I have this theory that from the time you can understand the concept of death you start preparing yourself for the day when a parent will pass away. As the years go by and you get older and your parents get older you realize that day is closing in. It's kind of like looking at a countdown clock which has most of its bulbs incapacitated. You know that it is there looming, continuing to count down, but you just can't see the details.
Based on that, a parent's death is never completely unexpected (because you've been preparing for it your whole life). And it's not an earth-shattering event, leaving the normal person completely wrecked like you see some people become when they lose a child (please, God, never let me find out from experience what that is like).
From time to time I have run the scenarios of “that day” through my head and wondered what it would be like, how I would react, etc. You see, I'm not an emotional person - I'm a logical person. In every aspect of my life I run every scenario and alternate path through my head several times so that by the time it actually happens I already know how to react - I don't have to think.
I got the call this morning. My brother, Jeff, told me “Dad died last night.” My logic scenario generator started to kick in, saying “Okay, this is the call. We've been here before. Now it's time to...” and as quickly as it started up, it shut down. Now I don't know what to do. I'm just doing the things that I know I'm supposed to do: I'm calling anyone that hasn't heard yet, I took a shower, and we have to go to the funeral home at noon to start preparations. What do I do after that. I don't know.
Maybe man (or at least I) can't live by logic alone. All the preparation that I've done for this day doesn't make it any easier. Or at least it doesn't feel easier.