That phone call that every person dreads—the one with elderly parents variety—arrived for me around 7 a.m. on the first of November.
My heart raced, my hands shook, but the clarity snapped on very soon after and it seemed like I went on autopilot. Things needed doing and I had to get a move on it. My brain had me reciting stuff to myself; it was as if I had my very own drill sergeant issuing commands and getting me ready.
Ordinarily, I would have been at the ‘rents house on All Soul’s Day, doing the cemetery rounds and all but this year, I decided to skip it in favor of getting some work done. Well, I suppose I was meant to spend the day with family and I’m so very glad I got the chance.
We all met at the hospital. Everyone was there bar a sib who is currently away—I imagine her reaction to the message I left, it’s one of her major fears come true. I was torn between leaving her that message right away and delaying it until I had more info but after a short internal debate, I decided to go ahead. I knew I’d want to be told right away if our situations were reversed.
It’s almost funny, before I got to the hospital my mom called to ask me what we should do about the flowers, the cemetery, etc. I told her that the dead won’t mind and that we have to take care of the living first. For all the weirdness of family, I’m happy to belong to this one. My brother and I had our game faces on as soon as we set foot in the hospital and I know my mom took comfort in that. We get that from my grandmother, I think. So, our dead are well and truly remembered and represented.
My dad is still at the hospital. After a quick trip to the ER, he was admitted for more tests and observation. While he’s not all better, I’m very grateful that it wasn’t worse. I was singing songs of gratitude as I drove home—all accompanied by mighty sniffles. It’s the day of the dead and I’m thankful that the people I love are all still around and most of them are still alive.