Thursday, August 6, 2015

Back again

My dad has battled cancer in one form or another for about 10 years. In June, he started chemo to hopefully knock it back down again. After dealing with all the unpleasantness of chemo, the doctor told him that it had made the cancer cells more aggressive, instead of killing them off. Two weeks later, August 1st, he died.

I don't really know the words to describe the emotions I've had. It doesn't seem fair that this happened so quickly after Tony, but I know there is no fair. I do know that I was getting my feet back under me again a little, and this has certainly washed them out again.

In less than 6 months, I've lost the two most important men in my life, and I can't help comparing the effects. Tony was my best friend, and constant companion. I planned to spend the rest of my life with him. My dad represented more of my past, my formative years. He's the reason I make cucumber sandwiches the way I do, and that I'm always paying attention to the weather. And whenever there was a problem I couldn't tackle, he was the guy I called.

In many ways, they couldn't have been more different. But I loved them both, and they both loved me. That's all that really matters.

And as much as I support gender equality, sometimes it's just really nice to have a man around to help with problems large and small. I've lost both of my main men now.

So, once again I'll start to climb back out of the dark... and next time I get stuck in the snow, I'll be scrolling through my rolodex.


  1. What a blow. What a sorrow. Life isn't fair, sure, but it's not supposed to be THIS hard! But you'll make it. You will. I did. Imagine re-building a house after it's been blown down by a howling storm. It looks like just a big pile of rubble & shit. Then you pick up the pieces of your heart, your life, & start putting things back together. It's not going to be the same house; some of the pieces will always be missing, but it'll come back together in a new way, & you'll build it back even stronger because you know now that it has to be able to stand up to the toughest weather in the world. After coping with the loss of Tony, you've already got the tools in your toolbox, & you already know how to use them. You just have to break them out all over again.
    Speaking of tools, I totally know what you mean about depending on the men in our lives, & how it feels when they aren't there to rescue us when, occasionally, we allow ourselves to admit that we need rescuing. I like to think of myself (when I'm on my good self-esteem game), as a super-capable-Sasquatch-strong-farm-girl-deluxe, the 2.0 version. By God, I even went to college! I should be able to handle anything, right? Then the truck breaks down. The toilet springs a big leak. The pipes freeze. The weedeater won't start. There is something big and hairy and web-dwelling in a corner of the closet. I can't remember how long it's been since I had the oil changed & now why is that light on?. There's a rabid groundhog hissing at me on the porch. And mostly, I just really need a big squeezy hug. What do we do when all those services are no longer offered due to the "early retirement" of our main men?
    I'll tell ya what. We cry. We get pissed off. We feel a little damsel-in-distress-ish. Lame. Then we try to figure out how to do it ourselves because that's how our Daddies (& mothers), raised us. When that doesn't work (sometimes it definitely doesn't! Don't try to do your own roofing repairs! Note to self! & if you weren't raised using a chainsaw, better get somebody experienced to give you pointers on saw safety, & maybe re-up on your health insurance. Just sayin'.) ,you do ,grudgingly, flip through the ol' Rolodex. Feels sorta un-empowering at first. But it comes with some huge added bonuses. You get to spend time with your Daddy's old friends who are more than happy to help you however they can in honor of their friendship with David. You get to meet skillful, super-useful & often fascinating people you wouldn't have really gotten to know before. & alot of times, when you tell 'em who your Daddy is, they'll have a story for you about something really, nice he did for them once upon a time, or something funny that happened when they were both young & wild, or just how much they respected him & enjoyed his company. And if they are kind & patient types, they might even teach you how to fix whatever the problem is yourself so the next time it breaks, you can roll up your sleeves, break out the toolbox & think to yourself, "Damn, my Daddy would be so proud of me!"
    It's kinda like, even from the other side, your father is still & always will be taking care of you because he spent his life making friends & connections & being a real community-oriented guy. My Daddy was like that, too. I suspect you, too, will forever have alot of community folks sharing their stories about David with you, possibly even while they are pulling your car out of the snow, or helping with the woodsplitting or replacing a window that didn't survive a bout of indoor soccer with your little girls, or whatever. And you'll feel your Daddy hugging you every step of the way.
    The downside of having to call other guys for help now is that, sometimes, you'll have to actually pay them to come. But those stories are gold!
    Big Love,
    p.s. Best. Photograph. Ever.

  2. what she said! and especially the photograph!!!