Priorities

I’ve yet to write much about my Dad – not sure i’m ready.  He died in 2002.  Rather than tackle that, here’s an indirect look, providing another glimpse of life in The Park.

Dad was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer in 1998.  The prognosis was grim, with somewhere between 6-12 months expected.  Mom, a retired psych nurse, proved to be a rather remarkable caregiver, devoting incredible energy to keeping him alive.  He lived until 2002, and of the last years, there were some good moments and her efforts gave us more time.

Genetically, we are not a family of ‘wasting away’ people – even after over 3 years of chemo, he was still around 260 lbs when he died.  After a fall in his room, it became obvious that we might need to rearrange the clutter in the house to allow better access for the emergency squad if necessary.

I suggested to Mom that we temporarily move a bookcase full of old record albums to the garage to clear a path down the hallway.   This was reinforced by my brother-in-law, a paramedic. 

Her response:  “We’ll just go out the window with him…”

Before i could censor myself: “Did you just say that a bookcase full of dusty old records is more important to you than my dying father’s dignity?”

Defensively – “that’s not what i said…”

“Well that’s what i heard”.

My brother-in-law and i quietly moved the bookcase to the garage that weekend.  And after Dad died, i moved it back without fanfare. 

Every time i visit, i see it sitting there, amidst the overwhelming clutter.  Unused.  Covered with dust. Still pissing me off…

Things before people. 

Not a conscious thing…hardwired into her.  Growing up during the depression did that to some people.  But it’s always there – and i’m still trying to let it go.

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8 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. My God, I can relate to so much of this. While growing up, I often felt that I was from another planet. I definitely lived in a different reality! I, too, am still trying to let it go.

    Mark

  2. I used to say that I was “raised by wolves” until I realised that this was hugely unfair to wolves everywhere. Letting go is so hard, even when it makes no logical sense to hang on. Maybe the question to ask is why not letting go is so important to us.

    Yesterday we did a really cool thing in yoga class during the breathing exercise part. I know this is going to sound flaky as hell, but anyhoo … it was an exercise to breathe in ‘positive’ and exhale ‘negative’ and the instructor said to try and imagine breathing in gold light. Well, for me the colours kept changing when I inhaled – I got gold light at first, then a shimmery silver and also a fabulous sparkling ruby red. But breathing out always looked the same, like billowing clouds of dark smoke, the kind you see coming out of industrial smokestacks. And I felt wonderfully ‘cleansed’ after we finished, which surprised me because I’m usually very sceptical about this kind of thing.

    And for sure I’d be rolling my eyes if someone wrote about it on my blog. 😉

  3. Mark – appreciate your ‘resonance’. here’s to letting go… and although i feel like an extraterrestrial sometimes, the truth is, i’m cut from this cloth. the struggle is to find some redemption in it, and use the powers for good, rather than stupidity.

    az – not rolling my eyes at all. maybe it’s because i’m groggy after a fitful sleep, but i had a glimmer of the ‘in with the good air’ as the kind and supportive words i’m getting from the blogosphere, and the dark, smoky stuff as the words i’m putting out there as my ‘purge’. oh, and it’s nice of you to respect the wolves (i may have to borrow that phrase…)

    nm – thank you. i hope to sprinkle this darker stuff in gently, with a liberal mix of silliness and light. don’t want to just be a pathetic ’emo girl’ out here… besides, if i let it all out at once, i suspect it would be incoherent!

  4. uw – Thanks. Dad gave me an amazing gift before he died. He told me that he had no regrets, and although he wasn’t really looking forward to dying, he was as ready as a man can be. He didn’t want heroics, didn’t want to suffer, and didn’t want to linger with a pack of weeping and wailing people around him. I was able to deal with the first two, but i could only keep the ‘weeping wailers’ at bay for so long. i miss him every single day. if there’s any good in me at all, i’m pretty sure where i got it!

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