I know what my most interesting story is.
It’s the one where I lose my mother and grandfather in a horrific car accident on a bluebird day in September of 2016. The car they were driving was a roadster that the whole family had helped to build. That isn’t the end, my childhood dog died on December 24, 2016. She had a tumor in her stomach and started acting strange while we were all opening presents and drinking craft beer around the Christmas tree. Then my father died in September of 2017. He died of cirrhosis of the liver, having spent the majority of the last decade drinking himself into deep anger and paranoia.
Gone. All of them.
Those aren’t my prettiest words though. I can do better, but I’m not sure how long it will be before I can write about all of that and do it any justice.
My most interesting story is a story of loss. Isn’t that sad.
I want my most interesting story to be about how smart I’ve been pretending to be all these years. Since 8th grade when a few teachers told me it was so.
I’m not all that smart really. Most of what I know came from being too stubborn to quit. I guess that makes me a true West Virginian.
Too stubborn to quit.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about knowing.
I know some part of me has shifted. I have a melancholy that didn’t used to be there. I hate it.
But I can’t unknow it.
Most of what I know came from learning by way of mistake. But that’s what everyone says so it doesn’t count.
I always forget that every word doesn’t have to be profound. Especially lately.
After I mean. After all that death. You forget that some things can just be nice and easy. They don’t have to be all wrought with emotion.
But a lot of people love the wrought stuff. They crave it, they want to cry when I cry.
In my mom’s eulogy I said these words.
“I’ll miss you for the rest of my life.”
I will too. I do now. I will tomorrow. And next Tuesday.
And next October, the third Thursday. I’ll miss her that day.
Not because it is any day in particular. Just because it is a day I will live through and a day she will not.
I didn’t eulogize my father at all. It wasn’t my place. It was never going to be my place. He knew it and I knew it.
We weren’t close.
When I tell people my most interesting story, after I finish, “Then my dad died almost exactly a year after my mom.”
After I finish, I say, “We weren’t close,” and I see relief wash over the face of whoever it was I was telling.
I see the relief and I feel it too. Because after you tell a sad story so many times, you start to believe it.
You start to know it. More about knowing.