Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Toys from My Father (R.I.P.)

Two days ago, I flew down and said good-bye to my father in the flesh––kissed his hand and told him I'd always remember him with respect, which I thought was the thing that would please this Sicilian man the most––spent the night, and flew back the next day. 
My brother called this morning at 5 a.m. to say our father just died. 

(Have I mentioned a brother? Maybe not. He's not in my life. Our family is a like a broken ceramic plate--it's hard to fit the pieces together again, all those razor-sharp edges and rough, grating edges.)

I'm grateful I made the trip in time.
My father wasn't responsive when I got there, but his consciousness didn't seem to be totally shut down, and I definitely got the sense he knew I was there, along with my brother and sister. 

I knew it would be hard to be in the house of my father, and it was (bad dreams came to me), but my father had refused to go to his own dying father's bedside, and I realized when I was there that by showing up, now my actions would never in any way echo that, in the mind of my father, me, or anyone else. 
Unexpectedly, it felt a little bit like I was ending a curse.

(Hm. It's only as I write this that I see that so clearly:
perhaps only the one who is hurt enough to want to carry on the curse has the power not to, and thus to end it . . .  [wow])

I'm grateful my father had a good death, as death goes---hospice in his home and morphine both worked beautifully, and people he loved attended him. 
My brother said he simply slowed and slowed until he stopped.
And I'm grateful that after a brutal boyhood, my father had a good adult life, and even a great second-half of his life, and he knew and said as much.

I wrote before that one of the great things I inherited from my father is a love of toys. I brought home with me some of his santons, French nativity figurines, bought over many years on trips abroad with my sister. 

These [fuzzy laptop photo below] are some of them, on my windowsill. When I hold them,  I feel plain old, straightforward love for my father.


gz said...

Hearing goes last apparently. He would have known. xx

Michael Leddy said...

gz said just what I was going to say. The hospice people who cared for my dad told me that.

I'm sorry for your loss, Fresca.

Fresca said...

Thanks, you guys.
Yes, I felt he responded to my voice, and I thought that even if he couldn't decipher exactly what I was saying, that didn't matter:
he recognized my voice---and that of my brother--and knew his children were present.
Our sister had been there all along, so I know he knew she was there too.

The Crow said...

I am glad for you that you were there in your father's last hours. It matters, and is observed, recognized somehow by the dying. My mother held on until she saw and spoke to each of her six kids.

It matters for us, too, the ones left behind.

You've lost his body (and I am sorry for that), but his spirit, that part of him he passed on to his children, his joyful characteristics, will remain for years to come.


Fresca said...

CROW: Yes, it turns out it mattered more to me than I expected--simply seeing my father in the process of dying softened the blow of his actual death: it made it more real, not some weird out-of-the-blue event. Grounding, to touch and see him.

Joyful characteristics--definitely the inheritance I treasure most. He had them until the end, too.