Reader, internet, I made my dad cry yesterday because I needed to talk about my feelings.
**** I'll give you a moment to go throw up now. If you want to come back and learn how I achieved this, I'll keep typing. *****
Summary of the situation with my dad, so you won't have to read the archives:
My dad has always been my best pal. In my twenties, when my mom died, our relationship became even more close because, well, he's awesome but also because we were trying to make life without her work. Many years later I met someone I liked and I thought he would like her and the other way round, too. He did, she did, they got married, drinks and high fives all around.
Except then he got leukemia (suckage, treatment, horror, terminal, dammit) and he is now dying (or maybe not). For the past few months I have been operating under the assumption that my dad simply doesn't not love his "old family" as much as he loves his "new family." I assumed this because he has been spending all his time with them and almost none with us.
I have been managing this information (which I like to house in the "fact" category since I am so given to black and white thinking) very badly. A few weeks ago I had a minor breakdown when I realized that I have not talked to my Dad in eight entire days.* My brother decided it was time to tell my dad, who might be dying any minute (or not) that I am up a tree and need to get things straightened out so I don't end up in Bellevue.
So my dad, who is dying (or maybe not) calls me up and says, "come down and spend a few weeks so we can get things all figured out." Have I said yet that the life expectancy of a person with AML is 2-8 weeks? And that yesterday marks 13 entire alive and feeling pretty damned good weeks for him?
Well, ok, says I. I go. I got here yesterday. We immediately head out to the rockwall-deck project, and he says, "So tell me what all this crap about a headologist is about."
I thought I was so clever because I had distilled the entire issue down into five sentences and it seemed to me like I could just say my five sentences and he would say, "You are full of shit and you know it. Now hand me that there band-saw and let's see if we can get another floor joist nailed into the deck before dark."
So I say my five sentences, which I will not repeat here because even though this is my internet diary there are some things that not even you** should know.
And then the sky cracks open, Jesus steps down out of the cloud in his Juicy track suit and his Reeboks and says "In case you are having trouble reading your itchy feelings and ambivalence about what you just said, let me make sure, at the risk of violating my endorsement deal with Hilfiger by showing up dressed in Juicy, that YOU SUCK. YOU SUCK THE SUCKAGE OF THE SUCKWALLERY OF SUCK. GOT THAT? HMMM? More on this in your afterlife. Dumbass. Peace-out." Then Jesus steps back up into the heavens to discuss how much I suck with all his friends (these would include my mother).
And at about the same time my dad sits down on the steps and starts to cry. Yes, my 67 year old dad, yes, toughest man on planet earth and at least nine other planets, cries. Yes, most unselfish and sweetest person who ever built a wall out of rocks in his spare time while dying of cancer, cries.
I SUCK. I SUCK THE SUCKAGE OF THE SUCKWALLERY OF SUCK.
Shortly after the visitation of Christ (and his tracksuit) and my dad's brief storm of emotion he said about fifty things I had never thought of about why things were going the way they were going and formed a list of things he would do so that my brother, sister and I would not feel like slimy Janetic*** residue anymore.
And then he said, "Now hand me that there band-saw and let's see if we can get another floor joist nailed into the deck before dark."
We got a lot done:
So we worked the rest of the day, split a beer, and ordered a pizza. My step mother came home from her afternoon out shopping with three bottles of wine and eight varieties of medicinal grade chocolate and we all watched movies together until midnight. With the pizza, the wine, and the chocolate****
And we all went to bed fairly happy. Today, more joists. More pizza, more chocolate. And definitely more wine.
* When it's possible that your dad might die at any moment, this seems like eighty years. Just saying.
** Even though you are so beautiful.
*** My mom's name was Janet. My dad was married to her for thirty years and my step mother is insanely jealous of her. My step mother thinks my dad is sort of like Elvis and Paul McCartney and 007 all at the same time.
**** Don't judge. Pepperoni, chablis and Ghirardelli is an underrated combination.