Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Pennsylvania Memorial, Gettysburg, PA
I've mentioned before that my father is currently dying of lung cancer. This dying thing, it's nasty business. The boys and I went to visit him yesterday. When we arrived my mom wasn't there and dad was slumped over in a chair at the kitchen table. Reichter thought he was dead, actually, so did I. But, he wasn't. And he said the same thing he always says to me whenever I first see him, "Jennifer, you know that I love you, right?" And I say, "Yes, Dad, and I love you too." We have always had such a difficult relationship, acrimonious, sometimes downright hostile. But now he's almost dead and I have to find whatever resolution someone finds in these things.
Earlier today I talked to my sister, Junior, about all of this and she's angry that Dad isn't going to have a funeral, because he's donating his body to science, and she doesn't want to go to a memorial service for him that has no body in a casket. She also doesn't want to go and see Dad before, after he's dead, UPMC comes and picks him up. Me? I'm going to go and see him. Oddly, he told me that he wants me too. I don't know what he's said to my brothers. But I'm going, and taking pictures. I take pictures of everything, and this is part of everything.
If he and I had been completely different people, then maybe we would have been able to transcend our natures, but we aren't, and we can't. He's my father, and he made my life hell when I was a kid. Now, I have to end things with him in a way that I can live with.