The last several days have had moments where it felt like someone couldn’t decide if it was better to use a sledge hammer upon my head or an ice pick through my eyes so I did what I always do.
I turned towards the person swinging the hammer and dared them to hit me harder. ‘Cuz I always figure if the Hulk get stronger when he gets angrier it might work for me too.
That is the kind of solid logic that makes sense everywhere but in the real world but I took my leave of that place a while back to go on an extended walkabout.
The physical work is best here as that adrenaline rush and sweat provide the best relief and much needed moments of clarity.
It is the place where the illogical and impractical reside.
What Are You Willing To Do?
Everyone has advice and suggestions for how to handle this time of life.
One of them tells me to think about what I am willing to do and I laugh to myself because he doesn’t know me as well as he thinks he does.
David called me 25 years ago to ask me to bust him out of Mass General cuz he thought aliens were holding him hostage.
We talked about it being a team effort and how to do it, we all have our roles and had it been real I would have figured out a way to get there.
If you are in the inner circle it is what you do.
In a couple of weeks we’ll mark 20 years since he made like the Challenger astronauts and slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
I was thinking about him the other day and shaking my head at how much has happened since he left. The technological advances wouldn’t surprise him, but he’d never believe the reality TV shit that has taken over.
Or maybe he would.
Maybe it is unfair for me to think about him as the 29 year-old kids we were knowing I can’t totally put myself back there.
It is not that I can’t remember what it was like to be 29 it’s that I can’t do so without the influence of 20 years of life since then.
I can say we filled his entire grave in just as we did for my father and that it took a long time for the grief to subside.
Part of that was because in an odd coincidence my parking space overlooked his grave. That isn’t an exaggeration, the complex we lived in overlooked the cemetery.
Life is filled with weird stuff like that and if you are smart you do your best to roll with it instead of fighting against it.
Why push the river when the water will just flow through and around you.
“When the levee breaks and you have had enough you will see that things are different.”
When I heard that in conjunction with the what are you willing to do comment I bit my lip and tried not to say it might have been the dumbest fucking thing that someone has said to me in recent times.
I refrained in large part because there are some other contenders and I am fairly certain that “G-d has a plan” irritates me more than the rest.
That may be true but it provides as much comfort as a airline blanket does on a cold flight. Sure some of my body is covered and sort of warm but there is always a part that isn’t.
Not to mention those blankets are scratchy and I always wonder who did what with them and whether they were washed before I got it.
The Last Goodbyes
As the blur of the last month(s) fades and I remember more bits and pieces and find more ways to fit the puzzle parts into their places new questions/thoughts come up.
I really expected to have dad around until at least December, maybe even until around his 76th birthday in September 2019.
It is not because I didn’t anticipate that things might move faster than December because I thought about it, but because when I saw dad in the rehab facility in early July he said he was planning on coming back to Texas and New Jersey.
I didn’t expect him to do either but I heard the strength in his voice and as I have mentioned he had ample strength in his arms.
The night of the 18th when I caught a 9 PM central time flight back to LA and drove that Accord from Culver City to Thousand Oaks like it was the Mach 5 sticks out in my head for oh so many reasons.
I have never seen my father in that kind of pain.
When he insisted on grabbing my hand he had enough strength in it that it hurt when he squeezed it.
I didn’t say anything and never would have because I knew where things were at. I knew the end was very close and whatever he felt had to be 100 times worse than his squeezing my hand.
Down the road in the years that come I think that point might be of interest, I don’t know why but I am going with my gut.
Maybe it is because those few of you who know me well enough to know how big my hands are can appreciate that it would take a decent size hand with some strength to squeeze mine hard enough for me not notice.
Sometimes I wonder if dad knew more than he shared about when the end would come. Sometimes I wonder if he had any sense of how hard he fought or would fight cuz we often lack perspective about ourselves.
More than one of the hospice nurses told me how strong he was and he did last five nights longer than the doc had said he would.
Maybe that is because the docs give their best guess ‘cuz some of medicine is as much art as science or maybe not.
I don’t care. I am happy to go with my father was really strong and if reality is that this is my own personal fiction I am comfortable with it.
Just as I am comfortable with people saying nothing more than “they are sorry.”
Yeah, that is still irking me a bit. I keep running into people who I know are aware of dad dying but who don’t say anything.
And yeah I know there is a good chance that they are uncomfortable and that my intensity makes it hard for some people.
If I am a big scary man to them so be it. It wouldn’t be the first time I have heard I am too intense and probably not the last.
Live hard, love hard.
I can’t do it any other way.
Anyway, now I keep thinking about the last goodbyes of the past year and wonder.
“I took the road less traveled dad and I am going to see where it leads. I miss you, but I am not stopping for anyone or anything. People can get on board or get out of the way.”