My mother is the strongest person I know. When you need someone in your corner, someone who is going to be able to look you in the eye, and tell you the truth, that's my mom. When you need someone who can tell you that they believe you're going to be okay, and make you believe it, that's my mom. She's been amazing, through surgeries, and emergencies, and the time I thought I was pregnant and it wasn't pregnancy at all, and the time that I thought I was dying, and I was, after all.
My mom is someone that it has taken me forty three (Yes, Kait, I got it right this time! 2.2 percent free!) years to forgive, and learn to like, and learn to love not just as a child loves her mother but as a person loves a person. And I am fiercely proud of her, all the good and all the bad all the independence and her fears, all the tenderness and the secret, compassionate things she does and all the times she's driven me crazy with picking at me.
And I love my dad. But right now I am angry and scared and sad, because I realize that the person I thought I knew, the person I thought I was friends with is not the man that I see every week. The man that I see every week is stick thin and small, with a racking cough that doesn't quit. He spends his time alone out on the patio, instead of out with people. He doesn't work with his hands the way he used to. My dad taught me things that I can never pass on. How to try to see the good in everyone. How to treat people in ways that make them feel appreciated and wanted. How to finish things, and keep your word. That sometimes even when you're ready to scream and cry and give up...you can try one more time.
And that's not this person. This person is quiet and sad and he doesn't go out. He just doesn't. He doesn't spend time talking to the kids like he used to. He doesn't make things, and he doesn't go talk to his friends. He's becoming his father, someone I adored but didn't really know, a silent man who sat for hours in his rocking chair on the porch of their Springfield home until his bodie crumpled in on itself and he died of emphysema.
Do we *HAVE* to become our parents? I mean really and truly. Not in a 'gee I feel like rebelling so I'm going to make a stab at being different' sort of way. Is that old age and death going to just be waiting there, patiently in the bones to take the shape of your mother's death or your grandfather's?
My dad was always a restless man. He was always *doing* things. He worked hard and he played hard. I suppose it could be said that he's just tired. I can understand that. But I can't understand his giving up like this. My dad never gave up. He wouldn't *let* things come between him and what he thought was important. And now instead of fighting the things that are keeping him from important things, like his grandson, it seems like he's embracing them. I'm confused.
And not innocent. I need to spend more time with him. I need to look at myself and change myself, so that the mother and father in my bones don't become my death. I'm as guilty as he is, and I have to change.
I just don't want to let him go, while I do it.