Into the Abyss

Tomorrow my sister and I are going to visit my father. This is a visit
that I have been procrastinating making for quite some time now. These visits are
fraught with emotion for me, before, during and after. We have never been close
to my father even when we were small. Even before my parents got divorced. The memories I have of my Dad when he was living in the house we grew up in are sparse. I
seem to recall him playfully pulling my mom into the bathroom attached to their
bedroom when I was very young. I could be making that up. I’m not sure how my
parents got married. They are, in my mind, completely incompatible. I also, for
some reason, have two memories of times when my Dad got hurt when we were still
living in the house in Centereach, pre-divorce. One time we returned home to
find a pair of garden shears and blood out in the front of the house. Like some
CSI episode but with no body. This is before the time of immediate 24/7 contact
so of course he had no way to let us know that he had cut himself and gone to
the hospital for stitches. For some reason my memory says that it was his big toe
that was injured but that truly makes no sense. How would that even be
possible? I also remember my Dad getting into a car accident and my Mom telling
me that “someone had hit him from behind”. I was so confused, in my little kid mind
someone had my Dad by the back of the neck from behind and was hitting him over
the head with a Fred Flintstone-like club. I have memories of post-divorce
visits in our kitchen which we completely dreaded. We had never really spent
time together before and now we were forced to sit in the kitchen together for
an hour every week. It was all so odd.

As an adult, once my son was born I felt the need to ensure that my Dad
got to see him. He was living in his parent’s house with a little white dog the
last time we were here. He has never fully recovered from a stroke and requires
assistance performing daily tasks. Once we started going to his house with both
Keanu and my son, he would spend the entire time talking to Keanu, almost as if
my sister and I weren’t there. I hate to admit it but it was really crushing
for me, these visits. Whatever excuses I had made for my Dad dissolved when I
saw how easily and eagerly he spoke with Keanu.

My Dad is now residing with one of the women who
had been taking care of him. He has moved into her house with her family and
his home is standing empty. Deep inside I believe that I should feel guilty about
this but, truth be told, I don’t. That makes me feel like a bad person. It is like
a rabbit hole. So we are going to this woman’s house tomorrow. She did not want
us to come and visit him unless she was there despite the fact that we are not
visiting her. He does not sound well on the phone. I do not know what to
expect. I am not taking my son. I believe that he needs to see me to make
important decisions about his finances, his property, his valuable pipe
collection. Or is it this woman who is making the decisions? I do not know. I am
afraid. I do not feel like an adult. I again feel like that child trying to
understand the situation but creating an entirely fictional explanation in my
head. One that is less harsh, real and painful.

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About nematomorph

Living like the rich and famous, splitting time between Hawaii and New York.
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5 Responses to Into the Abyss

  1. mauka-makai says:

    I continue to take note of your exceptional courage in sharing your life stories with all of us. Even the painful or confusing ones like this one about your father.

    I just read a blogarticle from the NYT, it was about gleaning personal and family stories from our parents and grandparents. This is something I keep meaning to do with my grandparents and soon, it will be to late to collect their stories of growing up.

    http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/23/coaxing-wisdom-from-aging-parents/

    This may not be relevant to you or your relationship with your father, but, might you have any interest in “interviewing” him, collecting storeis of his life, either for you and your sister or for your son. Perhaps this can give your visit a purpose and new perspective that is different than one that may hold lost opportunities, expectations not met. (apologies, now babbling…)
    i love you.
    “eat your toads in the morning.”

    • nematomorph says:

      this comment made my day today. muchos mahalos and loads of aloha.I love you too.

      • mauka-makai says:

        yay for friends, our Hanai ohana. I guess we try to create in our friendships the space, love and support that we do not always get from our families. In families there is no space, there is closeness; there is love, often with attachment; there is often times support and as many times resistance.

        I have realized since my brother stopped talking to me, stopped allowing my son to see his 3 kids (my son’s only first cousins), there is a hole that is filled with sadness where my brother and his kids used to be in our lives.

        But in trying to explain this situation to other friends, I find that many of them receive comments from their families, similar to comments my brother makes of us: We do not discipline our child; Our child runs wild and does not listen to adults.

        I think choosing how we raise our children is different in every generation. My brother and his wife seem to follow a parenting guideline more closely aligned to that of our parents. Parenting styles are also personal, and reflect our culture, our communities, our passions and philosophies. Parenting is each human’s grandest experiment: can I help this little person to become bigger of heart, stronger of mind, and wiser than I?

        My son is a force of nature, he is also compassionate, has a big heart, a great love for those he loves and cares about, makes friends easily and is always sad to say goodbye. I do not make excuses for him. He is who he is. As we all are.

        Let’s toast each other, hanai ohana and our children, who are working ever so diligently to raise decent parents.

        ps: I borrowed some of your courage and posted this comment made to your blog, to my blog. I love you too, miss you and wish we could always have our ward center pau hana nights.

      • nematomorph says:

        I know that this was hard for you. I am sorry that your family is torn in this way. Someday, potentially when it is too late, your brother will look back and wonder what the hell he was thinking. I will never understand arguments getting so intense that they actually tear the family. It is frighteningly sad to me. You are one of the strongest, bravest women I know. Your son shares those traits already. Never be apologetic for this. Although distance exists between us, I know that our hearts pump in tandem. I love and miss you!

  2. Pingback: Into the Abyss | Kids say :

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