This Week Sucks
This week 2 years ago my dad was in the hospital dying. I was working in Jacksonville and wasn’t there when, on April 1 (yes, April Fools Day-awesome) my family made the decision to unplug him from all the monitors. He died on 4/1/11 at 11:44. In the past few days I’ve found myself increasingly depressed and once I realized why I was reminded that I felt the same way on the anniversary of his death last year.
Anyway, here’s what happened yesterday.
Yesterday was my friend Amber’s birthday and she texted me the day before and asked if I’d come over sometime during the day or in the evening. I wanted to go see her because it was important. Honestly though, I really didn’t want to go anywhere. I’m feeling pretty down lately and I really just wanted to stay inside.
Her house is about 45 minutes away from mine so the other factor in that is gas since I don’t have a job. My only income now is from photography jobs which are random. (See previous posts on my dumb decision to quit my job and move to a different state with someone I didn’t really know. Sorry, K) But it was her birthday so I went.
The Hookah Bar
When I got there Amber decided she wanted to go to the hookah bar for fool (Egyptian dip made of fava beans) and grape leaves. While we were there everything shifted and it was all so strange that it’s difficult for me to remember all the details. Amber told me she had talked about her dad to a friend the previous night and that she never talks about it. I didn’t even know her dad had passed. I didn’t remember. I blocked it out so we wouldn’t ever talk about it…I don’t know. I don’t even remember how the subject of dead fathers came up at the hookah bar, but it did.
So, there at the hookah joint she told me her father died of cancer. He was diagnosed and died within 3 months. It happened in 2005. She told me about the last time she saw him and how she knew it would be the last time. She went through several years of sorrow, confusion and craziness and looks back on it the same way I do…what the hell just happened and how did I get here? And here we are having a conversation we’ve never had on her birthday and on the anniversary of my father’s death.
As Amber talks about her dad she cries. I cry. We stare out the window. Okay, I stare out the window so I don’t cry even more. She talks about how it doesn’t get any better. She says you learn to appreciate the experiences you had together and try to incorporate them into your life. She says she is still working on her anger. This isn’t helping.
We talk about how we both sense our fathers through birds of prey and how we’ve both almost hit an Eagle and Owl with our cars. We talk about how both of our fathers collected Eagles and how the day after she found out her father died she went to work and how a week after my dad died I got another job. How it hurts us both to still talk about it but how we can sometimes find a peace and beauty to all of it and how sometimes things seem okay.
Silently, we paid and got in my car to go back to her house.
When we got in the car I played this song (which you should listen to now):
While driving I noticed some wildflowers on the side of the road and I told Amber I was stopping so I can pick her some flowers. She put her hand on mine and said wait…I just need a moment…and she started crying. I just sat there and held her hand with both of mine. I cried with her.
When she was able to she said “my dad used to pull off the side of the road and pick me flowers” and I quietly got out of the car and picked the flowers while watching the setting sun swirl through them while creating a soothing warm glow.
After I left Ambers I went to see a special viewing of the movie American Beauty (1999) in a nearby theatre. It’s one of my top 5 favorite movies. Poignant, beautiful film. After I got home I received this poem (out of the blue) from a different friend who also lost her father, but at a much younger age.
If in this moment, we were face to face
I imagine we’d sit side by side and stare, wordlessly out to space.
Comfortable with silence in any moonlit place.
Quietly I’d take your hand, trace circles in your palm
Round and round unwind this day, ’till every stress was gone.
When days are dark, just take my hand, our own vibration, I’ll always understand.
and was subsequently reminded of a quote from American Beauty…
“And that’s the day I realized that there was this entire life behind things, and this incredibly benevolent force that wanted me to know that there was no reason to be afraid, ever…Sometimes, there’s so much beauty in the world – I feel like I can’t take it, like my heart is just going to cave in.”