Father’s and Son’s

sunset person love people

It’s Monday October 15th. It’s been a month since my Mother died. It’s really strange how time goes by. On one end, it feels like it was just yesterday that she died. On the other hand, it’s amazing how fast time has gone by. It’s been a whole month.

Most of this last month has been for the better. Most days are better than I thought they would be.

Part of that is that I’m getting to know my Dad. Not just on a Father and Son level, but from the perspective of one Man to another. I’m learning who he is as a Man, not just a Father.

It has been really good getting to know my Father the Man. It helps me understand myself better and maybe why I do some of the things that I do and have done. The apple truly doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I can see now where I get some of my behaviors and ways of being. I get it from him. A lot of the ways that I view and interact with the world have come from him. Now maybe you may be sitting wherever you are, reading this, and think, “Well duh Rob.” But understand this for a moment:

My parent’s got divorced when I was eight years old. I only saw my Father on the weekends in the beginning. That was maybe for a year. After that, I didn’t see much of my Father, and by the time I became a teenager, I only saw him occasionally when he came over to the house to work on one of his cars. Even then I didn’t see much of him as I was busy with school and friends. So we would see each other for a few moments at best.

We were distant and estranged as far as I was concerned. I have to admit, during my teens and into my twenties, I didn’t think much of my Father. I didn’t like how he handled things and I didn’t want to be like him. Saying something like, “You’re just like your Dad,” was fighting words to me back then. I wanted to be nothing like him.

I thought that my Mother got the raw deal in the divorce even though she was the one that wanted it.

I know better now. I heard my Mom’s side of the story many times growing up, and over the last few years, I’ve been getting my Dad’s side of it in bits and pieces. Now that my Mom is gone, I’ve been getting even more of my Dad’s side of things, and I have to admit, they make sense. They are the missing puzzle pieces that I didn’t know were there.

I’m glad for the time that I have with my Dad. It’s important to me. I’m glad that I’m getting to know him not only as a Father, but as a Man. He’s been honest with me when I ask him questions, he holds nothing back. He’s also answered every question that I’ve had so far.

I understand myself better now than at any other point in my life. I understand that many things I do and have done are “nurture.” They are the things I’ve learned from my friends, my society, and my culture. I’ve also noticed things that I would call “nature.” Maybe I’ve actually learned them without being aware of it, it’s totally possible. But I kind of doubt that. These are the things that have just sort of “come naturally.” Much of it I see and hear from my Father when I ask the questions that I’ve asked.

I highly recommend to all you Men in particular, and to everyone out there reading this, talk to your Dad if you are able to. Talk to him about being a Man. Don’t just ask him what it’s like being a Father, ask him about stuff that relates to being a Man.

Hopefully you have that option in your life still. If you do, if your Father is still alive and you are able to contact him, do it.

Talk to him and do stuff with him. I’m going over to his house later today and we are having steak. We’ll probably watch NHRA drag racing too.

Get to know your Father, not only as a Father, but as a Man. You may get answers to questions that you didn’t know you had. You may get some understanding into yourself that you didn’t know you wanted or that you needed.

 

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After

flight landscape nature sky

It’s Monday September 24th. I buried my Mother on Saturday the 22nd. I’m putting dates and if necessary, times to keep things straight for myself, and for you the readers of my blog. All of what I’m describing here has already happened.

Friday the 21st we had the viewing for my Mother. It was the longest two hours of my life. Every minute felt like an eternity. I just wanted it to be over. My legs were sore and stiff for standing in one place for so long.

My Father was overwhelmed by how many people that showed up to pay their respects. He really had no idea how many friends and family that he had. He had no idea the impact he and my Mother made on these people, this community of car lovers. He was hoarse by the time it was over, he talked to each and every one of them, told them stories about how they had met each other or some of the adventures that they had had with each other over the last two decades.

The girlfriend told me earlier that morning that her Mother was coming either Friday or Saturday, to stand in support with me and to pay her respect to my Mother, whom she had never met before.

I wasn’t holding my breath for my girlfriend’s Mom to make it, but I won’t lie. I hoped she would, and I found myself searching the faces of everyone in that receiving line, hoping I would see her. I found myself disappointed that she didn’t make it to the viewing on Friday.

Seeing my Mother in the casket… I lost it when I saw her there. It brought the reality of the situation home for me. It made it all too real. The mortuary did a fantastic job with her though. Many times in the past, at most of the funerals I have attended over the years, the body doesn’t really look like the person who they once were. They don’t usually look like themselves. My grandparent’s sure didn’t. But my Mom… She looked like herself. She looked like my Mom. I could swear that she was taking a nap. I could swear that she was breathing.

Many of my extended family showed up. My Mother’s sister, her brother, their children, my cousin’s. Same with my Dad’s side. It was interesting. We are not close to any of them. Haven’t been in years. There’s some bad blood there that goes back a long time. Guilt and culpability on all sides. My parent’s and I are much closer to some of the “car show people” than we are to our own blood. And that’s okay by me. I’m good with it. I have nothing against my actual blood relatives, they’ve done nothing to me in particular, but I’ve seen the shit that went on over the years. I’m just not close to them and that is what it is. You reap what you sow.

