Three Baby Aspirin, Four Kinds of Chicken Salad and a Random Child

There is so much that is surreal in those few hours right after you lose a loved one and you can’t share with them the things that you normally would have, because they are gone. Yesterday soon after discovering that my father had passed away my mother’s house was filled with paramedics, and paramedic supervisors and a Sheriff and other official people who we don’t know and don’t really want to have to talk with. I found myself having to hear about how the young paramedic might give my very newly deceased father a run for his money as far as being hard headed. Really, when did this become about you?

Then, when the Sheriff introduced himself to my mother and she asked him if he was from “around here,” he said, “No.” He waited a good two beats and responded “I’m from Alamance.” For those of you not from Caswell, you would say that Alamance is “around here” since it is just the next county over. I was thinking how inane my father would have found these conversations and he wasn’t there for me to laugh with about them.

As the morning dragged on and all the officials hung around in the driveway waiting for some sign off that the funeral home could come and take my Dad away I realized that I had not had any water, caffeine or food all day and a massive headache was coming on. I asked my mother for some pain killer and made myself a cereal at noon. She brought me three tiny yellow pills the size of the head of a pin and placed them on my napkin. “What the hell are these,” I asked in the nicest possible way. “Baby aspirin,” my mother replied. Now I am my mother’s baby, but I told her I think I need something stronger. She brought me two more. Another thing my Dad would have gotten a big roar out of.

As the day went on some really kind friends of my mother’s were already bringing food. Word travels fast when there are three paramedic vehicles, a sheriffs car and a silver funeral home hearse in your driveway for two hours. There were two kinds of chicken salad and two kinds of pimento cheese

before four o’clock not eleven hours after he had passed. My dad liked both pimento cheese and chicken salad and I kept thinking he could use a little King’s Hawaiian roll with some chicken salad.

This morning, when I came downstairs early in the morning, after reading all the wonderful and kind comments on my blog and on Facebook from so many friends from near and far, I met my mother’s new cleaning lady. My mother thought was a good idea to have her show up and clean while people are coming and dropping off more chicken salad, deviled eggs wanting to visit with my mother. The nice woman introduced me to her ten year old daughter and apologized for bringing her. She had stayed home from school today and had no one else to watch her. My mother wasn’t bothered by this as she really wanted someone else to clean my Dad’s room. So the cleaning lady told the child to sit down in the family room, which is open to kitchen while she went upstairs to work.

So as I was cleaning the kitchen and logging the food into the register for future thank you notes and answering the door and the phone, the child, who happens to have autism, was peppering me with random questions. “What’s your dog’s name? Who are you? Why are people bringing you food?” She was a sweet child, but on the bingo card of things you will deal with while grieving the loss of your father, having to entertain a random child was not on it. This was definitely something my father would have had a big scream about.

My Dad and I shared the same sense of the absurd. I already miss hearing him laugh that huge laugh. I am not sure who I will be able to call and tell him when crazy things happen and I feel like I am the only one who thinks they are crazy. So Dad, if you are watching, give me a sign when you think things are as weird as I do.

One Comment on “Three Baby Aspirin, Four Kinds of Chicken Salad and a Random Child”

  1. beth says:

    this sounds as absurd as it comes and know that from how you’ve described your dad, he would have loved it all. luckily you have us to share it with, and I had a great appreciation for the absurdity of it all and perhaps in it’s own way, it all served as a distraction to help you get through the very difficult day. ❤

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