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..

5 comments:

Bk_red said...

God bless... man, letting go is some hard shit. thankfully i haven't yet had to endure the deaths of any extremely close family or friends, but i can just imagine how i would take it. glad you have a strong mother to lead the family though. somebody's gotta be able to take the reins in hard times.

blkbutterfly said...

this post made me tear up a bit. my mother died a little over two years ago, and we still haven't really put her to rest. as you pointed out, letting go of a close family member is more about the emotional process as opposed to the physical one...

Piscean Princess said...

Yeah, letting go is hard. How nice that you were all there going through it together. Even if none of you were particularly verbal about what you were going through in that moment, having your additional family members there is a blessing.

p.s. guys who express their emotions are hot...

Sankofa said...

I know how had this was for you. So I am extremey proud of you...stripper glitter and all :-)

Michelle said...

My father died in 2000, and my mom & I grieved together and got through it. But it wasn't until 5 years later, when it was time for her to remarry and move away that we had to totally get rid of everything; my father had a huge amount of stuff in our garage that we coudn't physically move or just didn't have a place for.

So we hired some help and rented a dumpster and once we got started we realized we didn't truly want most of that stuff we had left in there; we were just holding on to it. And it was so freeing for us to throw it away and let him go.

Sorry it's so long. I just say that to mean that I have been through something similar.