Saturday we had our final viewing for my Mom at 10 am until 11 am. My girlfriend’s Mom was the second person in line that morning. She showed up. It meant the world to me and still does. I introduced her to my Mom. I told her that I wished that they had met each other before that day. I wish that they had met while my Mom was still alive. She talked to my Mom for a bit and then I introduced her to my Father. They hugged and said that they were both glad to have finally met. My Father told her that he saw where my girlfriend got her looks. My girlfriend and her mother look almost identical. My girlfriend is definitely her Mother’s Daughter.

My Father started settling a lot of accounts at the funeral. He was diplomatic and polite, but if he had a bone to pick with you, you got to hear about it that day. My Aunt, my Mother’s sister, got an ear full. So did her brother, my Uncle. My Father didn’t spare his siblings either. They all got some. Right, wrong, good, or bad, he said what he needed to say, and what’s done is done. Personally, I don’t blame him. Most of the things that he said, needed to be said, and those that he said those things to, needed to hear them. Shit had been going on for far too long.

The closing of the casket was the hardest all of for me. I can still see my Mother’s face clearly. It was the hardest because I know I will never look on her face again. I don’t believe in a heaven, hell, god, or devil. I don’t believe in reincarnation or an afterlife. What people describe as a “soul,” to me, is what is our consciousness. When you die, that “soul” or consciousness gets turned off like a light switch. One minute you are there, and the next, you are not. Lights on. Lights off.

Watching the mortuary staff close that casket, I couldn’t catch my breath. I started to hyperventilate. I got it under control some how, but it came back again once we got the cemetery and got ready to move the casket from the hearse to the grave site. I got over it though. I had to. No other choice. I was a pallbearer for her and I needed to get her there. I couldn’t do that one last thing for her if I couldn’t breathe. So I kept on keeping on. Just like right now. I’m keeping on keeping on.

After the funeral was over, we all went to a close friend’s house and had drinks and food. Lots and lots of drinks. Lots of stories about all the adventures that my Mom and Dad have had over the years. Lots of laughter. Lots of tears.

I have to back up for a bit though. I’m getting a head of myself a little bit.

At the end of the service, I made eye contact with my girlfriend’s Mom. I went to her and we embraced and talked briefly. I told her how grateful I was that she made it out for the funeral to pay her respect and to show support for me since her daughter was out of the country. I told her how much all of that meant to me. I told her how much her daughter means to me. I think the world of my girlfriend. I love her dearly. I told her Mom that I wanted to get to know their family better. I wanted them to get to know me better. Her Mom wanted the same. She told me how much her daughter loves me and thinks of me.

I know it seems pretty “blue pill” and fantastical. My eyes are open. I know where this could all lead. It could lead to nowhere. It could also lead to somewhere. All relationships are transitory by nature. You could spend most of your life with someone and you’ll never truly know them because you aren’t them. All relationships end eventually, whether by a decision or a choice, or by death itself. All relationships last but a short time for the most part. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. By choosing to not have them because of loss, you are missing out on life. You are missing the point of all of it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and all of those slogans and what not.

So back to the get together….

Dad wasn’t done with the what for’s there either. There was one guy in particular that got both barrels. I actually thought it was going to turn violent for a minute there. Luckily it didn’t.

I also smoked my first cigar that night. I’ve always been interested in what the big deal was, but never got around to it. Mostly because since I have no idea what constitutes a good cigar, I didn’t want my first experience to be shit because of a shit cigar.

I see what the big deal is now though. Scotch and a good cigar are awesome. When I was around 16 I got really drunk, like throw up, be sick, and pass out drunk on scotch. From that day until now, I can’t stomach scotch. Or whiskey for that matter. The smell of it alone makes me retch. Drinking scotch while smoking a cigar though, that I can do. Both mellow and enhance the other.

Sunday I pretty much stayed home by myself. This last week I definitely took a tail spin with everything that has been going on. Going to the gym became sporadic. Drinking became the norm for the week. Even junk food showed back up on the menu. Just for that last week though.

I talked to my Brother from another Mother who lives in Illinois Sunday night, I mentioned him in my last post I believe. He was checking in to make sure that I was doing all right. Just shooting the shit with him raised my spirits immensely.

This morning, Monday September 24th, I woke up around 8:30 am or so and talked with my girlfriend for about an hour and a half. We talked about her Mom showing up for the funeral, I told her what that meant to me. The girlfriend and I are in a good place. Life is good.

I called my job and told them that I would be back on Tuesday September 25th. Tomorrow. Life goes on. You got to keep on keeping on.

Thank you for reading these installments for those of you who have journeyed with me this far. I don’t know if I’ll be talking about this again or not. Right now, I don’t think so. I think I’ve said what I wanted and needed to say.

I get to close this chapter and start a new one. I don’t know what I’m going to do just yet. It’ll be good whatever it is.

