My blog is named “Simply Eliska”.
These days, it feels like nothing is quite so simple.
Several months ago, I told a friend Eliska represented my new identity after a very intense growing period, but that I felt like anything painful that I’d felt since I’d pushed beneath the surface to Allison. I then confided that it felt like Allison was becoming unburied, and I was going to have to deal with all that dolor at once.
Then my dad died.
Two weeks ago, I was moving away from Colorado. I called my dad to tell him I was at his sister’s place for the night. It was so brief, maybe 15 seconds. “Hi Dad. I’m safe. I’ll see you soon.”
Two hours later, he was gone.
My dad lived for 22,725 days. I was alive for 9458 of them.
People keep telling me that we’re handling his death well.
I don’t really know why.
Sometimes I’m sitting still and realize that tears are slipping beneath my chin, unbidden. Sometimes I’m laughing. Sometimes I feel nothing but absence. Sometimes I swear I hear Dad walking up the stairs.
My Dad slipped from this earth without warning.
I’m at the first place I called home. And suddenly, I’m not “simply Eliska” anymore. There’s no one in this county who calls me by that name.
I’m not even “simply Allison” these days.
I’m a grieving daughter. I’m a sister. I’m part of 130 years of history on this farmstead. I’m pulling my family into the world I had crafted independently for myself – here, Mom, let me add you to my AAA. Here, everyone, let me put you on my cellphone plan instead. I’m the answer to “Where are you these days?” and one of the rare times where people are 100% genuine in asking “How are you doing?”
I am not a barista. I am not a nomad.
Not these days.
These days I’m the scribbler.
I scribble thank you notes. I scribble the dates and notes from meetings as we take note of how to settle the estate. I scribble text messages to friends who have gone through similar situations, asking, “Did you feel… Did you do… Why?” I scribbled my Dad’s eulogy. And now I scribble here. I scribble because right now, it feels like the only thing I actually know how to do. It feels like the only place that still makes sense. I scribble because in my words I can begin to process this new version of normal that I wasn’t prepared to enter.
There’s very little simple in my life right now.
I got into the tractor a few days ago, and when I turned it on, I heard music playing softly in the background. I turned it up.
Bright fields of joy
Dark nights awake in a stormy bed
I want to go with you, but I can’t follow
So keep to the old roads
Keep to the old roads
And you’ll find your way
I wept, as I listened to a song that felt like my Dad was reaching across eternity to talk to me one more time. I wept for all the conversations I wanted to have while I was home. I wept for all the things my Dad will never be a part of as my life continues forward, and all the things I wanted him to be there for. I wept for my Mom, that her other half who looked at her with such adoration and cared for her so gently, was gone. I wept. I weep.
I was so lucky.
I had a father for almost 26 years who loved his family, and whose kindness and intelligence spread throughout the community.
I want my Dad back.
I want my parents to continue to live the American Dream.
I want to be a whole, complete family.
So today I scribble.
Today I write, and remember those 9000 days with my dad, and the stories of the years before I was born.
Life isn’t simple right now.
But I’m going to be simply Allison, the farmer’s daughter.
“Hi Dad. I’m safe. I’ll see you soon.”