Reading a story by Joan Didion in Slouching Towards Bethlehem on keeping a notebook. Thinking about my blog which I’ve neglected since my dad died last July. Maybe my neglect is partly due to the fact that I knew he read and commented on everything I posted.
It’s a Saturday morning, the kind of morning my dad would call to check in to see how things were going. We would make small talk about food, photography and my boys. Lately, there had been a hesitation when he talked about himself, alluding to some knee ailment, slight vertigo and just being worn out. There was something else wrong that went beyond his usual phsical ailments. I could tell there was a longing to say something that he just couldn’t- maybe about how much he wished he could be around and really be part of his 5 grandsons growing up. There was something sad about him telling me how he watched Sam’s graduation ceremony on a live stream from his computer.
Most times the conversation led to his timber frame house in Falmouth which he built in 1990. There was always a proudness when he talked about that house which had now been replaced by a certain longing. He wanted to visit there more often, he wanted me to bring all his grandkids there but because the circumstances surrounding his lifemade it too difficult. One of the sad ironies (and there are a lot of sad ironies) about his death was that he was on his way to Falmouth when he died in a car crash. He wanted me to meet him in Cape Cod in the fall to show me the house because he said this is going to be yours eventually. I would always shy away from this kind of talk perhaps because it alluded to him dying. I’m thinking now that I should have asked him what do really mean by that comment, “It’s going to be yours eventually.”
What’s mine now since the nine months he died has been spent deciphering what I thought was a fairly simple man’s life. It’s taken me countless hours of paperwork, phone calls and legal issues to realize that his life was never, right up to the second he died, that simple.