I’ve shied away from gushing at length about my Dad’s death here. Mainly I think of my own “guy” reaction to other people’s family-death turmoils. It’s a personal thing, or should be, and you shouldn’t go flashing it around in public too much.
But I also feel that I owe all of you something. Periodic updates, I guess. Those of you who donated to make possible my visit to his side at the hospital, I want you to know … well, that a very human thing happened, and continues to happen, and it’s all thanks to you. I didn’t want anybody to think I had just shrugged it all off, and that posts months back were the last you’d hear. I still think a book is a real possibility.
Meanwhile, I thought I might give you a little window into what’s going on by posting a brief note from my tape journal from a couple of days ago.
I don’t want us to wallow in this. Meaning: This is not pandering for sympathy, and I don’t want anybody to feel obligated to express it. I think all the stuff that’s happening is something of a natural process, and I just have to live in it for a bit until all the necessary internal gear-turning has a chance to take place.
(In some small part, I think I’m also throwing this in the face of all those godders who’d claim atheists are cold, hateful people. I’m saying “Hey, not only am I an atheist, I’m an atheist guy, and I’m capable of feelings like this.”)
Think of me as an explorer, traveling through this experience and taking notes along the way. This is just one of the notes:
Feb 21, 2012 10:25 a.m.
Sometimes I think I’m recovering from the death of my Dad faster than past deaths. Other times …
There’s a part of me that doesn’t want to recover. A part that thinks that if you ever get over somebody’s death, you didn’t really love them enough. Death should break you into little pieces, knock you to your knees forever, wound you so much it makes you bleed and never stop bleeding, cry and never stop crying.
I’m thinking about him right now, saying “Goddamit, Old Man, I wish you were here. There’s so much I still want to say to you. Things I want to do with you. Just sitting down for a pizza would be enough. Or taking just one more walk along the canal with a couple of big goofy dogs, so I could tell you again how much you meant to me.
Argh. I miss you, goddamit. Why’d you have to go and die on me? I wasn’t done with us yet.
I wanted … I wanted to grow up and be a man that you could really admire. You’d say “That’s my son!” with pride. And now it’s just going to be me who has to figure that out – whether or not I’m somebody you could be proud of. And I’ll never hear you say it. I guess I do know you were proud of me. Hell, you showed me, over all those years, but oh man, I wish I could hear it.
So here I am on whatever date this is: I sail along through my days, and most of the time it doesn’t really hurt that much. But when I call him to mind, oh hell, it hurts!
I miss him. I want him back. I want him still in my life.
I wanted to be The Kid for a little bit longer. To have this guy standing in front of me, and everything life could throw at me, it would splash off him. He’d be my own personal superhero, only instead of tights and a cape, he’d be standing there in blue jeans, a western shirt, boots and chaps. And nothing in the world could get past him – his strength and his warm smile and Ha! his battle-scarred fists – enough to hurt me.
And then after a while the superhero would be me. So he could retire and enjoy life, be safe and healthy and loved, and I’d be there so that nothing in the world could ever touch him.