Monday, March 27, 2006

Can it be half a decade already?
I don't quite know how to approach this subject, but I'll try...

At about 9pm tonight, March 27th, it will be exactly five years since my Mom passed away. And I can't believe it's been that long; the time has just flown by in a blur. Then, some 57 days later, Dad left this earth, too. 2001 was a really dark year for our family. My sister, who's been a CNA, took care of Mom during her last painful months, and then she tried as hard as she could to console my Dad after Mom's passing. What was I doing? Driving cab at the time, trying to keep the rent paid, trying to survive. During the final months in the lives of both parents, my sister gave everything she had, caring for the both of them. She mentally exhausted herself and is still recovering from everything she went through back then. I had periodically seen Mom and Dad during the last few years, touching base every now and then, but my sister was an absolute angel, there day in and day out for both of them.

I've kept my identity "anonymous", which is good, because no one knows who I am or who my sister is, but I want to give her all of the credit in the world for doing so very much during those exceptionally difficult times. I wish I'd had the strength to be there more, and I know I could have, but I didn't. To this day I don't have a good opinion of my actions (or lack of actions) during that time. I remember a couple of months after they'd both passed away, and I was sitting at the sea wall in CDA City Park; it was a warm day, and as I watched the waves come ashore, all of a sudden it hit me, "they're gone; they're really gone, aren't they?" And I remember all the stupid things I did growing up, and all of the disappointments I caused my folks, and sometimes it really hits me hard. It's a burden I will always carry.

Maybe the point of all this is that I'm trying to deal with the feelings that arise every year about this time. If I sit silently somewhere, I can still hear Mom calling me home for dinner; I could hear her familiar Texas accent several houses away. Maybe I became conditioned to hear that, I don't know. When I would go to see them in the last decade, oftentimes Mom asked me "what I wanted" when she passed away, and I'd always say, "I'm not waiting for you to pass away"; I wanted her to live. Finally, to give her some kind of answer, I told her, "I'll take musical things, I guess." I now have her two baritone ukeleles. Sometimes late at nite I'll play some of the old hymns she played. I remember sitting in my living room shortly after Mom and Dad both passed away, and I took one of those ukeleles and sat there for a long time, just embracing that little instrument, giving it a hug. At the time, doing that filled a hole in my soul.

My Dad and I had a rough relationship. I know I disappointed him a lot. He was an intelligent man, very 'driven', but he could be very moody, and things between he and I over the last 20 years weren't good at all. I was determined to do things my way, and we had many disagreements. I honestly don't know if I miss him, but I remember times when he made us laugh, as well as times when he blew up at us all. So am I ungrateful? Possibly. Many times, my Mom would get in-between Dad and me when things got too bad; I remember Mom crying out in desperation, trying to keep Dad and me from (mentally) going at each other. And, I was physically and emotionally afraid of my Dad until the day he passed away.

I can remember the date of my last training run, when it became too painful to run any more. I can remember the dates that other relationships I've been in began and ended (and they've ALL ended). I can remember my very last day working at a local radio station, depressed out of my mind because I didn't feel I was wanted there any more. And now I also have the dates of both my parents' passings-away indelibly burned into my mind. Sometimes I wish I didn't remember things so well. I remember one warm summer afternoon, when I went out to the cemetery to visit Mom and Dad. I was sitting there on the grass, just looking around, thinking to myself, "this is how it's going to be forever"...I may change, things may change, but at their graves, it's the same and will always be. I sat there for a couple of hours, searching for some kind of grand realization which never came. Finally, I thought, "I need to go to City Park; I want to be where people are ALIVE!" So I did, and I felt better.

I don't need a cemetery to remember Mom and Dad, though. Sometimes something I say in conversation reminds me of Mom. Sometimes the way I rant and rave in this blogsite reminds me of Dad, and I have both of their personalities within me. I can only hope that I let the best parts of them come out through me. Dad had a fascinating grasp of intellectual detail; Mom was sentimental and spoke from the heart. Both of them are always with me, and their memory pops up every day, and always will. I have fallen far short many, many times, and I realize that especially at this time of year. I felt incapable of accomplishing everything I felt my parents wanted me to do. I had mood swings and depression as early as my sophomore year in High School, and maybe I didn't fulfill my capabilities, but at the time I just did what I could do. It's no use wishing things were different, because the past is just that, the 'past'. It's gone, except in my memory.

Love? Huh? Did I love them? I don't know. I guess I did. That's a word that takes on so many meanings, definitions and implications. Love isn't a simple thing. Not for me, anyway. So I don't know. I do feel like a part of me went missing when my parents passed away. I wish that things could've been better between us all, and I wish I had been a better son. But I'm who I am, and I have to live with that. For me, the word "Love" has become so twisted and convoluted, and within my own mind, I feel extreme pressure when I'm "obligated" to someone. So I stay alone. I just can't handle that. In that sense, I do feel like I have a piece missing. But there's hope, I guess...for some reason, I feed the birds. So I'm not (totally) self-absorbed...I hope not. Anyway, this is a confusing time of the year, and today, I'll be taking it easy, trying to just let this day pass.

I don't know if I'll go to the cemetery today. It seems to get harder to go out there as time goes on, and I don't understand that at all; I thought it was the other way around, that things get 'easier' with time. But wherever I end up today, I'll remember. And I wanted to try to mark this day somehow, and so I put this little thing together...

An old spiritual my Mom used to sing, while playing the ukelele...

"This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through
If heaven is not my home, then Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me, from Heaven's open door,
And I can't...feel at this world...anymore."


Blogger jb3ll3 said...

Don't look back. Don't second guess yourself. Look forward and keep playing in the park, so to speak. That's what your mom would do.

11:16 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Jbelle, she did go to the park every now and then to seek solitude; she told me that. Memories do come and go. But I try to keep one eye on the present and the other looking forward. Easier said than done sometimes.

1:15 AM  

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