Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More of me talking about my father, skip it if you're not interested

I've been avoiding my blogging duties for the past few days. I've been busy, sure, but I've definitely been avoiding it. Like last night I was about to get on here and go at it but I decided to return a long overdue phone call instead. Then I watched, "Death of a Salesman", the film version with Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich...bad thespian that I am, I'd never seen it before, neither on stage or screen. Goddamn did it put me in a funk. It's just a bit too easy to see yourself/myself, and the people that you/I know in that story.

So yeah, I've been avoiding this a bit. I don't think I realized I was doing it, but I did realize that there was a lot going on in my head that I needed to sort out. And I also recognize that I think best through the act of writing. And perhaps I understand somewhere deep down that many of the things that I need to sort out are kind of scary and a bit sad.

It's storming outside and my beagle is hiding under my desk.

My father died last October but I am only now beginning to grieve for him. I'm only now coming to know who he was through his mother and sisters, my new grandmother and aunts. And I'm coming to understand that the picture I had of him was not quite right. You see, he wasn't quite the monster I had imagined him to be. The guy I'd carried in my head is someone else that I'd cobbled together from a few pictures and a few impressions passed on by my mother, who has never forgiven him for their relationship.

So just as I'm coming to know this man in the limited way that I can, I am also simultaneously beginning to get the first inkling of what it means to be a father since I'm going to be one in about six months. I just can't get over that timing. That's just ridiculous. My therapist thinks so too. And now I'm grieving for him, that he died alone in such a dark sad state. I grieve for myself that I never met him, never talked to him, that it never occurred to me to look him up, and that the people who knew where he was didn't think to tell me. I hope in this life that my list of regrets will be short and inconsequential, but that is one of them.

But in the middle of this grief, there's something else. There's this odd sense that something is sliding into its right place, thus creating a more complete whole. It's as if something was missing, but nobody noticed, and now it's been found and put back where it belongs, and it makes the picture sharper and clearer and more whole, but I'm hard pressed to point out exactly what was added that wasn't there before. But it's definitely better and I'm glad it's there now.

And it's not that life is now this miserable mess. Nor is it a sunny meadow full of bunny rabbits and butterflies (which actually sounds rather hellish in my view, but you get me). The sheer amount of feeling that I've been doing as of late has been kind of breathtaking. Within any given hour in the last few weeks, I've been elated, grieved, angry, grateful, amazed...it's been this rich tapestry of emotions. And somehow through it all, I've still got this odd kind of calm that I don't know what I did to foster. Not perfect calm, mind you, I've been plenty agitated at times, even a bit snippy, but it's this kind of big picture recognition, even when I'm crying my eyes out, that all this stuff makes some kind of sense. I may be grieving, but I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to grieve. I may not have known my father, but I'm grateful that my child will know me. I don't know. It makes some kind of sense to me, but not in a way I can easily articulate, which is frustrating for a person like me. Ah well. More to come I'm sure.

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