Saturday, December 3, 2022

On the One Year Anniversary of my Father's Death


Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of Papa Callan’s death.

The date came upon me suddenly. I have been busy all year, and immersed in my role as “executor of his estate.” I know—this sounds a little high falutin. The truth is, it was not high falutin at all. It was a dirty job, especially the part that involved cleaning out his house, or as he called it--his "Bachelor Pad."

Let's just say, it needed a lot of cleaning out. 

But someone had to do it. And that someone was me.

During the past year I railed against all the work in front of me—not just the cleaning, but sorting through the documents, separating out valuable personal property and safely disposing of Papa Callan’s income tax returns going back to the 1940’s, stuffed into the dust-covered filing cabinets in the basement of his house. Ahem, Bachelor Pad.

After we held an estate sale, I sold the house and then, all that was left was signing and notarizing documents, phone calls with the attorney, the bank, the brokerage house. More paperwork. More visits to the post office.

It was an exhausting year. 

And yet. And yet.

I miss all the work—not because I actually liked the work, but because it was the last thing I could do for Papa Callan. All through the year, I felt a closeness to him and this sense that he was watching over me. And like a good daughter, I wanted to make him proud of me.

Surprisingly, while I railed against the task at hand, I also felt particularly alive to the world, as if my entire body was buzzing with the knowledge that this was important, this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

And now, it’s over. All that hard work is done. And this has left me with a new kind of fresh sadness. An emptiness. 

And yet, I know that if Papa Callan were here with me, he would say, “but you had fun, didn’t you?” 

And I would say, No! I did not have fun! It was hard work! 

However, after much resistance and more than a few tears, I would slowly (perhaps even a little begrudgingly) admit that yes--I had fun.

Creative friends, your assignment for this week is to re-frame something that feels impossible and confusing and chaotic and unfinished and even slightly ridiculous--as a creative opportunity. Look at this task before you--not as some odious chore, but as a part in a game you are playing. Think of it as your own version of Dungeons and Dragons, in which you are the hero. Give yourself a special outfit, perhaps a cape, a sword. Boots. Definitely a cool hat. Step into your life as hero with a little extra swagger, and then simply witness the transformation of the landscape in your own unique story, something that only you could create.

And as always, have fun.



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