Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's a well known fact!

After great pain, a formal feeling comes

As I mentioned in Part 1, my father has always had a wicked cool sense of humor and a sharp mind. I grew up surrounded by observational humor and deadpan delivery of sometimes outrageous statements. I took it for granted.

I won't get to hear much of that deadpan delivery again. Not unless I hear it remembered in family stories. Or hear it in my dreams. Or maybe channeled through the children and grandchildren (and even great-grandchildren) he influenced.

Daddy was hospitalized on December 26. He died on January 22. Even as I was writing my last post in December, he was dying.

Everybody dies. The lucky few live before they die. It's natural for parents to die before children. Daddy had been in poor health for a long time and he was almost 88 years old. I thought I was prepared.

Yet even with all those rational statements hanging there, a big black void - an odd combination of great suffocating weight and total floating emptiness - spread to fill my body the morning my father died. I felt it in my head, my chest, my gut.

I was not prepared to see Daddy so still and lifeless in a hospital bed at 5:30 a.m. and to be sitting in a funeral home selecting a casket at 4:30 the same afternoon. I was not prepared to make decisions with my living brother, sister, and mother in a mutual way I had never in my life experienced. I was not prepared for the silence. I was not prepared for the noise.

His laughter, like the breeze

Dad & me - He still had that smile & I still have those thighs.
And I was not prepared for laughter. The stories sometimes tumbled one over the other and the laughter may have been inappropriate. In my numbness a little voice way off in a distant corner of my mind said, "Damn, we're funny!"

We told stories about my father, stories about each of us and our interactions with him, even stories about some of the things he'd said and done in the delirium of his very last days.

Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny. Or maybe it's better that you weren't there. You might have been horrified.

An epic miniseries of amateur blogosphere musings about Southern fathers

As promised in December, I'm devoting several entries to my father. I just didn't know then that there would be such a sharp break in the series. Or that my intended foray into the humorous would be so effectively derailed by the serious business of death.

Let me start by saying my father was a very intelligent man. He knew things. He spoke with a certainty, as if speaking from a mountain to the uncertain masses below. And he was also a strangely funny man. He could speak so seriously that you never knew if he was speaking truth or messing with your head. And every outrageous statement was followed by the same gleeful exclamation. "It's a well known fact!"

Up Next....Part 3, Fond memories and no hope

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your memory of your dad and your pain at his loss. It is an encouragement to me to see you carry him forward with you. Hugs!