1-11-2018 Remembrance

Posted in : about life/the Christian faith,stream of consciousness/random

1-18-2018 Remembrance

January 11, 2010.
Eight years ago.

That was the day that we learned my father had died.

I remember a lot of weird details about that day, and then there are other weird details about that day I *don’t* remember, too. A lot of it was blurry—like, not that I don’t remember any of it, cuz like I said, I *do*. But even some of the stuff I *do* remember was blurry because it was just so surreal that this was happening to us.

One thing I remember feeling—that I still feel to this day—is the feeling that the air has been completely let out of your world, never to really be let back in again. It still feels that way.

It feels that way because I actually *cared* about my father. I had a *good* relationship with him. So many people *don’t* have a relationship with their father, or they aren’t *real* with their father, and their father isn’t *real* with them. That wasn’t the case with my father and me. We said all we needed to say to each other. Nothing was left unsaid. Even though it still feels like the air has been let out of my world, ever since that morning 8 years ago when he died, one of the few little *crumbs* of peace to which I can hold is that things were not left unsaid between my dad and me. He and I had a few disagreements about a few things, before he died. But, it wasn’t really a lot. I loved him, I got along with him, I loved spending time with him. I *looked* like him (apparently—people say that), I *thought* a lot like him. I work a lot like he worked. We had a few ways we thought differently about things, but we both knew it, and we both moved past it. It was everything from a few disagreements we had in years previously that we did resolve and wrap-up, to long-term opinions about things that were never truly resolved (like how he was not a fan of my longer hair, the fact I listened to hip-hop music, the types of some of the girls he was aware that I liked, etc). But he went to his grave knowing everything I thought about him, I said everything to him I needed to say, he said everything to me he needed to say (I’m assuming, anyway, maybe I assume too much). There’s an obnoxious peace in that. (Incidentally, one of the other obnoxious pieces of peace to which I try to cling is that “At least I don’t have to watch him get old”. I’d rather he was here—but at least I don’t have to see him get old and decrepit, and I can remember him how he was.)

Our father wasn’t slop-sugar, he didn’t say-really-nice-lovey-dovey-things. He was a realist. He didn’t sugarcoat things. He also didn’t put up a mask and act differently around different groups of people and then also act differently at home, which is all stuff that SO many other peoples’ fathers do; and like SO many of us are tempted to do, as we grow up. But we shouldn’t be that way. It’s better when we’re not that way. The fact that my father did not put on airs, or put up masks, made me love and respect him more than almost any other things he did, could have done, didn’t do, etc.

Also, he actually didn’t particularly ENJOY talking about the difficult-to-talk-about-things, but he made it a point to make sure and let us know that we *COULD* talk to him, whenever we felt like we wanted to or needed to. And he didn’t just SAY, “ya know, you can talk to me if you ever need to” just so he could somehow check a box under “Fatherhood” and SAY, “well, I *told* ‘em they could talk to me”; no, he actually did it, and it actually made things better when he did talk out things with us. He’d give us his HONEST opinion on stuff, when it was one of those topics for which there are no easy answers. He’d tell us, “Ways he’d heard it thought about”, “What ideas for-or-against” it were, and then “How he thinks about it”, and then, we’d have to make our own choice. That was for the, like I say, more difficult life-things for which there aren’t the black-and-white answers. Certainly, when it was something we needed to talk about that *DID* have an easy answer, heh, you were gonna know what that easy answer was, haha.

Bouncing back to the day he died, one thing I remember is the way people treat you after they see you going through a tough time, where your dad dies, or whatever:

1) I remember that people are around you, and they KNOW you’re hurting. They *WANT* to say something, but they don’t know *how*. They don’t know *what to say*. They’re afraid they’ll say, “the wrong thing”. I get it. I do. But during those dark, dark days immediately after dad died, I remember times when I sensed someone was around me, and was sort of mentally offering condolences to me; I perceived it and picked up on it. And I remember having a distinct feeling of gratitude that they would care, and even put it off mentally, like they did, in a strong enough way that I just sort of perceived it. There were other people around, who were insensitive clods, who, I could sense, did *not* have the same sense of condolences, and so that was sort of a standard by which I became so aware of the people that *did* have heart-felt, sincere, unspoken condolences for me and for my family. So I’m grateful for the people who were around and didn’t-know-what-to-say, but I perceived they cared a great deal.

