I took R and her boyfriend to her first formal dance last night. It was touching to watch her and her boyfriend walk together towards the entrance of the dance. The Winter Ball. She looked beautiful.
During this milestone in my daughter’s life, when I should be thinking only of R, in the back of my mind there is Annette. She does not detract from the pride I have in R. Nor does it cast a pall over a happy time for everyone. But knowing she is in the hospital overshadows so many things.
Annette and R’s mother came to my house this evening. She and my wife worked together to help R get ready for the dance. There was no drama or trouble. That is one of the ways the incident affected things. Cooperation, squabbles cast aside, togetherness; all it took was for one of my daughters to be run down by a drunk driver.
Annette is now this irresistible force imposing its power on my life. Things that might take precedence under any other circumstances, are affected by Annette. She sucks up my time and energy. This is not a complaint, just the new normal in my life.
This past Monday I went to see Annette as usual, but after the funeral of my step-sister. My wife and R and I went to the funeral and left to the hospital immediately. We missed the gathering afterwards.
Not that it wasn’t important. I have known my step-sister for over 30 years, since we were both kids. Her death came as quite a shock to me, to everybody. At any other time it might have come as a slap in the face, a sharp and cold reminder of my own, and everybody else’s, mortality.
When my step-sister died two weeks ago, it was a shock. It was a minor shock, however, compared to what I am already dealing with; just another piece of bad news to deal with in an already difficult time.
I am no longer in circumstances which allow me to ignore the rest of the world and cater to Annette. R, my baby, is becoming a woman. In a little over a month she will be 18 years old and I don’t want this important time in her life overshadowed by what happened to her sister. Nor do I want belittle what Annette is going through. Then there is my wife, and work, and everything else.
Life goes on.