Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talk Thursday: Sorrow and Its Source

I’ve not had near enough time… for anything it seems. I have a book I am to be editing, I’m avoiding it like the plague. Slow, boring, bogged down. Thankfully the author is an extended family member who doesn’t read my blog. Oh wait, Psam’s the only family member who reads my blog with any regularity.

In truth I’ve not a lot of sorrow in my life. My brother died (a day old) when I was in the sixth grade, it was the only time I remember seeing my dad cry. That, and worry for my mother, affected me more than David’s actual passing. Mom had made us a part of the anticipation and his arrival; being young girls Pinecone and I were especially anxious for his arrival. But then in the middle of the night (June 11th) my mother was taken to the hospital, where he was born (June 12th), and he died (June 13th.) That following morning my father told us he was not all right. David had been born blue, Mongoloid, and with at least one hole in his heart. Butch and Buddy don’t really remember much of that morning- even of that time; Pinecone and I remember the tears, the news, and the loss. My mother remembers it very differently, and strangely remembers nothing about David’s birth defects. Pinecone and I have discussed this since and both remember it the same.

For years my mother would always be sad on that day. My father never really mentioned it in my presence over the years. We moved to Oregon and while David was never forgotten, family sorrow seemingly passed. Mom always taught us that we are born with a purpose, maybe David’s was to bring us together, maybe we delude ourselves, a believer in reincarnation I will gladly remain deluded. David’s presence in death did something we in our living lives had failed to do; we solidified as a family.

That summer in 1969 we traveled back to visit my father’s roots in West Virginia, to find relatives, aunts, uncles, cousins I’d known of only by name and reputation. We journeyed to the small hamlet, Valley Head, where my father’s youth and formative years were spent. We met people from my father’s childhood who’d made a marked impression upon him and the man he would be come. I loved West Virginia, it was worlds a part from the LA where I was raised. We grew together as a family.

Over the years my mother would have a headache on the 12th and 13th of June. While she never said anything as to why, I noted the date, the past and made my mental notes. Every June 13th I check on my mother. For the past two years, since my father’s passing she’s not suffered the headache or worse- her mourning migraine.

My father had told my mother he was tired of breathing, he was tired of eating to stay alive, it was sucking the energy and life out of him. My father was dying from the ravages of emphysema. A two pack a day smoker for decades my father fought the addiction and finally kicked the habit. He didn’t want to die, he’d not made his peace, but he just had a devil of a time quitting. By the time he’d quit the emphysema was sucking away his life, his vitality, his energy. The handsome man, slowed, slept, and ailed, but never gave up… until it was just too much.

Just prior to Christmas, Buddy and the Kiwi were home for the holiday, my father went to the hospital. We spent Christmas Eve and Day taking turnings visiting him, spending what final moments we could with a man we all honored, adored, and loved so much. The day after Christmas Buddy and the Kiwi went home to Georgia. Hospice had been called in and on December 27th my very tired dad came home for the last time.

That Thursday evening I checked in on my parents after work, kissed my father’s cheek and told him how much I loved him. He patted my hand and told me everything was okay; my mother kissed my cheek and sent me home. Ducky and I discussed it and I went back and spent the night at my parents.

Something crashing against the wall in the middle of the night woke me. In the den I found my father thrashing around, beseeching God to take him and end his exhaustion, he was ready to go home. He reached for my grandmother, he could see his dog, he was emotional as he described my brother David waiting there in the circle of family and light. He later thrashed about, cursed and railed against me and my mother; neither of us did he recognize. And then he slept.

Friday night my sister came from Springfield and stayed with my mother. Early Saturday morning something woke Pinecone. She walked into the den, held his hand, and watched him take his final breath at 5:30am. And he was gone.

While I have mourned my father’s passing in my own way, I’ve not had that crying my eyes out moment where I was drowning in the wells of sorrow and despair. . Maybe it was because Ducky’s younger brother was dying in Portland at the same time. He passed that night at 6:30, Ducky and I were there to say good-bye.

My father’s passing was a moment of release and peace. I miss him greatly, but I talk with him when ever I want. I light a candle and remember his handsome face, the smartest man I knew and yet he never finished the 10th grade. He was and will always be my hero. I remember the father who danced with me while I stood on his feet, told spooky stories about missing eyeballs and ghost disappearing at the bend of a lonesome West Virginia road, the dad who took me deep sea fishing, motorcycle riding in the desert, camping under the stars, and played horse-shoes at the Girl Scout Father Daughter picnic.

I miss my friend, but I know I will see him again; he will smile and laugh at all the silly things I have done since the last we were together. And I will thank him for teaching me that what I can see in my head I can do, for making me strong – loving – independent – loyal and loving. I will thank him for being my dad.

I have no sorrow for I am blessed, for I have hope, faith, and heart. And most importantly I have my memories and love.



Anonymous said...

Hi Cele - Your post touched me especially deeply. A psychic told me once that I was here to learn the lessons of sorrow in this lifetime. I think I'll have to explore that more fully as sorrow is part of everyone's life, so what did she see about mine that makes sorrow the centerpiece? I so respect your ability to see past the event into the underlying meaning and have compassion for it all. Maybe that's part of my lesson this time around. Thank you.
Lynnblossom (aka Lynn)

Cele said...

Greetings Lyn, it's been a while but please, welcome welcome.

I am glad my feelings, my past, and my present have touched you. If we aren't reaching out, if we aren't seeking, if we're not giving and learning, we aren't. In everything there is good and there is bad, I live to see the good, to right the bad, to be the best I can be. Thank you for taking the ride with me, even if it is in bits and pieces of time and space.

According to my numbers my life lesson is anger, ack!