Sunday, November 18, 2007

This blog has been a laboratory of sorts, allowing me to work out my life as I do best, by typing it out and seeing it front of me. For me to concretely hold my thoughts, I have to see them in front of me. (My mental filing cabinet is overstuffed and utterly disorganized.)


Some weeks ago I was feeling odd, emotionally speaking. I had to run some errands, so while out in the truck I put Randy Newman's "Little Criminals" CD on.

As I pulled into the garage, my favorite song, the slow, haunting "Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father" came on and I was bludgeoned by an acute feeling of loss as I listened to the lyrics and thought about my father, who died several years ago.

Here I am lost in the wind
'Round in circles sailing
Like a ship that never comes in
Standing by myself

Sing a sad song for a good man
Sing a sad song for me
Sing a sad song for the sailor
A thousand miles from the sea

Here I am alone on the plain
Sun's going down
It's starting to rain
Papa we'll go sailing

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I sang along, my heart aching to burst under a cascade of loss. Newman's lyrics perfectly captured my feelings--and my pain: "Here I am lost in the wind.... alone on the plain."

I missed my father terribly that day. I felt utterly alone and unprotected, sitting in ruins. The loss boiled through me as I realized that, emotionally sealed away and inept at parenting though he was, he really had loved me as best he could.

I thought about this blog some days later. I live my life in my head, rarely in contact with my heart, that emotions go unacknowledged and ignored until they mount and mount and finally their weight against the door between my heart and mind bursts it open, and I'm overwhelmed by the flood of raw emotion.

That's why so much of this blog is about my pain. I don't know why I'm comfortable working out my emotional life here. The more I work this pain out, the less it seems to overwhelm me. In my past posts, I wrote about my temptations to suicide. Yet those have almost all faded away. Yes, they spike when I'm in conflict, especially with my wife, but it's only a spike on a baseline chart and as soon as I see it, I dismiss it as ridiculous. Killing myself is no longer an option I take seriously because I see it as a chilish response that I had enshrined as my ultimate act of "fuck you, too!" rebellion. I suspect the temptation of suicide as a release from pain will always be a faultline in my soul, but having a weakness like this is no different than what other people live with every day. Theirs merely labeled differently: Drugs, alcohol, rage, overeating, running away, perfectionism, et al.

If I could have my dad back for ten seconds, I would tell him this: "I miss, you Dad. You were a sonofabitch too many times and a disaster as a parent, but you did give me some good things in my life. I love you."

I don't know that I'll ever not miss my dad. I hope I don't, I hope this pain will act to keep my heart open to me so I can learn to live in it rather than my fucking head. I presume the intensity of the pain will subside, and that's fine by me, but I never want to forget my dad or the good things--and bad--he gave me. I want a complete memory of him, not one whitewashed or spattered with flung shit.

I miss you, Dad.



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