So last night, Jeremy left with his brother to go feed his girlfriend's dog. Hmm... So many ways to misconstrue that statement, let me try again. So last night, my brother-in-law was going to feed his girlfriend's dog, and Jeremy decided to accompany him. Anyhow, however you want to say it, I found myself home alone last night.
I turned on the TV, and I noticed that The Nutty Professor was playing. I almost scrolled right by at first, because I just assumed it was the remake, but then the year jumped out at me. I used to love that movie, and it would be a perfect diversion for an evening home alone. But for some reason, I hesitated to tune in, and I spent several minutes flipping through the other channels trying to figure out what else I might want to watch. I finally realized that my hesitation was due to the fact that I associate that movie so much with my father.
I decided to watch it. There are always going to be "first time since Dad died" moments, and you just need to press through and live your life. They happen more frequently at first, but you gradually find alternate methods of finding out those random things that you would normally have asked Dad, and eventually, "Dad would have known" becomes more of a whimsical afterthought and less of an immediate, devastating realization.
As soon as Jerry Lewis started to talk, I got choked up. My dad's impressions had been so spot on that I felt like I was watching a recording of him. But then I started to laugh, because it's such a hilarious movie, and before I knew it, I was once again enjoying a movie that had once brought be so much pleasure. In fact, the association with my dad started to become a positive force, and I think I enjoyed it more because of him.
I miss my dad. He still keeps appearing in my dreams, and one of these days, I am going to hire myself a Jungian psychiatrist and get to the root of what my subconscious is trying to tell me. At first, he showed up in my dreams as a resurrected person - ie. his death was an accepted fact, but he was alive again for whatever reason. Recently, however, he has been showing up as the father of my childhood - never having died. I'm not sure what the significance of the shift might be. Two nights ago, I dreamed that my parents and I were helping an inn-keeper build an extension onto his inn, and my father had climbed up into a place that he couldn't get down from, and he couldn't hammer in the nail that he was supposed to put in his corner because it involved bending over a plank, which he couldn't do with his bad knees. But then again, I also dreamed that I was babysitting for Leta while Dooce and Jon were at a conference in Toronto, so I am well aware that my dreams are on the wackier side of wacky and somewhere well on the other side of sane.
All that to say, I'm glad I watched The Nutty Professor last night. People grieve in different ways, and in some bizarre way, I grieved last night by watching a 1963 comedy. At least for me, the process of grief has been a series of well-spaced small breakthroughs like this. I don't think about my dad all the time, and sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't be more broken-hearted about my father's death. But it's something that is always with me, and will always be a part of me. And because it's a part of me, I can't expect my process to be the same as anyone else's - not even those in my immediate family who lived through the same things at the same time. So I honestly don't expect anyone to understand how laughing at Jerry Lewis was a healing moment for me, but then again, this is the internet. If there can be a whole website for people who like to put stuff on their cats, I'm sure it's possible that there is someone out there who grieves at least a little bit like me.