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.


Solo Homo said...

Not only are you clear in perspective, you're an extremely brave person.
I wish you well.

Julie said...

I wish I could do more than repeat "I'm so sorry your family is going through this," but I don't know what else to say.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Thanks Solo and Julie, and we're getting through it. My mom needs a lot of support, so we all take turns helping her out.

drollgirl said...

i know this must be such a difficult thing to go through, but you are handling it well. very well.

the whole parent/kid thing is just so nuts. we all make mistakes, and with any luck they can be dealt with and hopefully forgiven before we lost that person. i think it is good to try and come to terms with things if at all possible. finding someway to cope and move on just seems like the best possible ending.

sorry if this sounds/reads cheesy.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

It all sounded great to me :)

gyps said...

Hang in there Jennifer. We're thinking of you...xo

H said...

I can't imagine how difficult this must be for you. My thoughts are with you.