Today was the last 'big' step in the aftermath of my father's untimely demise. It was moving day.
Thanks to my night schedule at work, early mornings are once again a struggle for my brain to acknowledge. And, yes, 7 am is early. Thankfully, I got up with enough time to fix myself a cup of coffee and check the web. Last time Dad was down to visit, I made him a cup of coffee. I use Taster's Choice, as it's much easier for Single Me to fix one cup instead of brewing a whole pot. He remarked on how good a cup of coffee it was, which was unsurprising. I am sure to a father that any cup of coffee fixed by his son is good. However, one of the first things I saw when visiting his apartment last week was a new canister of Taster's Choice, used a handful of times. It still makes me tear up a bit. I'm glad he enjoyed it so much. Anyway, that's not what I sat down to write. Tangents.
I set out at about 7:30 to get to the U-Haul place and got it sorted without issue. I took the truck and waited at the Rendezvous Point (always wanted to say that) for my helpers. Mom, Tyler, and two of my good friends arrived shortly and we set out for Pawhuska. The drive from Tulsa to Pawhuska is a mostly unremarkable country highway that passes through a few small towns. For me, though, that drive represents Christmas at Grandma's. It represents the Martin Family 4th of July parties. I remember passing my first car. I grin and speed up a bit too fast to zoom through the S-Curve just outside of Skiatook. It is filled with positive memories. Today, those memories surfaced like they always do, but underlined the fact that the drive would never be the same again.
The move itself went rather smoothly. We had plenty of help and it felt like old times. I've moved this furniture several times over the past few years. Everything was fine and good until we were finished. The others left first, I did a final round to make sure things were set before I dropped the keys off. I stood there in the empty living room of my Dad's last home and suddenly wept. Seeing the bare walls and empty rooms underlined the last week and a half.
"Rhys, I'm sorry. Your father has passed away."
I can still hear my uncle's voice. I wonder if it will ever go away. It's not his fault, of course. In fact, it was a minor miracle that he got in touch with me. But it is what it is. I'm fortunate, you might say, in that Dad was a separate world for me. He lived out of town. We didn't have any set routines or schedules. I saw him when I saw him. I can live my daily life, for the most part, and it's nearly identical to the time before. I can move the grief to the side for a little bit and come back to it later. It usually hits hard when it does, though. Perhaps I need to find a better balance. Perhaps it's just going to take time.