It’s been a while. Literally months (and months). I have an excuse though. My father died back in September 2019. He’d been ill since Christmas 2018. The doctor said it would be his last Christmas, and it turned out that the doctor was right. Now, before anyone posts comments such as, “Oh, I’m sorry for you loss,” you should understand that our relationship wasn’t exactly great. He took his frustrations out on me when I was a child, bitterly resented me for years (which included not speaking to me), and even when our relationship eventually defrosted (which wasn’t until 2011), his ultimate expression of how much he thought I was okay (when he was well into his old age), was that he let me drive his car. As a grown-ass adult, well out of my thirties.
To put it bluntly, the relationship was rocky at the best of times. Even when it was good, it was kind of bad. I went on a trip with him to visit my brother a few years back. I drove the car off and on. We stopped at a couple of places to look around but my father never did have much patience. If I was interested in something, we stopped, and I snapped off a couple of photos as quickly as I could. Then we were back in the car in record time and on the road again. If he wanted a cup of tea we would stop for a proper break.
Staying in the motel that night, I slept on the couch and the next morning he informed me that I snored loudly.
He was not a man who could express emotion. When he was in hospice if his friends turned up he immediately lost interest in me. I would leave the room as he suddenly became animated and interested in having a conversation. He introduced me once, and his friends said, “Oh my goodness, you’re real.”
His final words to me were, “Buy me a Chromecast.”
The irony of course, is that people are not entirely good and they’re not entirely awful. At the same time my father was informing me that when he setup the family calling plan, it didn’t include me, he was also working with people who were intellectually disabled. He’d later win an award for his work. He adored his (male) grandchildren, who viewed him as the over indulgent grandfather who liked to go to their sports games in the weekend.
In the end, processing this complicated relationship and what eventually was an anti-climatic death left me without any creative inclination whatsoever. You know all those memes that say, “You should be writing?” I say, “Fuck those memes”.
Anyway, since September I haven’t pushed myself to do much except process the fact that he’s gone, and it hasn’t made any difference in my life. Which is what hit me the hardest. Not that he was dead, but that his death had so little impact on my life. I read a couple of books and some articles online that said sometimes people don’t grieve for the person, they grieve for a relationship that can’t be fixed. While the parent is alive, we can always hope. Once the parent has died, all opportunities for reconciliation die with them.
So there we have it. Somewhere in all of this is a memoir, or maybe a novel to protect the names of the (semi) innocent.
Either way, I finally feel like my interest in writing and creativity is coming back. I’ve also started to be a bit more open about my creativity. For the first time ever, I posted a photo of myself on my Amazon Author page, and Facebook page. I’ll be updating other social media platforms over the next few days. This is a big step for me. I may have finally realized that I’ve played down this aspect of my life so that others (family and work colleagues) could feel comfortable.
I refuse to do that any longer.