Two conversations with my father…

On the drive back from The Park last Friday, i was tired.  I’d been up late the night before at an awkward dinner event, then up before dawn in order to pick up Mom in time to make an 8:45 am appointment with the cardiologist.  Events of the morning were exhausting, but i was still facing an afternoon in the office after an hour-long drive.

After leaving Mom’s house, i had a powerful urge to visit my father’s grave – but i had an afternoon meeting, and couldn’t take the time.  Instead, i just had a chat with him in the car.  Something i’ve done before…  Typically the conversations start with “I’m trying… ” or “I’m really sorry…”.

Last Friday it was “Holy Fucking Shit!”*

A little background is in order.  While Dad was dying, we had time to talk.  No, not the actual “moment of death”**, but the four months leading up to his death.  There were several lengthy hospitalizations, and i spent many hours in his room, reading the paper while he slept, providing basic care, talking to doctors and nurses, or chatting when he was in the mood to talk.

During one of these conversations, we discussed his concerns about the inhabitants of The Park after he died.  When i was about 30 years old, prior to a trip to Europe, my parents made me executor of their estate.  I’m the youngest of four, but it had become clear that i was the only one with sufficient stability (not to mention CRZY MATH SKILZ) to handle the task.  During this particular conversation, Dad was pointing out that it was going to fall to me to look after the family when he was gone.

daisyfae:  But i’m the youngest!  It was in my contract that i’m supposed to skip through life responsibility-free!  i’m the carefree hippie…. the baby!

Dad:  Sorry.  You’re “Number One Son”.  You’re it…

daisyfae:  [sigh] Ok.  i promise i’ll look out for them…

And i have.  Well, at least i’ve tried.  Dad died in 2001.  The past 7 years have contained multiple moments of “you can’t be serious?” sprinkled with way too much “i could not possibly make this shit up”.  i haven’t even scratched the surface yet in my posts…

i have followed Kipling’s advice – “If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you” – to the best of my ability…

There is, however, a perfect storm brewing, and it’s testing the limits of my patience.  And my ability to keep the promise i made my Father.  As i spiral into menopause, no prospect of hormonal supplements because of that pesky breast cancer nugget last year, i have the potential to become highly nonlinear.  As the family faces “end of life” issues with Mom***, they have the potential to become highly nonlinear, not to mention, increasingly stupid.  Not a scenario for peace and harmony, that’s for sure….

Conjuring my Dad in the car that afternoon, i simply asked for a bit of clarification…

daisyfae:  Let’s take a look at that promise, shall we?  i said i’d “look out” for them.  Could that be interpreted as “Look out!  Here they come!”?

Dad:  [….]


* It was Good Friday and all…

** Generally recognized as poor taste to talk about “stuff” when doctors are disconnecting life support, religious officials are attempting to officiate and the like.

*** Reference: The Lion King, Walt Disney Feature Animation, Mecchi & Roberts, 1994.

12 thoughts on “Two conversations with my father…

  1. Oh, this post resonates … lately I’ve been having daily conversations with my own ghosts. I’m certain you will spiral with strength and humour, but something I learned when I lost my family was not only how to be strong, but also how to be weak. As the Number One Son, weakness is a rare luxury but I suspect your Dad understands exactly …

  2. Oh, daisyfae.

    I’m afraid I have nothing of value to offer, but if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, or someone to share a laugh with, I’m your man.

    Also, though it’s hardly consolation, it is true that we’re never given more than we’re able to handle.

  3. Does ‘looking after the family’ mean having to put up with their infantile and self-indulgent behaviour? I shouldn’t think so. I can understand you helping your mother with her heath problems at the moment (even though they are largely self-inflicted) but being Number One Son doesn’t mean that nobody else has to grow up. Just saying … might be a good idea to clearly define what your role is in terms of the promise you made to your father and then stick to it. Otherwise you risk becoming an ‘enabler’ which won’t be good for anybody, especially you. *hug*

  4. tNb – thanks. i’ve definitely got the ‘weak’ thing down, and if i didn’t have a one-hour ‘buffer zone’, would be a complete mess. these ‘ghost’ talks are healthy… in fact, i often find answers i’m hidning from. he just won’t give in on providing those winning lottery numbers…

    toby – thanks as well… and i know these are small burdens, in the grand scheme. i’m not being water-boarded, without being charged with a crime, i’m not homeless or dealing with issues of life and death. just annoyances for me, really… i just want to do what’s right.

    kyknoord – scope hasn’t changed; they were like this when he was alive. i have learned to watch those damn ‘deathbed promises’, however. not likely to agree to such things in the future!

    az – ‘tough love’ is the basic approach. a friend (and fellow refugee) puts it this way: they can either love you or respect you, but rarely both. and in his family (and mine), folks don’t come to me for hugs… i doubt i’ll have much, if any, contact once Mom is gone. and i find myself fantasizing about that future!

    nm – i have been. Dad’s a good listener…

  5. Hey girl, I talk to my dead grandfather on occasion. He understands that thinks change is pretty reasonable about accepting it. However, my mother, who is alive, well that’s another story!

  6. tony – i thought it was about arguing limitations? if i stop arguing with my responsibilities does that mean i can punt them to someone else?

    BB – Dad doesn’t say a lot to me, but it forces me to think about what he would make of a given situation. On the other hand, my Mom and oldest sister believe that he drops meaningful pennies, saves them from disaster, and is responsible for anything good that happens to them… Super Ghost and all that…

  7. Pingback: Finding my groove « Trailer Park Refugee

  8. Pingback: dignity. and the loss thereof… « Trailer Park Refugee

  9. Pingback: Tales From The Crypt (?) « Trailer Park Refugee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s