Turn on some music and remember what you had forgotten because of the blur surrounding Dad’s funeral, both the time before and just after.
Blame it on fixing a couple of things around the house that spurred old memories of working with him in a life that I know I lived but feels so far away it seems like a dream.
My finger gets caught and the nerve reminds me this isn’t a dream and I am wide awake. Add the echoes of his voice telling me to shake it off and I really feel him standing next to me.
He isn’t really there but his ghost might as well be so I engage in a conversation with him beginning with yelling at him for not saying hello when I walked into the room.
It was a hot button for him and in some ways it has become one for me too proving we ought to laugh at promises not to be like our parents because we get the good traits and some of the not so good too.
Standing at the door, debating whether I am going to take it off of the hinges and rehang it so it swings properly I can hear myself at the hospice.
“I don’t want to be in your club of dead parents.”
Forty plus years of friendship allows me to speak like this and the soft answer to my comment is reassuring even if painful.
You’re Bringing It Out
I wrote a letter to one of congressman asking him to stop lying about the election and to stop serving as a useful idiot for a soon-to-be-former president.
His response is a poorly written, factually inaccurate screed that doesn’t address what I said and is supposed to serve as cover for his position.
“You’re bringing it out of me and you’re not going to convince me you’re fighting for America when you can’t communicate effectively and are a bad liar.”
I watch my 20 year-old-son walk by and think of a particular scene from Man Of Steel. There is a teaching moment and lesson here he could learn if he took me seriously when I shared it.
Can’t say he wouldn’t get it or listen today but I have my doubts because some things require more life experience and that is ok. You can’t screw on an old head on young shoulders.
So I give him part of it without showing the clip, “I keep testing my limits. Failed a few times, but succeeded too and haven’t quit, even as a man in my fifties. You don’t know what you can do without testing limits.”
“Being relentless at annoying people isn’t testing people.”
“You need to pay attention to the difference, there is one.”
Got way too many people on camera and everyone seems to want to talk but none of it seems to be advancing the ball.
For a moment I forget my own camera is on and I realize I am not hiding my thoughts.
“Want to tell us why you look so irritated?”
“Sure, this is a waste of time that I can’t get back but will be held accountable for. If I am going to jump in a fire I want to do it because I chose to and not because I was pushed or am asked to rescue others.”
“That was blunt.”
I snort and tell him it wasn’t as honest I wanted it to be but I flash a big smile so it is not clear whether I am serious or not.
A couple of people ask me if I am angry and I laugh because I am not.
“Nah, not angry, grumpy maybe, but not angry.”
“Sometimes your voice sounds like you’re growling.”
“Have you been talking to my kids?”
They tell me my tone just changed and I sound like my playful self and I laugh. “I am often playful, but I can get kind of intense when I am not having it.
“What does that mean?”
“I am being asked to jump through hoops and climb over stuff like I am some kind of show dog. It is unnecessary and a waste of time. Sometimes you have to tear down walls and kick in doors or find someone who can clear the way.
Either one works for me and given the tight timeline I have been given I expect to be grinding some of this out which means I am going to be very physical in a figurative sort of way.”
Back at the door, one of Dad’s screwdrivers in my hand I mutter it is too bad he isn’t a force ghost.
“That would be pretty cool, as long as you weren’t Darth Vader. I like having two hands.”
I pause to see if there is an answer and there is none. It is just my thoughts and I and that is ok. But I take a moment to silently tell Dad that if I figure out a particular situation it is going to make a profound change.
“Not everyone would take this on and maybe I shouldn’t have, but I am close to figuring it out. So very close, if I can take the pounding just a little longer I think I have got it…maybe.