Sunday, October 7, 2018

My Dad Died: How am I supposed to feel now?

My dad died three weeks, one day, eight hours and fifteen minutes ago. I’m trying to make
sense of something inevitable but no easier to accept. I was working on my fourth novel, a book I had to write so badly, that the one I’d been working on for over two years, had to be set aside. I didn’t know why I had to write about George Glass, a boy who was only partly a real boy (like Jan Brady’s imaginary boyfriend), but over the last two years, and just this week, I have made some breakthroughs.

FYI: Clarity and figuring things out doesn’t make them easier, only clearer. 

Initially, I thought I had to write my George Glass book because I was anticipating my son’s departure from my life, and so I had to kill myself in my book so that he could survive without me. This made sense. I had to write this out. I had to write this fiction in order to explore and process (this is how writers—or this writer—operates) his eventual independence and my acceptance and in order for my world to make sense, but now, since my dad died three weeks ago today (9-14-18, 3:45 pm), I understand that it was right around the time that the George Glass story demanded my attention and I abandoned the other book, that my dad was diagnosed with cancer. It was around this time that both losses become evident on a subconscious level. I would lose my son, and I would lose my parents, and I didn’t want to lose anyone, not to adulthood or death—the ultimate loss. 

I didn’t understand any of this, what my monkey-writers’ mind was doing to me, until just this week. In between remembering my dad’s last moments, the gurgle in his lungs, a bad joke I made while reading from his favorite book, a book that he’d read to me, The Collected Works of Robert W. Service, a book my mother had given him and autographed in 1967, I heard silence, and I knew that he was gone. I had moved a rocking chair into his bedroom. He was in pain. I had decided to administer liquid morphine. I actually translated his moans: “Micki, please help me. Please, Moose.” And I did. I gave him more morphine. I kissed his cheek. His dog, Polly, was by his side. This image of my father, emaciated, a shell of a human being, marches like an angry soldier through my mind. Why? Stupid question. Because I want him back. I want the man before the cancer. I want his strength. He used to say, “You mess with the bull, you get the horns.” 
When I was a teenager, if someone wanted to take me on a date, my dad had a “sit-down” with him. The one-sided conversation went like this: “God damn it, son. I know what you are. You’re nothing but a hard-dicked son of a bitch. How do I know? Because I was just like you. You better keep your dick in your pants around my daughter.”
Word spread fast.
“Don’t take her out unless you can bypass going to her house.”
I don’t write nonfiction, creative or otherwise, but here I go, because I miss my dad. 

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