Where is the universe now?
To start at the ending, the pleasant part of the day -- Julia and I spent the day, the afternoon and evening, at the Animal Kingdom. I made the mistake of doing a ride called Dinosaur. It is semi-based on the Disney movie of the same name, and although I knew it was a bit scary, I thought that the dino theme would make it acceptable to Julia. It was a fantasy ride back in time. It was a rough, quick ride with lightening, steam, and dinosaurs jumping out. It scared the begeebers out of my girl! She screamed through most of it and grabbed me around the neck and held tight. There may be deep gouges in my neck where Julia held on tight.
The rest of that day we walked around, stopping at shows and rides, ending with the Lion King show -- the last of the day -- which was splendid.
But the way the day began. Ugh!
I called David's father early this morning to check in with him for our visit tomorrow. I had rented a car and paid for a room for tomorrow night. It is a 3 hour drive from here to Deerfield Beach where they live, but I thought the chance to see Dad and Claire, even if it was for a day was worth it all.
Last week, when I was on the phone with Dad, he made a comment about my coming to see him for such a short time. I felt terribly guilty for not planning to spend more time with them. This morning, he told me not to come to visit them. Claire is not feeling well, which I knew from last week. Even then I suggested that we come and stay for a short time, maybe bring some food in for a meal if we wanted to do that together. But he told me today that they have doctor's appointments tomorrow afternoon and on Wednesday morning and would prefer not to see us. Right after he told me that he switched the conversation and asked about Cheshire, as if the total change in our plans was no more than a passing inconvenience.
I was stunned and shocked for so many reasons and then could not shake it for hours. It took hours to rearrange the tomorrow. We are not going to drive down to Deerfield beach tomorrow just to stay at the hotel and turn around and come back to Orlando to catch a flight on Wednesday home. Instead, we will stay at Disney but change hotels tomorrow morning. It stung to eat the cost of the car and Boca hotel, and then turn around and pay for another day at disney at almost twice the cost of where we are at present, plus to extend our park tickets for another day. Julia was disappointed not to see grandma and grandpa, and for once, I was grateful not to have to explain why we were not going.
But what lasted for the bulk of the day, was, for better or worse, the feeling of abandonment. One more time. David's father and I are not incredibly close but I thought I had taken good care of him since David's transplant and death. I have been there for him, at least on the phone, when he was looking to blame someone, when he wanted to just prattle on about losing David. I tried to ease his guilt when he did not come to the memorial. I call to check on him often, I made the effort to visit him when I was out east.
I don't think that this is a personal rejection, not really. He is an old man and he has a very difficult wife who is older and not well. It was probably not convenient to see Julia and I right now. But why wait until today? Why not say something last week? Or when I originally called to tell him we were coming down? Did he imagine that we would change our minds? Did he think that we would not show up once I made the plans? Did he imagine that there were not plans to be made to visit them as part of our trip from Wisconsin?
And I cannot help but feel, however unjustly, that it is because it was Julia and I. If it was David or Cheshire, time would have been made. But it is just me, just the wife, just someone who is not really family.
And that is what stings. That is what has had me close to tears for most of today. Just one more punch in the gut. Gosh, he is what? 92? 93? Every visit could be our last. And he doesn't really care whether he sees me or Julia. Not now. Not any last time, if that is what it is.
So, I moped around and had a hard time for most of the day. And I am over most of it now. My resiliency is low, I can't take it. I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to and I get hurt and take a slight much too much to heart. I had wondered about David's family. Wondered about my place now that he is gone. Once, many years ago, David's Aunt Lois, who I liked so much, referred to herself as one of the "outlaws" -- inlaws who were not really part of the family. I could not believe that she could feel that way. She was integral and central to the family, at least in my mind. Maybe at some point, she had felt this sting.
My family of origin, my parents, were not generous. They did not really welcome anyone into the family. Inlaws might earn a place if they were useful, but there were ever open arms. I experienced David' family differently. And I might have been very foolish.