I spoke to Dad on the phone last night.
He asked me if I’d reconsidered Thanksgiving. I said no.
Even though the subjects of our conversation would change, Dad kept circling back. He said he’d fly Todd and me to California, or he’d come here. He’d come by himself. I repeated that I didn’t want to do the holidays this year. Any of them. He said to please let him know if I changed my mind. He told me that even if we didn’t have Thanksgiving together, he wanted to buy dinner for Todd and me.
Dad also hoped that I would come to a family reunion in Florida this January. Even though I kept saying I wasn’t going to be able to make it, he kept listing all the relatives that would be there as a kind of enticement. All my aunts and uncles and cousins... all the people he said that had not yet met his new wife. I did not say out loud that I was planning on staying on that list, but I did reiterate that I was just too busy.
Dad then brought up Thanksgiving again, but in a much different way. He said he was leaving for Kansas City this Thursday for two weeks. He said my new stepsister was having a cocktail party for my father and my new stepmother on Thanksgiving Day. I wondered what had happened to California. I wondered if his previous offer was still any good. Part of me wanted to blurt out that I actually really needed him and wanted him to come here for Thanksgiving, alone; but the rest of me just went silent. I was in no mood to talk about the holidays. I just wanted this phone-call to end. I just didn’t understand.
Dad then moved on to Christmas. I again said I can’t this year. He said we really need to keep the family together. I said the family will always be together which was a lie because there were only three of us and now one is gone. I told him I can’t because I’m just too sad right now.
Dad asked, “Is it because of your um friend in uh Los Angeles who oh uh um killed himself?” It’s so strange that my father would find it easier to bring that up than to talk about Mom. Mom wasn’t mentioned during the entire phone call. Not even once.
I repeated that I am just too sad right now.