Sunday, July 18, 2004

Ain't nobody here...

I am sitting here in tears after reading a post on Jack's page. His father died on the 13th after a long battle with illness and as soon as I saw his picture my heart sank and I just started bawling.

It brought it all back. My fathers death. Even after 15 years, it still breaks me.

My father and I were very close. Conspirators really. We liked the same things and people, and we disliked the same people. (mostly my mothers family)

At family functions you would see us sitting together, most times being ignored by my mothers family. I was the black sheep and he was the man that wasn't good enough for my mother. They were right in the beginning, he was a drunk. By 1978 he was sober but they still gave him the cold shoulder, which was fine by him because he thought most of them were pretentious. We enjoyed our black sheep status, because it meant we didn't have to pretend to be interested in their bullshit. We could just sit back and enjoy the show. And it was a show.

We were the ones who snickered when one of them would walk out of the bathroom with toilet paper hanging out of their skirt. It was an unspoken bond. We never had any deep discussions, just a kinship. Two outsiders. When we set out on vacation with a convoy of cars it was always my father and I in one.

We could communicate our feelings with a look. Someone would make a comment and both our eyes would roll. It is hard to explain, but we didn't have to talk. Neither of us were what you would call huggy people. My mother's family was always kissing hello and kissing goodbye, and I would cringe every time they tried to wrap their arms around me. I still find it uncomfortable. I think if you want to hug someone go ahead, but don't do it just because it's the thing you do when you say hello or goodbye. It's just felt insincere.

I think at the end my father may have regretted his lack of outward expressions of affection. But with me he never had to. One of the last times he was in hospital, he looked at me and said, "I love you." then he started to cry. I wrapped my arms around him and he said, "I just realized I never said that to you before."

"You never had to."
I always knew he loved me, and he knew I loved him. I sat with him as he died. I held his hand. I squeezed it when he drew his last breath. It was hard, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. The two black sheep, proud to be so.

And then there was one.

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