2 Years Passed

My father passed away Dec 24th 2016, it was my son’s 10th birthday. The time leading up to his death was hard. He was not well, bed-ridden and unhappy for a long time. In the last year of his life he was moved to Nephi, Utah be closer to his brother, my uncle Ted, where he lived out his days with him nearby.

Dad was not much to be fussed over, and accepting love was not easy for him. He asked to be buried in the cemetery adjacent to the hospital with no ceremony or formal service. I’ll never know why, but I suspect it’s a deep and sad guilt he carried with him. Something I had seen in him a few times after I had kids my own and became a parent.

One day about 10 years ago he suddenly opened up about that guilt, and it was tough for him. He told me, “I should have stayed with your mom, things wouldn’t be like this for you”. That statement struck me pretty profoundly, but it was pale in comparison with the things he told me following that, and I began to understand the reasons for his distance much more.

Being a child of baby boomers in the excess of the 70’s and 80’s I had a lot of freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted, and I did. My older brother and I were not of a loving relationship, instead I lived a life of retribution for making his Dad go away when he had just turned 5 years-old. I learned much from him, all the good and bad he had to offer: a love of good music as opposed to manufactured nonsense, and a habit of stealing money from our mother for myself – usually for food in my case. My older brother has had some hard knocks, and I have long felt sad for the hand he has been dealt. Still, the ways he has abused me goes beyond any need for forgiveness, but maintaining a boundary is definitely necessary

The family of three [Mother, Dad, and brother] did not last to my conception, and I often wryly oke that I am the product of late autumn breakup sex. Mother tried to save her marriage by having a child. It didn’t work, and the result was a shitty trade off: one less husband, one more child. It was a gamble on Dad to force him to stay in the marriage, and I am the consequence of her choice.

Before my Dad appeared in her life, she was the babysitter. The eldest of 4 sisters, her role was care-provider long before she had kids of her own… and not just for her sisters, but a cousin, a neighbor, compulsory babysitting. And happy with it or trapped by it, that’s what she had for her growing years and not much else. She married to escape that life with my Dad, who was marrying to escape life away from his step-father.

When I came along, Dad was already gone living his own life in the next town. What I know of those times I have only heard second-hand, but now I am well into parenthood myself and can imagine the mess my parents had created, and the added dilemma of my temperament was pretty bad as constant crying and fits of rage. The solution to mother’s

The events of the days over the months that followed have been deeply troubling.