I remember this line of Lewis Carroll's clearly as they were painted elaborately on a rough hewn greeting card I bought years and years ago to write a letter to my parents telling them I was gay. I never wrote the letter (I did come out, obviously), but I think I kept the card in my old desk. These lines keep ringing in my head this week as, sadly, the time has come.
Papa John is in the hospital with pneumonia. Last week it looked like the beginning of the end and I bought a seven-day advance ticket home to Nashville. We weren't sure which way things would go and I was told to "wait and see." I bought a ticket anyway. Today, it looks like the end is very definitely nigh. I am still getting conflicting advice regarding either to get an emergency ticket home asap or to keep my Wednesday flight plans. Some argue that I can't do anything even when I get there, so not to over-rush it. But there is value in being present, and I want to be there with him if only to be there with him. I'm seeing what I can do with flights now. And packing. I have't worn a suit in years (California living) and had to buy one Friday. The alterations won't be ready until tomorrow.
Jay and I have been writing the obituary. I have been trying to rehearse a eulogy in my head but can't get though it without sobbing and can't imagine getting through it with a congregation.
I worry a lot about Mom, maybe more so as she has been the stalwart so far. I fear that when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
Sharing experiences with my San Framily, I am struck by how fortunate I am to have such a close, loving, and honest relationship with my parents. That is not nearly as common as it should be.
With the ever-advancing Parkinson's, I thought I had been able to prepare myself bit by bit, saying goodbye to pieces of my father as they left us. Preparation was an illusion. I can only think that while my pain is acute it is because it is pure, and I can be comforted that it could be worse as our relationship was relatively uncomplicated.
I have no unresolved "issues" with my father. We say "I love you" as often as we can, and furthermore we mean it. I know that he is proud of me and he knows how much I have admired him. We touch. We talk. We hug. We hang.
We have left nothing unsaid. ("Of course not, you're a Hardcastle." I hear you jest.)
yet, there are tales left to be told. ("Again, of course you'd say so. You're a Hardcastle.")
I regret that I have not partnered in time for him to meet the love of my life.
And where are my father's lectures? His history lessons? Or his monologues on the extended genealogy of anyone and everyone he may ever come across— now that I want to hear them? Those were taken from us first, and far too soon.
The blog will be dormant for a while. Unless I feel the need to vent snark as part of my process, don't expect many postings for the next several weeks. Updates and details may be posted here as appropriate.