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Slouching Toward Uncertainty



My dad's funeral was on Saturday.

Our relationship was...unusual. If you've read Fistfights With Flashlights, you know what I mean. Beyond that, we just didn't "get" each other. Over the last few years, the longest conversations we had were arguments. We could go at it like you wouldn't believe, for hours at a time. It was really our main mode of communication. But...that worked for us. Most people didn't get that, but that's how it was - we'd always come out of those arguments with more respect for each other. I never did end up converting him to a raging radical leftist, and he never converted me to a conservative biblical literalist, but we did manage to somewhat mellow each other.

For the last six months, he'd been sick - using oxygen machines and taking a pharmacy worth of pills every day - but he was still able to walk around, talk, do stuff. He was still himself. Then, all of a sudden, last Monday...he just wasn't. He couldn't walk under his own power. He would fall asleep at random times - in the middle of a sentence, while taking a drink, whenever - then he lost his voice, then lost control of his bodily functions. By Thursday, he was no longer conscious. Two Hospice nurses were here. Around two pm, one of them turned to my mom and I and said that we should come and sit by him.

My mom whispered things into his ear and held his hand. I stood off to the side, silent. I counted the seconds between his breaths - one, one-thousand, two, one-thousand. At two thirty, he stopped breathing. I had counted up to fourteen one-thousand before I realized that that was it. It was over. My mom was crying. I wasn't. I still haven't. I don't know why that is. Maybe the six months of advance warning prepared me. Maybe I'm a bit of a heartless bastard. Maybe it's a bit of both.

Today I took my mom in for surgery.

I skipped class the last few days. My grades are going to hell. Whatever. I'll figure something out, later.


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My condolences to you, and wishes for all the best. I'm not good with this, so I better stop now. As for your grades going to hell, don't worry about it. Mine are already there; it will meet yours.Rad

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Dear Ele:My sincere sympathy on the loss of your father. I know it must be hard on you. Don't let the absence of tears upset you because everyone grieves in his own way. If they come, good and if they don't come, that's good too. As long as you are at peace with yourself, it's okay. I think you could salvage your grades by explaining your situation to an administrator. I think they could work out deferred exams and/or make up work -- that is if you're interested. But grades are secondary to your mental health.Be well.

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I come at things like this from a different perspective, Asperger's Syndrome, and I can tell you that from that angle one is more apt to mourn, or rant and rave, due to an injured or sick living person than a dead one. You have known this has been coming and you have made your relationship a respectful one while you could. There is nothing more to do, except support your mother. The mourning may well have happened for you many months ago, a small bit at a time, and the funeral actually marks the end of the mourning, and the start of the new situation.Whatever you do, and whatever the situation, don't be looking for a 'what you should be feeling'. A quick chaste hug to you. :ohmy:

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Your whole family here is feeling great empathy for you, EleCivil. You will think of your father at odd times as time passes, sometimes with remorse, sometimes cheerfully. Whether you break down and cry, or don't, really doesn't matter a whit. You have your memories that you and he made together. They are your celebration of him.Take care.Cole

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Sorry to hear about your dad. It sounds like the gradual decline of his health allowed you to go through some of the mourning process in advance. Don't sweat the grades--any academic administrator who isn't a heartless bastard will take into account the family circumstances--and being there with your family as you were is far more important. A class can always be repeated, a test taken later, a paper postponed; your father only dies once, and the scheduing of it is not something you get a say in.May your memories of him serve as blessings, and also fodder for future writings.--Rigel

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EleCivil,You have my email and IM, if you ever need to talk.You'll grieve in your own way and your own time. In some ways, you already have. In other ways, you didn't have an easy relationship with your dad, and all those feelings are jumbled together. So of course, it doesn't feel one way or another yet.You're one of the most talented guys around, and you clearly care. Take care of yourself too.These guys said it:

I think you could salvage your grades by explaining your situation to an administrator. I think they could work out deferred exams and/or make up work [ . ]
Whatever you do, and whatever the situation, don't be looking for a 'what you should be feeling'.
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I guess it says more about my frame of mind than yours, but that blog is the closest thing to real-live noir you've ever written. It's passively philosophical and full of sharp contrasts in characters while maintaining a pragmatic view of tragedy that doesn't ask why as much as it ponders the need to ask.I'm not sure if I should congradulate you or not. You now have a wealth of emotion to draw from for your writings, and I doubt you are the kind to waste it. I just think it rather morbid of myself that such a tragedy in my own life is what I need to complete my peace de resistance.Then again, never once have I corrected my writing teacher for calling me a freak.

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