Sunday, February 14, 2010

the last time I saw my father

Hello. I guess it was a week before He died in His hospital bed. He was very small and frail in His hospital bed that looked huge by comparison. I think they had started administering morphine just his head was visible from the blanket. His eyes were very alert, bright, blue and beautiful. I wish I could remember more clearly but I remember thinking He looked peaceful and how lucky I felt to have been there at that moment that He had hung on for me. He did recognize me which was clear when we made contact.

Backing up that evening maybe December 15th 2008, John and I arrived from NY around 7:00pm and went directly to the hospital. John was meeting Dad for the first time. To my surprise my oldest brother was in the room with my Dad, standing looking at Him. The brother that chose to have no relationship with our family for thirty plus years. I guess with six children, one is bound to feel distant. It actually runs in our family. My Dad one of I think ten kids had a brother that moved away and was out of the loop shall we say. I digress. So. I walk in the room and after the initial shock of Him being there without consulting me, those were my rules having P.O.A. What I noticed right away was the look of a very nice guy. I had never seen Him that way. I had only viewed Him as the deserter. The son/brother that did not care and I had moved on and had a whole life without Him. I did try to make amends and invite Him over for holidays but He did not give enough back or seem to care so nor did I. I did not even live in the same state I made attempts for my Mother who certainly suffered the most from His estrangement.

So back to present day I walk in after all this is about Me. I walk in and see Him looking sad and forlorn and gentle and I left the bitch at the door. I did walk out mind you and went to the nurse station and asked why He was in the room with out my knowledge. They had no sufficient answer so back to the room I marched. Miraculously in that few seconds walk something came over me and I made the right decision let it all go and we were just two brothers with our dying father. I pitied him because I had a relationship with our Dad and He was a stranger. At the end my father seeing his first born son at his death bed was the best thing for him. I realize that my brother must have had a lot of pain to make the decision that he did back in his twenties. I am glad that near sixty he was able to step up and show up for my mother and father. It's never to late.

I don't know why I am writing about this as I think I have written about it in the past when it was happening. I guess something sparked the memory and a year later I am thinking about my dad in a way that I haven't. In His life He wasn't really there in the traditional sense that you hope a father would be there. But at the same time I stuck with Him till the end and it would have been easy for me to move on much earlier and disconnect. I have always had a close relationship with my mother sisters so that is one of the bonds that held things together.

Amazingly even though we had little in common I was extremely close to my Dad. Love is the answer, I deeply loved my Dad and family. Like most of us I guess. It can be a mystery that does not really need solving. It is so. I am grateful for that, to have something that does not need figuring out. Love for no reason. That is one of my favorite phrases, the most important.

The best part of the story is that my Brother and His wife continued to be a part of the family and has kept contact with my mother. It is crazy that it can take a death to bring people together.

The image is a washed out detail of my Liquid Landscape.

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