My dad's death
21-08-2012, 05:04 AM
My dad's death
I haven't been around a lot recently, but I needed somewhere to get this out.
My dad died exactly a month ago. He had a massive heart attack, and even after two hours (!) of CPR and attempts at resuscitation by determined doctors, he did not survive. Even though it was a tremendous shock and tragedy, it took me surprisingly little time to come to grips with it. (Dealing with my mother and the situation in which he left her, though, has been another story.) One of the strangest things to deal with has been the outpouring of religious sentiment that comes along with it.
I'm sure you're all familiar with the cliche "I'll pray for you" or "he's in a better place." It's shockingly hollow to be on the receiving end of it. And what I didn't expect was how soon it started. Shortly after he died, they set his body aside in a room for me, and I went to see him. I was his only family in town at the time, so I was all alone with him. I had decided I would say a few words--for me, since, of course, I would be the only person there to hear them. Even though I'd mentally prepared myself for that, it was still a surprise to realize just how creepy death is. People like to say a dead person looks like they're sleeping, but dad didn't seem like he was sleeping--he seemed like he was gone. Now, fresh from that experience the social worker assigned to me took me aside and (not shockingly) recommended I go to grief counseling. Then she asked if I'd said anything to him, and I said something along the lines of "Yes, I did...but it was for my sake, since it's not like he could hear me." "Oh, I think they can still hear us," she says. That bit caught me a bit off guard...especially with that experience of seeing him there lifeless so fresh in my mind. The last thing I really wanted was for someone to contradict my conclusions, especially while I was trying to cope.
Among the truly wonderful response of support I've gotten from friends and family the last month, there have been sprinkled those little moments of dissonance where I don't really know how to respond to a friend's/family member's assurance that my dad is in heaven, or is listening to me, or is watching me in some way. Mostly I just gloss over those moments. Well, tonight I got another one of those moments in the form of a card with an enclosed poem. It comes from my dad's (in my opinion haughtily pious) estranged sister, whom I honestly haven't seen in years. She included the following, which, the card explains, was attached to the announcement of their own mother's death:
Quote:I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
I felt the need to express a counterpoint to this unapologetic sap and get out a bit of how I've been feeling about this whole situation. I wrote my own poem, which I have decided to inflict upon you as follows:
The day death comes for me
will be an ordinary day,
a day like any other
not distinct in any way.
And I will pray no special blessing
to god, deity or saint.
I will but fall to silence
as my heart and breath grow faint.
I will not ask for Jesus's hand
to guide me into bliss;
I won't await my loved ones' lips
to greet me with a kiss.
I will not look for pearly gates
or bright streets paved with gold,
or listen for the music
from the stories we've been told.
I will not fear the flames of hell
or pure white judgment seat,
I will not wear a crown
as a reward for undefeat.
The promises that in my youth
they swore would keep me good
Will be made useless to me
having done all that they could.
Oblivion awaits me there
across that gaping rift.
But today I hold life precious,
for I cannot take it with.
Thanks for reading.
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My dad's death - rook2004 - 21-08-2012 05:04 AM