Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Slippery


Twenty years ago, I was in Los Angeles on a business trip. I awoke at 3:30 in the morning, sobbing uncontrollably. I was inconsolable in my sadness. I was overwhelmed with it. The reasons for my sadness were slippery, sliding away from me nearly as quickly as I was awakened by the sense. I didn’t fully awaken myself to the point of getting out of bed. I went back to sleep with a nearly unbearable weight on my soul.

About six hours later, I found out the cause of it. My father had died. Technically, he lived for another couple of hours, but he was gone. My stepmother let him continue to lie on the floor, covered with a light blanket, until she was sure he had slipped away physically.

Between April and July 6, 1987, I had been to Florida to be with my father for a total of more than a month. The first two weeks right before and following his first surgery to remove a brain tumor. Another week-long stay three weeks later for his second surgery. And a final 10-day stay before, it turned out, he would succumb to the melanoma just two days after I returned home.

To say the coming days, weeks, months were hard is an understatement. Never a close-knit family to begin with and further shredded when my parents had divorced 10 years previously, the recriminations and anger and feelings of lost were just too much for me to bear.

I guess, 20 years later, I realize that they weren’t too much for me to bear. I got through it. When faced with challenges after my dad’s death, I would put them all in perspective. “Was it as hard as Dad dying?” I’d ask. The answer was always an emphatic “NO!”

My father was far from perfect. [Hey, guess what? So am I.] He was my father. He loved me. I loved him. I miss him, at times more acutely than at others.

The time he has been gone has slipped quickly away, nearly as quickly as the knowledge of what caused the feelings of unbearable loss that awakened me exactly 20 years ago. I’m particularly sad that my life passed without him in it, and that he missed so much: my maturing, my children, my making amends with family, my husband, my loves, my hates, my life.

[The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is “slippery,” much as time is. Read others’ reactions to the prompt by clicking
here.]

19 comments:

Tori said...

Having lost my father in law to a brain tumor in the last year, I can immensely relate to this post.
Thank you for sharing this. The perspective that the death of a loved one can put on one's own life is truly humbling and necessary.

Clare said...

This moved me very deeply. I lost my father too, and understand how sad it can be to have your life pass without him in it, as you so beautifully wrote. Thank you.

Paul said...

A very moving and evocative piece. Thanks for sharing.

gautami tripathy said...

Sometimes we feel so guilty for no reason at all. My dad is no more. I feel the pain but I have moved on. He wouldn't have wanted me to mop around for him.

Touching post..

Rob Kistner said...

... ;(

Bug said...

Very moving post. the ending is quite beautiful

Matthew said...

Yes time does seem to slip away. Thanks for sharing this reflection and your assimilation of his life within yours.

Tammy said...

Very touching post. I lost my mom years ago from scuba diving and I often reflect on what she missed. We were not as close as I'd hope we would one day be.

lisrobbe said...

What a touching story. I have never had the experience as of yet of someone close to me passing so I can only sense through other's words I've read of the pain and guilt a person can feel in the moment.

tricia stirling said...

this is so touching. i'm glad i had the opportunity to read it.

Jennifer said...

That post is really moving and a beautiful portrayal into your heart. Thanks for sharing it...

Jolene said...

That was quite the twist on slippery. Powerful post about love, loss and moving on. You keep supplying the pieces to a very complex puzzle.

My father has lived through a horrific car accident, cancer (still living with it) and an emergency quadruple bypass. I am thankful everyday that he is still here.

I needed him more than I realized.

Jack's Shack said...

Very moving post- it is hard to say goodbye.

Yoga Gal said...

My heart broke while reading your entry, my father died two years ago and I miss him. My prayers are with you! namaste.

Poppy Fields said...

My father slipped away last year, beaten by a different cancer. I can't imagine going through anything harder than that. It's put me in a different place.

jenica said...

wow.

spacedlaw said...

A most poignant story. It looks that the hurt is just as vivid as it was 20 years ago. And the time has slipped by so fast only glossing over the fact but not mending the broken bits.

Annie said...

a beautiful and revealing post. moving forward and gaining perspective is not always easy, but it is clear that you have managed to do both. i have the same yearnings about my mother. she died when i was only 23 and did not live long enough to know my son. thank you for diving deep and making such a personal offering.

KG said...

I was very moved by your post. You are brave in the face of it. Thanks for sharing something so personal.

We have only what we have now, and must live our lives each day, even though painful circumstances often make this difficult.

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