The fog of losing my dad lays heavy today; there’s sadness around the edges, but a big soft blankness as well.

I veer between an urge to accomplish one of the many tasks death brings, outrage that I can’t be with my brother and stepmom at this time, and a strange inability to locate or pin down any appropriate, or proximate, feeling.

There are lots of inappropriate feelings, or at least odd ones. One is not an orphan in one’s 50s; it’s not the right word, and out of scale. Yet I am now motherless and fatherless, left by both. Surviving both. Then on the other end of the spectrum I keep hearing Oscar Wilde’s Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest chide “To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”

I did not misplace them, but I can’t help feel that somehow I overlooked them, or was looking the wrong way for a minute. I definitely wish I’d paid more attention, though of course in the moment with parents everything is so intense; I often wished for less, not more.

On the other hand, they’re both so present. My dad had such a specific way he wanted everything done. Logically, efficiently, but most of all the way he pictured it. He was usually right. Mom on the other hand could laugh about almost anything, and wanted everyone to get their way. She hated to say no, but would always put the family first and protect us from anyone and anything.

I know they’re both embedded deep in me, and have formed me. In that sense I bring them forward, even as they stay behind.

Photo of Ted Kerr by Gabriel Harbor