Sphere of Influence

It really is amazing the amount of things the death of one person can effect. There are of course the obvious things; extra cell phone lines, personal email addresses, joint bank accounts, social security, extra cars, health insurance, less food to buy, less noise in the house; extra books, pairs of shoes by the front door, a drawer full of nothing but blue socks when you're looking to steal a pair of black ones; and pill bottles, and cheap plastic reading glasses strewn throughout the house.

But deeper than that are the intangibles. I've heard the same things over and over in the past few days. Many people have said that my father was a great storyteller, that I look like him, and that they've never seen so many grown men cry. A woman and her husband from down the street stopped by today with flowers, saying she noticed that something was missing lately, and then realized that she hadn't seen my father taking his daily walk carrying his walking stick and that he would be missed.

A lot of things went screwy today. It's as if entropy has sped up since his death; decay has overcome order. My father's 40 year old Sears electric drill crapped out, we broke jigsaw blades, screws, and nails, tripped circuit breakers, the lid sensor on my mother's 2 month old washing machine died, and my sister noticed that one of my fish named Peaty, which is now in my dad's fish tank, is getting fin rot. He was the only one who knew how to care for the fish correctly, which chemicals work, which are a waste of money, etc; now we have to figure it all out from scratch. The teacher wiped the slate clean before we ever got a chance to jot it down.

Today, Mark and I were finishing repairs we started weeks ago to the cabana out in the backyard of my mother's house (on Mark's birthday no less, what a trooper) and we were looking everywhere for a small circular saw which I know my dad owned when I realized that the one person who knew where it could be found was gone forever. The only encyclopedic knowledge of the streets of Waterbury, gone. The only person to know the correct procedure for closing our idiosyncratic pool, gone. The person, who when my sister wanted bowling shoes in the 7th grade, got a pair in her size put in the mailbox the next afternoon, gone. That, plus a million other little tidbits and mysteries, any stories or experiences, lessons or emotions which he never communicated are now gone for good. As if they never existed in the first place.

Was my father special in this regard? Well yes, I think perhaps his sphere was larger than most, but this is true of all people to some extent. I'm not entirely sure what I'm trying to get across here or what you should do with the information. I guess I'm just offering a new perspective on the people around you which isn't normally evident except in situations like this. As Joni Mitchell once said:

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone

Take from it what you will.