two cry-attacks, that I couldn’t take her anymore, that I couldn’t take it anymore, all I wanted was to just be left alone. A few minutes passed, when I heard through the half-open door, that my mother was on the phone again. I felt my blood pressure and my pulse rate rising again. I started calling my brother. He came down to me frightened. I asked him to close every door, because I didn’t want to hear anything from inside at all.

I spent more than half an hour like this, unmoved on the bed, while my body and mind stabilized slowly. I was thinking about my father, and I was very sorry for him. I knew he was very sorry if he had seen all this. His last and most important wish was that we stick together, take care of each other and love each other. And that was what he had to see just a few hours after his death, that we were killing each other. It was terrible! Really terrible. I felt cold after a while. There was no heating in the room, and the blanket that my brother had put on me was really thin. Feeling cold meant to me that I got back my normal everyday senses in my body, they weren’t pushed away by something much greater and much deeper. I knew that I couldn’t stay there much longer in the cold, but I didn’t have the strength to move yet. Then I gathered my strength, stood up and went back up to the house. I was afraid of looking at my mother again, so I didn’t. I just entered the living room, and went past my mother, without looking at her, and climbed the stairs straight to my room with haggard face. I opened the couch, covered it with a blanket, put a pillow under my head, laid down on the bed and covered myself with a blanket. It struck me that it was cold here as well, although I didn’t feel it yet. My room was out of use with me living in the city, so the heating was turned down there. I got out of the bed and turned it up to maximum, and slipped back to the bed. My thoughts were running wild. I had no chance to get to sleep.

I knew I had to make a few phone calls myself as well, because I wanted to inform a few people first-hand. I wrote a list in my head. A list of people to call. Since I wasn’t able to sleep and I was slowly gaining my balance back, I thought it would be better to do it and call them. I called my girlfriend first. I could tell her relatively alright that my daddy had died. She was crying much more than I did. I couldn’t really talk to her much more, so I told her that I would call her back in the evening. Then I called my best friend Alex, but he was unreachable. Of course he was, just like always! As if we hadn’t spent 3 hours together last evening. As if I hadn’t told him my situation. As if I hadn’t told him that my father could die any moment. As if I hadn’t told him that I had planned to spend the night in the hospital with my father. As if I hadn’t said goodbye to him in tears when I had gone back to the hospital. I called his girlfriend, but she didn’t answer it either. I didn’t know what to do. He crossed my plans, because I wanted him to know it first among my friends. I decided not to give a fuck, and I called my second best friend, Steve. He didn’t answer it either. I could forgive him, because he didn’t know how close his death was, and it was Saturday afternoon anyway. He called me back a few minutes later, but I wasn’t in the mood to answer.

Later Alex called me back. I told him what had happened. We talked a little longer. Then I called back Steve. I was sobbing so much that I could hardly speak. All I could say was that my daddy had died, but it took me very long to say these few words. I expected to be able to talk to him a little, but I couldn’t. He interrupted me immediately and said his seemingly practiced sentences, as if he had read it off a paper. He was very shocked and afraid, and tried to be a good friend, so he had prepared. He said “Oh my God, this is terrible. Accept my and my family’s condolences!” Then he couldn’t say anything else, and hung up in a few seconds. After that I knew that it was over for me that day. I was terribly exhausted. I tried to sleep again, but I was just tossing and turning in the bed. It was hopeless to sleep.

I called my girlfriend again later. She was studying abroad with a scholarship. She told me right away that she would come home. He already checked the flight, she was only a click away from buying it, and she could be with me the next day. To be honest, I was terrified. I felt like I needed lots of things, but the last thing I needed was another person to take care of, especially in the middle of this war-zone at home, that was going on between my mother and me. I couldn’t tell her a reasonable excuse, I just told her it was needless to come, that she didn’t have to make such a sacrifice for me. I felt that she felt that I wasn’t fully honest, but I couldn’t come up with anything better.

Then I was just lying in the bed, trying to sleep again. Once I heard my mother again from downstairs through the door. She was on the phone again, talking with one of her friends again. She was talking about the funeral and cheapness and discount and money again. I felt my heart pounding in my chest. I wanted to go down, smash her fucking phone, and tell her that if I hear the word “money” once more on the day of my father’s death, then I gather my stuff and leave the house for good, and I would not come back for a year at least after the funeral. But I felt I didn’t have the strength for doing this. I am too tired, too exhausted, and I tried to hold myself back, so I didn’t go down. I listened to it for a little while, then put the pillow on my head not to hear it anymore.

I fell asleep. I slept a few hours. When I woke up again, my mother was already asleep, thank God. So I didn’t have to see her and talk to her more on that day at least. I called my girlfriend again. I told her about my mother’s running amok of the day. It felt good talking about it, although I didn’t really like to share such intimate details with her. And I didn’t want her to hate my mother, but I still told her. She understood it, and she was horrified, just as me. She asked me if it was because of this that I didn’t want her to buy the ticket and come home to me. I didn’t expect this question, but it came as a rescue, so I said yes…

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