or some variation thereof. I understand that my father is dying. My childhood babysitter wrote an email to tell me, although I had also heard through the grapevine that he was unwell. These conversations always start with, "I wasn't sure if you knew..." "I don't know how to tell you..." "I thought you'd want to know..." Thank god the majority of them are taking place by email where my expressionless face doesn't make matters worse. (I have a "blank mask" from my MD unless I am being very animated. I don't fake expressions at all.) And so, it's "Thank you for letting me know, I had heard rumors..." Of course nothing from family. I grieved the loss of my parents over a decade ago. I'm glad that I don't have to be there to be inspected for "appropriate reactions of grief". I'm sure that I would be poked and prodded if I didn't respond appropriately and we all know how much I like that. There was a cheap airfare to PDX and I actually booked just to see friends and hang out the week around Labor Day. I hate to say this, but I hope that's all over and done with by then. It would be boorish of me to be in town and actually not participate in some way in the rituals. I hope this doesn't sound awful, but it will be a relief when they are gone to everyone else as they are to me, and I will no longer be expected to somehow repair this broken thing.