I Love You Mom. Rest easy. Thank you for being my Mother and bringing me into this world. I’m grateful to you for what you have done for me all through out my entire life up until now. Hopefully I’ll remember your lessons and carry them forward. I can’t live your standards and I’m not going to try. Your standards are your own. I can only live mine.

 

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When Cancer Strikes Close To Home Part 2

purple crocus in bloom during daytime

So the 4 to 6 week time line didn’t go as expected. Turns out my Mother had only a few hours left in her life to live.

She died on September 17th at 5:00 pm MST.

She died about 8 hours after I posted my last post.

I’m writing this mostly on Tuesday, the day after. I’m numb and sort of in shock. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all. Even though I knew it was coming, I still thought I had more time. It seems unreal. At least I got to see her one last time before she died and I got to tell her that I loved her and that I would be okay after she was gone. Both my Father and me will be okay.

On Tuesday the 18th, I went with my close extended family and my Father to the mortuary to discuss what’s the next step.

My Father decided to bury her instead of cremate her because he needs and wants a final resting place for her. Somewhere he can go and talk to her. I support his decision for him. I’m good with that.

I never realized what a racket the death industry is until Tuesday. Coffins ain’t cheap. A burial plot ain’t cheap. The vault that the coffin goes in ain’t cheap. The headstone ain’t cheap. I’m not entirely sure at the moment, but I believe my Dad is into it about close to $10,000. Apparently that is cheap considering other people have paid more for this “service.”

After we got done at the mortuary, we went for lunch and talked about everything and nothing. We talked about the shit my Mom has said and done over the years. We talked about people we knew well, we talked about people that were acquaintances at best.

All I wanted to do was drink myself into oblivion. I had a few and got a good, and I mean a real good buzz going on and then went home and began to type this up.

It’s the only way right now that I can cope with the thoughts in my head and the silence that is surrounding me.

The girlfriend is in Europe for 3 months. I won’t see her until December. She knows what is going on because we talk for a bit every day. She’s offered to come home early, but I told her to enjoy her trip, there’s nothing that she can do. It won’t bring my Mom back. I miss both of them so dearly. It hurts just thinking about it.

Death is absurd. So is life when you think about it.

On one hand, I miss my Mom so much, and I know that that particular pain hasn’t even really sunk in yet. The viewing will be on Friday the 21st from 6 to 8 pm. The funeral itself will be on Saturday the 22nd and it starts at 10:30 am. I think. Maybe closer to 11. I don’t remember right at this moment.

So on one hand I miss my Mom, and on the other, I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I’m truly free of her. I can truly do what I want and be who I want without her gaze and her judgment. My life feels truly like it is my own. Maybe that makes me a terrible, selfish person, maybe not. Either way, it’s my choice now.

My girlfriend’s family has offered to come up to support me during the funeral, to be there in my girlfriend’s stead. I told them that that wouldn’t be necessary, I’ll be alright.

Maybe they’ll come up, maybe they won’t. Either way, I’m good with it. It’ll be great if they do, it’ll be fine if they don’t. I have no expectations either way.

My Father is 67 years old as I write this. He is a good man. He’s pretty good at being a man too. Some of my earliest “red pilling” came at his hands many years ago.

This will be the first chapter in his life where he is truly calling his own shots and doing whatever he wants to do. He won’t have to feel guilt for not going to the hospital to sit with my Mom. He won’t have to be a caregiver anymore. He can now do whatever he wants to do. I’m happy for him and I’m excited for him as well. He has plans. As he says, and I quote, “I’ve got shit to do.” I look forward to whatever it is that he’s going to do from here on out.

Death and life are absurd. We create all of these expectations and have ideas of what life is truly about and what we think it should be.

The truth is, life just is what it is. You keep on keeping on. It’s punctuated with highs and lows, and in the middle is where you keep on keeping on.

You get to decide what you want to do with your life. Nothing and nobody can truly hold you back except yourself. Not your Mother. Not your Father. Not even society to a large degree. Just you. Your thoughts, your hopes, your expectations. That’s all that is truly holding you back, and that’s all it’s ever been really.

That all being said, the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. There are consequences for the choices that you make. You may do things that make your life more incredible than you could have ever possibly imagined. You could fuck things up so bad that there’s no coming back from it too. Remember that. You can choose to do whatever you want, but can’t always escape the consequences of your choices.

Keep on keeping on. Life is what it is. The grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side. You can have anything you want, but you’ll also have to accept the consequences of having whatever it is that you got.

There are no do overs in life. There’s just life. Consider the consequences of the choices you are making or are about to make and then choose accordingly.

Even writing about life and death is absurd. It’s all absurd to one degree or another. In the end there are no rules.

I’ve run out of things to say for now. Now I’m choosing to stop writing and I’m going to drink myself into a stupor. Maybe not my best choice, but it’s what I choose for the moment. I accept the consequences of my choice. Judge me if you want. I don’t care. Your judgment and my own judgment really mean nothing in the long run, and they are both absurd as well.

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