I Never Can Say Goodbye

As I write this, one of my friends is preparing to bury her father. One had to fly out of town unexpectedly to do a welfare check on her father – he had died in his home. Another spent last weekend cleaning out her dad’s house to ready it for sale. One cancelled our girl’s weekend because her mom and stepfather are failing and could go at any time. None of this is funny – unless I say something like “the common denominator (seriously – a math reference? Do we even teach those anymore?) is me – stay away from me or your parents will die. Which really isn’t that funny.

I am pretty sure it is because most of my friends are around my age – which means it is just a timing thing. My blogs have become a little farther apart as surrounded by all of this is not happy at all. Just because death is a normal part of life and all that crap, doesn’t mean I have to talk about it all of the time. But, since I’m thinking it all of the time – it is all I can write. Bleck. At least I stopped writing about the ungraceful things that happen to us as we age. (Just because I stopped doesn’t mean I am done.)

I have always hated goodbyes. Always.

I don’t like to say goodbye on the phone – funny – I must have learned that from Dad – it used to drive all of my friends and family nuts – Dad would just hang up the phone when he thought the conversation had come to an end. Seriously – a few friends have admitted to me that they do everything in their power to try to make him say goodbye. My sister and I just laugh about it. We also laugh about the things he does say. Like once, he ended his conversation with me like this, “I still love you.” She and I giggle over that all of the time. Sometimes we say it to each other. The sad part is, that tiny joke will be lost in a few generations. Maybe he didn’t like goodbyes either.

I don’t say goodbye on the phone, either – but I don’t just hang up. I say things like, “I’ll call you. Call me or have a good day. Try not to kill your kids, your husband, your dog.”  I’ve already told you I don’t say goodbye at parties. When friends leave, or when we part – I never say those actual words. I don’t like people to leave – ever. (Okay – sometimes. People who let their kids eat strawberries on my white couch. Or, assholey relatives.)

Maybe I think it is because I won’t see them again. Maybe because it hurts. The friend who is getting ready to bury her father told me she wouldn’t say goodbye at his funeral. She was going to wish him peace and happiness. What a beautiful idea. It doesn’t bring tears the way “goodbye” or “say hi to Mom” does. It is hopeful, it is positive. And, not only is it a great way to not say goodbye – it is a great thing to wish for yourself and the others left behind.

You never know when someone’s words will enrich your life. It happens to me all of the time.

 

What a Drag it is Getting Old

My dad had emergency surgery a few weeks ago. He is on the mend now, but it was a hairy few days. I had to fly out of town. I haven’t wanted to write about it because everything is resolved, and because it wasn’t very funny.

I can’t even think of how to make it funny.  I thought my dad was going to die. Truly he has been dying in pieces for years. He no longer sounds like my dad. He is an older, frailer, less dynamic dad than I know. That’s okay, I love him and and thankful for the time he is here. While I am getting used to the idea that he won’t always be here, I don’t really like it. The memory loss and confusion make it more difficult to resolve things or even bring things up – which takes a toll on what has been a very open relationship. While I was getting through my days at the hospital, I had other hurdles I didn’t see coming.

He and his lovely 80 year old wife wanted to whisk him out of the hospital to their lovely home as soon as he got out of surgery. Which I understood, but he needed to spend a week in the hospital and then some time in a rehab facility – not that kind…but, one for occupational and physical therapy. But, no. They thought it would be best to go home and rehab. So, you see the dilemma. Without getting into specifics, lets just say…this is another thing about growing up that sucks.

I had to tell his wife that  if they went home and he went down and took her with him, 2 broken hips and they would never see each other again. That made her cry again. Me too. But, c’mon these people are stubborn. And, I get it. You spend your whole life growing up, doing and not doing things because you have parents, then kids. When you finally get to let loose….well, you may not be able to be on your own anymore. This couldn’t sit well with anyone of any age. I earned my wisdom and the ability to make my decisions. And, because I am not married, I no longer need to get anyone’s approval to do anyfucking thing. (That is delightful, I tell you. I try not to laugh out loud with glee when my married friends say, “I have to check…”)

I would be terribly resentful and angry at anyone who was trying to take that away from me.  And, what makes me think I know anything about it? Well, I don’t. But, I know what it feels like to need to be in control to get through your day. And, when you can’t be in control – major suckage.

And, then in the middle of all of that, while you think you are coping, your parent says something like, “This isn’t worth it.” I get that too. When you have spent most of the last few years in doctor’s offices, with no end or relief in sight, you get tired. And, when you are upwards of 40, you are already always tired. They have lost several friends and family members in the last few years. My dad is the only remaining sibling or spouse in his family of 14. It sucks.

As if this wasn’t difficult enough, all of this reminds me how old I am. How if I sit too long, my hips get stiff. How I don’t really sleep through the night. How I can’t get comfortable and can’t sit, stand, or lay for too long.  I can’t see. I can’t hear – I think it is actually time to go get a hearing aid or two. But, WTF? How did I get here? Hearing aids? Okay, sure, some of the hearing loss is organic and some can be blamed on my propensity to listen to my music very loud. But, I am still going to shows. I laughed when I read about Brian Johnson turning the mic over to Axl because he didn’t want to damage his hearing further. Not very rock-n-roll. But, I get it now.

So, it gets me thinking. My writing career and all that encompasses is the brain exercise I am doing to keep that part working. I get some exercise, but really should hit the yoga mat a few times a week and walk a ton more. A renewed commitment to keeping busy. Less TV, more reading, working, writing. A renewed plan for physical health. I have already upped my diet to be more vegetable/fruit less crap.

The last few years I have been downsizing my things. I have also been downsizing my wasted energy. I don’t want to waste any precious time on dumb stuff. Funk the dumb stuff. And, almost everything is dumb stuff. I left my large pile of shit to do and took my kids to the coast. My heart and soul are renewed.

Suddenly, some things don’t seem to matter anymore. Excellent – more time for the things that do.