Wherein I Turn into Dawson Leery

Hi Darling Ones,

If you’re an avid consumer of any kind of media — books, tv, movies — you’re familiar with this trope. It’s the one where you learn of someone’s death and you do not cry.

For my entire life as a well-known and copious cryer I thought this was some writerly bullshit. Kind of like letting go of a breath you didn’t even know you were holding in or doing anything with ever fiber of your being.

Then my dad died, and I discovered this is an actual thing.

Sister #4 knocked at my door at 12:45 last Friday morning roughly an hour after we went to bed. I was still awake, though I had taken my glasses off and put my phone down in preparation for sleep.

“Jodi,” she said from the other side of my door, left ajar for Wendell. “Mom thinks dad passed.”
She started to open the door more.
“You don’t want to come in here,” I said. I sleep naked and the last thing we needed was that whole situation. “Let me get dressed.”
“Okay,” she said. “Are you coming with? Do you want me to wait?”
“Oh,” I said, sitting on the end of my bed pulling clothes out of my dresser. “No. Text me when you get there.”

I did not cry. Instead, I took a shower. I took a shower so fast I was in and out and back on the edge of the bed before my sister got to my parents’ apartment, three miles away.

I did not cry when she came home at 3 a.m. after the cremation place picked up my dad’s body.

I cried a little when Sister #2 and Ben arrived Friday morning.

I shed a few tears when Jodi Hanson came over Sunday afternoon. Mostly, though I was choking out the words to tell her how sorry I was and how much her mom’s kindness meant to me.

Now that I think about it, I cried quite a bit when the Strib published his obit online Saturday afternoon.

But it was Sunday night when Sister #4 played a voicemail from my dad wishing her a happy birthday that I lost it. It was like Dawson Leery did when he heard Mitch’s voice on the answering machine. It wasn’t exactly like that. I didn’t rip my sister’s phone from her hand and smash it or anything. I just sobbed. Hard.

When I was done, I looked at my family and said, “Boy, that hit me.”
“Well,” Sister #2 said. “Your dad did just die.

Today I am intermittently weepy over everything and nothing. Pretty sure every fiber of my being is exhausted on a level I’ve never experienced before.

Sister #4 goes home tomorrow morning and then it’s just me, Wendell, and the grief.

I hate that the only way to deal with this is to go through it. I hate that I have to start work again on Monday like my dad didn’t just die. I hate that I’m unable to sleep my way through the mourning, which is what I usually do. I slept for like a week after my Uncle John died.

I hate everything, but you, Darling Ones.

Thanks for being here,
Jodi

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6 Comments

  1. Heather 24.Sep.22 at 4:53 pm

    Oh, just wait until you realize you haven’t spontaneously burst into gut-wrenching sobs for a few days in a row. And THAT makes you start crying. 🙄

    I hope you remember to be as gentle with yourself as possible. It’s so easy to beat yourself up for not grieving the “right way”. I’ve been guilty of it more than a few times and it sucks.

    Reply
    1. Jodi Chromey 26.Sep.22 at 1:47 pm

      Right when everything started happening my friend EM told me “whatever you are doing is the right way to handle it.” That’s been such a comfort, also shouting at myself in my head “MY DAD JUST DIED!”

      Reply
      1. Heather 26.Sep.22 at 5:36 pm

        Your friend EM is wise and we both need to heed her words.

        Reply
  2. Tanya 24.Sep.22 at 7:58 pm

    Cheesy Christ, I come here from the email notification all ready to be appropriately solemn in the face of grief and I see that damn picture and crack right the f☆ck up, instead. His stupid face gets me every time, lol.

    Reply
    1. Jodi Chromey 26.Sep.22 at 1:48 pm

      It’s the greatest. It makes me laugh too! I told my friend Christa this story before I wrote it and included the cryface gif, and she responded “You’ve been practicing your whole life for this moment!”

      Reply
      1. Tanya 26.Sep.22 at 9:48 pm

        What really did me in was the website url paired with that face. Without context, it’s just – too perfect.

        Reply

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