on death, you know, that thing we don’t talk about
I have had every intention of writing here over the last few days but I just haven’t been able to get the words down. You see, Sunday was the first anniversary of my father’s passing. It just really sucks to write about so I’ve been avoiding this space. Of course, there’s no way to avoid actually thinking. I can’t shut off my brain as easily as I can my computer.
It is easy enough not to talk about it though. Most people don’t really want to discuss death and dying. It’s too messy, too hurtful. It hits too close to the heart, so we gloss over it. I’m fine, I’m fine, we all say, rather than speak the truth, that a piece of you is missing, gone forever. We’ve all experienced it, haven’t we? So why the silence? It’s because hearing about someone else’s pain makes us think of our own. A grandparent or parent lost, or some other dearly loved one. Avoid. Avoid. Mortality bites.
I believe would all rather think of death in generic terms. Sad events happening in far off places are easier to cry over than cancer in the house. I can bawl at a sappy scene in a movie but real life hospital rooms and funeral parlors just make me numb. I can only assume I’m not alone in doing that since no one actually speaks of such things.
Well, at this moment I’d like to speak of my father but it’s easier to write it here than to say any of it aloud. Who was he? A father of seven, he was Pop to us. A husband of 50 years, yes, they made it to 50 last August, with three-ish months to spare. Grandfather of 17, soon to be 18, and with them Pop became Pepere. Catholic, always and forever. Engineer, artist extraordinaire, fixer of all things. He and flawed and kind and wonderful. I say all of this because these words describe him, but yet he was so much more than a few nouns and adjectives. He was the sum of years of 77 years of life, and love, and light.
I can’t look at a sunset and not imagine him painting it. I can’t pick up the phone and not yearn to call him. I can’t go to their house without glancing at his chair, expecting to see him reading, or well, snoring there. I can’t hold a broken electrical anything and not laugh at how he would have stashed it away for parts. I can’t help but for wish we’d had more time with him, for myself, and for my son. I can’t stand it, no, I hate it that he’s dead. Dammit.
I hope you don’t think I’m crazy or depressed. (Well maybe a little crazy but not so much certifiably.) Sometimes grief just looks like this. It ebbs and it flows like the tides, and it’s not a bad thing to let it loose once in awhile.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you could do me a favor; don’t tell me how sorry you are. I know you’re sorry. You can’t read this kind of a brain dump and not feel some sadness. Instead, I’d rather you tell me a little something about someone you’ve loved, and and miss, and hardly ever talk about. Even though it hurts. Writing it down helps, I swear.
In return, I’ll show you one of my father’s paintings, one of my favorites:
and one of my recent photos:
Sunsets. It’s a family thing.
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