My father passed away a week ago. In the interim, the wildfires have produced orange skies and hazardous air. Ash falls everywhere, and even taking walks seems like a chore.
We also passed the six-month mark in our Sheltering in Place, which means all the easy things are done. We’ve baked and cooked and binge-watched. We’ve also worked our usual schedule.
But things are a tad easier. I don’t look at my emails, wondering what’s changed. No more texts comparing my father’s cognitive state between one visit and the next. No more tracking the credit cards to make sure my mother isn’t being billed for some service he ordered last year and forgot to cancel.
The grief is there. I dust around it as I clean. I add it to the laundry with the rags. I check it off the shopping list. I add stamps to it as I forward mail to my daughter at college.
When I couldn’t check the air quality app anymore, I started picking up the garage. I was organizing the art supplies and vacuuming last week when my father hit his last stretch. I left things half-finished, including an unopened bathroom faucet.
We had replaced the fixtures in the master bath about 10 years after fighting an incursion of black mold. The faucet was decent, but not great. The water always had a metallic taste. So I asked for a new one for Father’s Day, something expensive and German that should outlast the house. And now I finally unboxed it.
It was hard to fold myself into the space between the sink and the shower, and harder still to unscrew the old connections. The whole process took twice as long as predicted. (I think I pulled a muscle as well.)
My father used to do basic handyman stuff around the house, and it usually had this “good enough” quality. He was impatient, and aligning edges and hiding the screws wasn’t high on his list. I’m not terribly handy myself, although I have the benefit of YouTube and occasional advice from paid professionals (“Didn’t you ground that switch? What’s wrong with you?!”).
At the end of the day, I had a beautiful chrome faucet that produces a strong flow while saving water. And the water is clean and refreshing.
Happy Father’s Day to me. Miss you.