Monday, July 10, 2006
Yesterday we finally put my father to rest
Sunday afternoon, even though he left this earth more than 5 years ago, me, my mother, and my brother finally put my father to rest. No, don’t get it twisted, it’s not like we had the big guy mummified in a house somewhere because we have serious “letting go” issues. I mean, I was at Arlington National Cemetery on that unseasonably warm February day in 2001, sitting beside my mother as a highly decorated military man placed a neatly folded American flag in her lap, me realizing what a great soldier he was as the 21 gun salute made an extremely bad hangover even worse. So yes, I was there when they lowered the man that I call “pops” in the ground. But even though my family was forced to let go of the man in his physical form, I think that we all, in are own way, didn’t realize until yesterday that we hadn’t completely let go.
Let me explain.. Besides a 30 year veteran of the Navy, my father was also a lifelong mechanic. Listen, I had and will always have issues with my father, but if it had a motor he could fix it, I couldn't tell you how many childhood toys the man repaired. Anyway, he had a car garage that he ran since the early 80’s, a car garage that we all couldn’t let go of until yesterday. Yes it was just sitting there, yes rent was paid on that spot even though there wasn’t a business there, yes my old man’s car garage became a glorified storage unit that held his vast array of auto repair tools that he had accumulated over his lifetime. But it wasn’t until recently when the rent was being raised that my family realized not only how silly it was paying rent there since 01’, but yesterday as we cleaned up the place and took the last of the tools out of there, we knew that we were finally saying goodbye.
To be completely honest, I pitched a fucking fit when my mother and brother asked me for my assistance in cleaning the place up. Yes, I can be lazy, and yes I had a serious hangover with stripper glitter all over me, but I knew why I really dreaded going there. Even though I despised going there when my father was alive, maybe it's me but changing people’s oil in 95 degree heat and being yelled at continuously wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I knew that the end of what we affectionately call “the shop” would be tearing down a sort of shrine to my father.(A rather expensive one at that.)
So yesterday, as we threw trash in dumpsters, poured cat litter on oil spills, and hauled everything from transmissions to jack-stands to a real storage unit, there was definitely a somber feeling that fell upon us. Me, regretting the horrible relationship that me and my father had, even now at 32, having pleasant daydreams where me and my father are bonding during some random activity because of regret, I knew that the closing of “the shop” was a big step concerning me emotionally moving on. My brother probably took it the hardest, never actually shedding a tear or blubbering like a school girl, but the ultra serious demeanor he had even though we were doing the most menial of tasks let me know that it affected him too. Hell, he had a relationship with my father that I would have given a left testicle for, ok, maybe a finger,(fuck, do I really have to lose an appendage for you to understand what I’m trying to say??”) My mother, the rock of the family, even though she is the epitome of “poker face” I knew that our last day at the shop affected her intensely by her simply saying, “Goddamn, this is some really sad shit!!”
Anyway, as painful as it was, I think finally putting my father, I mean “the shop”, to rest is the best thing for all of us..