2) My boss, at the time, was not someone who I knew very well (at all), nor was it someone with whom I had ever *spoken*, I do not believe. But this man made it a departmental thing that I was going to receive a normal week’s-pay, during the week I was out when I was dealing with dad’s death, his funeral, those just-after arrangements and all that. He didn’t have to do that, I didn’t know him that well, etc. But he did. However many weeks later, I asked to have a meeting with him just to “thank” him for doing such a thing; heh, that being the first time I had ever actually spoken to the man, interestingly enough. He responded with the normal reciprocities when I told him “thank you”, certainly something to the effect of “you’re welcome”; but then he also said something else, something that sort of stuck with me and meant a lot. He said, “Sometimes ya just do the right thing.” He paid me for a week that I didn’t work. He just thought it was the right thing to do; even though I was just a bit of a cog-in-a-machine at that point. So I’m grateful to him for that.

3) There are a lot of people in my life who are not Christians; and there are a lot of people in my life who *are* Christians. And one thing I can confidently say is that during these dark days, I can distinctly feel like my family and I were being floated on prayers, and it, in a sense, sort of protected us, helped us pull through it physically, mentally, emotionally–*LITERALLY* and *ACTUALLY*. A close parallel is sort of like what medicine makes you feel like, whenever you’re sick, and you’re using medicines to treat symptoms. When the medicine works, you sort of feel like it’s just floating you through the sickness—even though you’re very much still sick—and you feel oddly alleviated….even though…..you’re aware ya still goin through the terrible thing. It was similar with the prayers and getting past the immediate time after dad’s death. I can actually say I felt lifted up and floated-through by prayers from folks; and that’s not something I take lightly or think about lightly, or label lightly, because, quite frankly, way too many Christians *overuse* statements like that when they *don’t* mean them, and it has thus watered-down these types of statements. So I don’t say it much; I don’t feel it much. But that time, I did. This type of thing you don’t quantify, and doesn’t translate into the world’s eyes or the world’s understanding very well. But, there it is.

4) There are also countless people who brought food to our house, and took us out to eat, during that immediate time after dad died. And I don’t see that as any small thing. It’s a sacrifice to do that for people who are grieving or who have just experienced a loss, and lots of people did that for us.
It was funny how many people attended my dad’s funeral. For such a gruff, no nonsense, jaded, skeptical, not-really-trustful-of-people, and not-particularly-super-extroverted guy, and for a guy who kinda “scared” some people (like our friends, growing up)—he sure touched a lot of lives.

And he wouldn’t even say it that way—“touched a lot of lives”. He’d say that’s too dramatic, or makes-it-sound-more-important-than-it-was. But he did. It’s true. We weren’t what you’d call an affluent family—we CERTAINLY ain’t had no money—he was not a man of any sort of “position” or “grand distinction”. But sure had a lot of people at that funeral and visitation..

So I’d encourage you, repair your relationship with your parent, if you need to. Don’t leave things unspoken. Because I have the *peace* that I have about NOT leaving things unspoken with my dad, I can begin to try to stomach what the *OPPOSITE* would feel like, if he and I *did* still have things unspoken. And that makes me a lot sick—even though it wasn’t the CASE for he and I! Don’t buy that LIE that “you have time to work it out”—your tomorrow is not promised to you, and their tomorrow is not promised to them. Quit lying to yourself and choosing the easy way out by avoiding doing what you know you should.

Also, don’t take things for granted; like, people in your life, *or* stuff. Do whatever you have to do to put yourself in a mental state where you appreciate the things and people you have; that you are a good steward to them and with them.

Because if you don’t do what you need to do, in order to humbly appreciate these people and things, and not take them for granted—something may take a drastic turn in your life and *force* you to know how to be grateful. But by then, it may be too late.

Don’t you wish you would’ve just done it when you had the chance?

This was rambly. I’m not really sorry it was. There’s good stuff in there, so take note of it; like, whether you’ve had a parent die yet or not; whether or not you’re “young”.



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