6 months

September 22, 2009

It has been six months to the day since my father’s passing. And so much has changed in such a short amount of time and it still makes my head spin to think of the hustle and bustle that was my dad’s battle with cancer, let alone the hustle and bustle that is everyday now.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my father. The memories come at different points and over a variety of issues. Today’s was very overt due to the anniversary, but other days it depends on the activities, the music that’s on, or just the silence. Silence can be the worst moments because my mind is allowed to be free of focused thought and it wanders, usually into very dark reaches that I wish that I could bar and never look upon, but others are quite jovial and sentimental. For example, the other day I was at Dairy Queen and the only thought that went through my mind was how I used to go to work with my father. On some occasions while we were working, we would pass this DQ on some major interstate that I can’t name but whose image is deeply set. My dad would pull over the large van at some obscure hour of the morning and we would cross the first two lanes of this  major highway. We would stand straddling the median before I would race to the other side and turn to watch my dad meander across the street. I used to worry a great deal, because he never rushed and I could see the oncoming traffic. It always seemed that his foot would hit the curb just as traffic was about to reach us. We would walk into the Dairy Queen passing the neon lights that shined trough the early morning and walk right to the counter. I would order a large strawberry milkshake. When I close my eyes I can picture the faces of the Dennis the Menace characters on the side of the cup. I can even remember crossing back to the other side of the street and sinking down in the passenger seat watching my dad scarf down his sugar cone with chocolate, vanilla twist. It’s a silly memory, but I enjoy the thought. It’s a nice little moment between father and son. It’s sad that now such a positive memory can hurt so badly.

However, over the past several months it’s the memories that have faded or that are fading that upset me the most. There are days that I can’t remember my dad’s voice. It’s the intonation that I miss. His particular style of speech that was so calming and soothing. I find that I really need to concentrate to hear it, when it used to ring in my head so easily. I do have the ultimate in safeguards thought, because  I was fortunate enough to have videotaped my dad the day before he went on life support. But I’m almost petrified to watch or listen to the tape. For I know the emotional rollercoaster that is waiting. Sometimes, I wish other people would watch it first, so  I don’t have too.

The videotape is my saving grace, sometimes I think it was my only moment of intelligence during his whole battle and the only reason I thought of it was because of a movie entitled My Life, starring Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman. It’s the story of Bob Jones whose life is going well, but is ultimately diagnosed with kidney cancer (Very apropos) after he finds out that his wife Gail is pregnant with their first child. Bob Jones (Michael Keaton) hates the idea that his son will never know his father so he sits down and videotapes all the things he would say to his son. It’s a very touching film and led me to this idea of taping my father. This movie has a great deal of meaning to me, because of the father/son relationships that are depicted and the fact that it pushes other buttons about loss and love. This story line was magnified because my brother had also passed away after the movies release (1992.)  I regret that I had never thought of videotaping my brother cause I hate the fact that his voice has become a foggy dream. I fear that my memories are becoming less distinct. I feel as if I’m in a race to secure my their memories, so they remain protected and pure, not frayed and obscured by age. I want to complete a family documentary on them, but then I’ll have to come face to face with the film.

Ultimately, time may lessen the pain, but I don’t want time  to erase memories.

Me, My Dad, and My brother John

Me, My Dad, and My brother John



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