As I’m writing this I am sitting in the room where, I can only presume, my dad took his last breaths. There is a new bed for me to sleep on and it definitely is different but I can’t shake the feeling that this is where he most likely left. I haven’t really grieved at all or done much of anything. I think other people are more sad than I am. So right now I feel like remembering my dad for whatever reason.
My dad wasn’t a great person and I’m not suddenly going to pretend that he was after his passing. He did have occasional moments where he was a good father and more where he wasn’t. Both literally and fundamentally we were two different people. Essentially he could never understand who I am or will become and I will never understand who he was. In the time leading up to his death I did my best to distance myself from him in an effort to preserve some memory of him that he wasn’t. I knew the type of man he was and I tried my best to pretend that person wasn’t my father.
As a child you grow up learning from your parents, for better and for worse. You take their ideas and adopt them into your own. It took me a while, and other people telling me so, that some of the things my parents taught me, most of it not on purpose, was wrong. I had an existential crisis after high school where I was forced to confront myself and understand who I was as a person. Unfortunately that person would never be accepted by my parents. I questioned the religion I grew up with and my own sexuality. In some ways I made compromises, taking a bit from both which ultimately made me who I am today the person sitting behind a computer screen writing this out to whomever wishes to read it.
My political, religious and world views changed away from that of my family. As I grew more aware I saw them for the flawed human beings that they were and was forced to accept them but they not me. Knowing this I stayed away from my father as much as I possibly could but I would always get moments or glimpses of reality. As a child you see your parents as giants, towering above you in more ways than just height. My parents are actually fairly short and it didn’t take long for me to surpass their height but they still stayed these near mythical figures only spoken of in hushed tones lest I face their wrath. My dad had an annoying habit of calling me up under the guise of assisting him with something only to find out he was lonely and just wanted to talk. I was annoyed because I was just doing other things but more so because he forced me to face him. The man who I had grown to admire, then fear, then hate, then wished to avoid now laid before me in an emaciated body to which I could only compare it to a skeleton or a starving child. Of course this man was not a child suffering from starvation but someone in his late seventies.
My final moments with him were not with him. Just a month earlier my mom called me up to go visit him in the hospital. I sat by his bed for around an hour, he completely unaware I was even there. I left, for various reasons. Some weeks later my mom called me again and essentially begged me to spend some time at our old home in the room I am now sitting in. Again I was there and he was not, his mind somewhere else I could not and did not want to follow. The last few minutes I was there he believed I wasn’t even in the room but talking to him on the phone. He wished me well, in his own way, expressing how proud he was at my current achievements and handed me the nonexistent phone for me to hang up.
After that I may have thought about him a total of twenty times. Mostly my mom telling me I should come visit and I would make absolutely every excuse to not. In the end the only reason I am here is because I lost my job, because I am losing my current home, is because I lost someone in my life that I felt would become my spouse. When we lose everything all we can do is go back, and back for me is to a home that I desperately never wanted to visit ever again. And now a person that I didn’t want to see or talk to or even acknowledge existed is gone from my life and I don’t know what to do. I don’t have a job to throw myself into, my home is not stable and I can’t rest my head on the lap of someone I care about. I thought I lost so much already and now I lost something I didn’t even realize I could lose.
This has been an unusual experience to say the least. Right now I don’t feel like crying, I don’t feel like laughing, I don’t feel like yelling or screaming. I feel like crawling up into a ball and cradling what little I have left, for fear it will also be taken away from me. I wonder what else I can lose, what else can be taken away from me. Right now it just feels like I’m holding sand and the tighter I grip the more pours out through my fingers. I don’t know what to do or where to go. All I know is I feel more afraid than I ever have. All I know is my dad is gone to a place I don’t know where and I can’t follow.