Monday, July 28, 2008

Watching my father die...

I wasn't going to say anything.

This weekend was so intensely person, spending awkward, uncomfortable moments with a man who is slowly dying right in front of our eyes. As I drove back from Arizona - as I stood at a rest stop outside of Quartzite - I thought, "Now there's something you're never going to write about. How do you make jokes about your father dying? Cause that's what I do. If I'm not comfortable about something, I joke about it."

But you just can't joke in that situation. My father gave me this look that said, "I hate everything about this." And I nodded. It's just not fair, this situation, this hospital bed he lives in planted in the dead-center of his living room, knowing he's dying, knowing that everybody knows it, which makes it so irritating when someone tries to slip into denial or when people talk about prayer. Excuse me. He's dying! What part of that don't you get?

The only positive thing to come out of this sentence was that my father and I finally spoke directly to each other for the first time in years, since he got sick, at least. It's so easy to slip into plattitudes and denial. Then, after, you realize that could have been your final words and what a schmuck you are.

This weekend, my father told me how awkward it felt to be so sick in front of his son and I told him I understood. Then, when I left, I told him I loved him and that what he's going through does nothing to diminish that. Then, I said goodbye.

I'm glad I had a chance to undo the stupid platitudes of last time, the "Hope you get better" denial of my words. Hopefully, I learned something, because I don't think things get easier from here.

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