08 June 2007

Walk on

There are moments when I find it embarrassing to be a human being, because I want no one to think that I am capable of the behavior of others.  For example, this whole Paris Hilton thing.  Why is it such a big deal?  She is quite possibly the largest waste of DNA ever, and the media is going apeshit because she has to spend a month or so in jail?  I'm sure that any of the hundred or so people who have been exonerated of crimes that they spent more than ten years in jail for are following this story closely.

What a waste of time.  Poor spoiled little rich girl has to be held responsible for something she did.  My heart, it breaks.

Apparently, cicadas have Internet access and can read, because ever since I accused them of being dumber than George W. they have been at it non-stop.  Everything I read about them said that once the sun goes down they clam up, but for the last two days they have been making noise 24/7.  Last night at around 2 AM I thought the belt on our central AC was getting ready to snap because I could hear a high pitched squealing until I realized that the AC wasn't running.  As I gravitated towards the noise at the back of the house I realized that it was cicadas, gyrating like it was high noon.  Must have been no-cover night.

I am on the back deck as I write this, noticing the two bugs that keep flopping over onto their backs, no matter how many times I right them.  One is missing a wing and quite clearly is not going anywhere until he meets his final reward here soon.  There are a few other late ones lying about as well., but there are enough flying about above me that the din is covering up some of the noise from the jets that pass over as they make their final approach to O'Hare.  If I stick my fingers in my ears only a small portion of the noise goes away.  This is as loud and persistent as anything outdoors that I can ever remember.  And when I look up, they are still everywhere, hundreds flying in among the trees.  I can only imagine what it must be like for people who are terrified of bugs this summer.

End of cicada-palooza, for now.  Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of my father.  This day is like any other except for the realization of just how fast time passes whenyou are not paying attention to it.  To think that five years have passed since one of the irrevocable lines drawn into my life has passed simply blows me away.  It doesn't seem possible.  There isn't a level of sadness or sorrow that comes with this day, just a little bit of bewilderment.

Today is no different from the 1726 days prior; I think about him every day.  I don't think about how he died.  I think about how he lived.  I think about how I lived when he was alive, and I think about how I have lived since he died.  There are few things or processes in this world that I find difficult to put into words, but the feeling of how one deals with someone who was always there suddenly not being there is just about impossible to convey.  It is intensely individualistic, and if it hasn't happened to you yet I don't know how to tell you about it.  In the month or so after my father died, I talked to a lot of people who had also lost their fathers, and they all pretty much said the same thing, something along the lines of "yeah, I know what that is like."  And I realized that indeed, this happens to a lot of people.  My father was only a dad to three, but since I can't imagine a father being any other way than mine was, when I hear about someone else's father dying I automatically think that they have lost someone who was just like mine.

I don't think that death has a Doppler Effect.  You never hear it fade out as it moves away from you.

(As soon as I finished writing that last sentence, the cicadas stopped for five seconds.   It was completely silent.)

The only times that I struggle with the idea of my father no longer being alive is when I get caught up in the aftermath of life here on Earth.  If I could have any question answered, I would want to know where he is.  I am not completely bound to my existence by faith.  Sometimes I believe in Heaven and feel that my father is there, and other times the scientist in me is convinced that life is but a random series of events and that we are all destined to spend eternity in oblivion.  I go back and forth and find this pendulum to be moving faster and faster as I get older.  I know that my father still exists in my mind and in my heart, along with the minds and hearts of many other people, but I wonder where his mind is; what happened to all his knowledge, where have his feelings have gone to?

My father poured his heart and soul into his family, and I can't believe that when he died that all went away.

I am currently reading a novel by Philip Roth entitled Everyman.  It's about a man nearing the end of his life, and since I am only a little less than two-thirds of the way through it I am still unaware what the significance of it is.  It's a great metaphorical title, obviously, because one way or another, we are all Everyman.  I get that.  I have for quite a long time.

My father's death turned out to be a motivating factor for me to examine my life and decide if I was truly happy with where it was going, and after some time thinking about it I realized that I was not.  I would like to think that I would have come to that conclusion even had my father lived.  I will never know.  In the last five years I have become a completely different person in that I have jettisoned the things that were sandbagging my psyche and as a result I have experienced many things that I had thought were not going to happen to me, the most significant being marriage.

After I got married, I realized that if I examined my life next to my father's, there was only one thing different: he had children, I do not.

Well, we've taken care of that issue now too.

We are going to be parents in December.  The true ramifications of all this have not hit me yet, and I am to the point that I don't think they will until I see our child for the first time after its birth.  People tell me that this is normal, so I am not that worried about it.  I've spent a lot of time around children for the last twenty years or so.  I am ready for this.  We are ready for this.

So in about six months, I too will experience something that my father did, the awesome responsibility of bringing another life into this world.  He won't be here to witness it, but since he lives on inside me and others our child will know him as well as they could if he were still physically here.  I will make sure of that.  I am looking forward to my child getting to know all about their grandfather.

In five years, when my father has been gone for ten, our child will be almost five.  I try to picture what life will be like then, but I have no way of knowing what it is going to be like.

Six years ago, if you told me that I was going to lose my father ina year and to try to imagine what five years without him was going to be like, I would have had no idea.  I suppose I would have said that I would be just happy to have survived it.

I (and we) have done a lot more than that.  It is a cliche, but it is indeed true that life goes on.  Amazingly we have preserved and grown stronger, fortified our lives and our souls and continued on towards whatever destiny the fates have in store for us. 

Life without my father is not better, because that would imply that we are all better off without him, which is highly ridiculous.  It isn't worse though, which kind of surprises me.  And of course, it is surely different.

Whatever power and influence that my father still has over me will increase when our baby is born, because that will be another person who will know who he is.  He may never be able to hold his grandchild, but I guarantee you he will be present in its soul.

My ramblings about my father become more metaphysical with each passing year, so I must have faith in some sort of value of existence beyond life on this planet.  I do believe that one day I will lay eyes on my father again, and that we will spend time together.  I'm not even remotely ready for that day, and that is partly because he prepared me to want to live out this life until I am satisfied with what I have accomplished.

He was the same way.  I know that on the day he died, my father had absolutely no regrets about the way he lived his life.

I have no regrets about the way he lived it either.


jevanslink said...

You may not think this is your best entry ever, but it was for me.  And I couldn't stand my  father. By the way, did you see the video of Paris in tears on her way back to prison. Or jail, or wherever she's going.  As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

Mrs. L

PS -- congrats on having a baby -- it's nice to have nine months to get used to the idea

jchick73 said...

I love this entry, too. I found your website while I was googling lyrics to find out who was responsible for a song I just heard/liked immediately (Flaming Lips, "Flight Test") and your cicada ranting made me laugh (grew up in TX) so I kept reading. My dad passed away two years ago tomorrow (July 3) so I felt a little stunned, and then grateful, to read this today. What you wrote perfectly expressed so much of what I have felt and thought about in the past couple of years. Take care, and congrats on your own parenthood :)

ber144 said...

jchick73: I'm happy that this helped you.  Thanks for the nice comments.