September 16

I’ve become the master at pretending not to notice things.

It hurts my heart that I have to pretend so, but I do it anyway.

I pretended not to notice that it was the 11th anniversary of the date I lost my brother and my parents lost their only son. Because, maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t bring it up, their hearts would not be burdened with my sorrow. But rest assured, I remembered. And I mourned losing him on that day just like I do every birthday, every holiday, every day that one of the kids does something he would have loved.

I pretended not to recognize the significance of the 13th anniversary of 9/11. Because, my mother would have teared up, even though she knew no one in NYC and only vaguely knew of my friend who was living there. And I just couldn’t take it.

I pretend not to notice (as frequently as I can) that my father refuses to shower. I also pretend not to be hurt that he lied, either to me or to the nurses, about why. He told them he was afraid he’d fall in the shower. So we bought him a shower chair. He tells me that it’s because people knock on the bathroom door when he’s in there. Apparently, locking the door and ignoring them isn’t a feasible option. (Don’t worry, I do make him clean himself. But he won’t unless I do.)

I pretend not to notice that my children are getting taller and taller, older and older. I pretend not to worry about them when, in fact, it keeps me up at night.

I pretend not to worry about my parents and their health, and are they taking their medicines the way they are supposed to and when they are supposed to? And which doctor/specialist are you seeing today/this week? And did you write down what they want you to do or take and how often?

I pretend.

But pretending doesn’t make it so.