Friday, February 5, 2010

Bullet-Point Friday: Significance

  • The first time I had sex after my father died my orgasm was amazing. It was as if my physical joy was supplemented by the knowledge that his body already lay rotting in a casket, unable to feel pleasure again. If it ever did. In many ways I feel I was cheated out of my father's death. After spending the majority of my childhood wishing him dead, he did not finally die until almost a full 16 years after I cut all ties to my parents. Far too late to give me any possibility of having a more pleasant childhood. His death, much like his life, was useless to me by that point.

  •  When my sister finally called to give me the news I had already learned from other sources days earlier, she related his last hours, embellished to give the impression that his death was imbued with significance. The last time he had been rushed to the hospital for his heart condition, he had had his "path toward the light" experience that had somehow relayed to him that the afterlife would embrace him, would enfold him in eternal peace. So he had told my mother that he did not want to be resuscitated the next time. That everything would be alright. Oh, the lies horrible people tell themselves to "make up for" their truly horrible lives!

  • My eldest sister drove up from central Texas to sneak into the funeral home to pay her last respects, to say her farewells when the "rest" of the family was gone. After several years of not having contact with our parents. I briefly toyed with the idea of an after-hours visit with my father's corpse, not to say goodbye, for I had already done that 16 years prior, but to stuff a bag of my own feces into his casket so he would smell my shit for eternity. But that seemed a bit over the top. So I did not make the late-night trip to an east Texas funeral home with the other estranged members of my family.

  • My father "departed" February 10th, slightly more than a week after my birthday. I like to think he was thinking of me the days before his death. That I was nothing like him. That I had too much self-respect and dignity to ever be like him. The last "conversation" I had with my father was almost sixteen years prior, when I threatened to be the one to call the police myself.... In some ways I feel I missed that window of opportunity when abused children could murder their abusers and get out of a prison sentence for being too young or too emotionally damaged. But the healing that has come in the time since lets me know that that route was never truly an option.

  • The official obituary listed one child and two grandchildren. Basic arithmetic was never my parents' strong point. Nothing basic ever was. (This mathematical oversight was no less meaningless than trying to pass off my eldest sister as a ten-pound premature baby when she was born eight months to the day from their wedding. But I digress.) Being absent in that petty way makes my estrangement somehow sweeter. And yet my name was listed--or the name I share with my namesake--as one who preceded my father in death. "Brother" and "son" are empty signifiers anyway. Much like "father," itself even empty as a signified.

  • This past Tuesday, the day after my birthday, I received a note from Tetsuya, one of the most significant men in my life. He wrote, "After all, blessed are your parents who gave birth to a wonderful man like you." It is only by way of the love I have received in this life that I am able to give love at all. Even to and for the insignificant man who gave me life.