So I mentioned sharing something a bit, well, a lot raw in an earlier post. I've elected not to take it quite so far, partly because I don't want to play around parsing the 3700 words I wrote two months ago into multiple 'thoughts' and partly because I probably don't want it all out on the web.
Here's the deal -- a couple of months ago, I got a call from the Mission Viejo Sheriff's office informing me that my father had died.
Initially, it hit me like the death of a D-List celebrity that I had forgotten was still alive. A curiosity, nothing more.
Then, I was told that he died in a county-run hospice while suffering from vascular dementia and was indigent at the time.
So, somehow, this man who was making 70K a year in 1976 and retired from Boeing in the early 2000s had died destitute, scared, confused, and alone.
To be honest, his death couldn't have been more fitting. He was a full-fledged monster, but the sneaky kind.
To put it as succinctly as possible, when he moved out of state (I was 16 and lived with my mom), I didn't see him off because I was afraid I'd end up in jail for life. And the one time I allowed him to get within touching distance of one of my sons a decade later, I almost vomited on the spot.
None of this, however, is my issue.
My issue is this - after chuckling with my brother over the phone, celebrating the level of suffering dear old dad must have endured in the end, things changed in my head.
Now, I've experienced terrible grief not long ago, losing my mom suddenly - two days after a successful surgery - in May of 2020. So, I know what soul-searing pain feels like.
This wasn't that.
And yet, for about ten days, my mind was so ....floaty(?)... that I couldn't write (I'm paid well to do that daily), and I could barely think. There was a quiet but massive rage lurking somewhere inside, but mostly I just felt permanently drunk.
I don't miss him. I hadn't spoken to him at all for nearly twenty years. The closest I got was telling his rarely used FB profile (which at the time had an 11-year-old unanswered friend request sent to me) that Mom had died. He never responded but was probably already mentally lost at the time.
I sat with my wife that evening, racking my brains, trying to conjure a single good memory that involved my dad, but I couldn't come up with a single one. The memories I could conjure weren't so happy, but they were old news and not why I failed in my quest.
And yet, there I was... ten days of quiet rage, confusion, and consternation. He deserved nothing. He deserved apathy. So why did it screw me up so bad? The devil died -- and suffered at it for months if not years. It should have been a party.
Why wasn't it? And if it wasn't, why wasn't I sad? Why was I so angry? So ... floaty?