nolongerinbetween

bereavement ramblings # 7

Posted on: March 18, 2022

My father didn’t really know me. At all. He didn’t know what makes me tick, what I am made of, how damaged or brilliant I can be. To my shame, he wasn’t even privy to my mundane self since most of the time he had no idea what’s going on in my life. There’s always this huge gap between parents and their offspring that I find horrifying. Some parents manage to bridge the gap and cross it, but most of them remain in the dark. To give birth to something that is not you, that is so different, so foreign to you is a terrifying experience that all parents have, but to be clueless about what you brought into life, to raise someone who eludes you completely, to not know your own child takes this to another level. I don’t blame him though, since, like I said, it’s more like a structural fracture that emerges between parents and kids and less a parenting failure on his part. But it’s horribly sad. The thought that I could have a kid and that my understanding of him would be skin-deep, stopping at the surface, that I would be in the dark about the way he feels, the way he navigates through the difficulties of his life, his anxieties, his fears, his mental torments, his coping mechanisms, his thoughts, his pleasures, his likes, his desires, his dreams, his hopes etc makes me shiver with horror. If he could now have a look at who I am, from the inside, he would be dumbstruck. Who is this stranger he called his son for all this time?

*

When someone we love dies our mind tries to apprehend their disappearance. In the same way we try to understand what’s behind a magical trick performed on us, when something vanishes into thin air in front of our eyes. But I find that with death our mind gives up quite hastily. Because we have a name for it, because we have assigned a word for their magical disappearance (death), even though the word doesn’t explain anything, our mind stops even trying. We just accept it. Death. We shrug. We move on. No further inquiry.

Only a kid would try to deconstruct our unsatisfactory answer and look further.

– Where did grandpa go mummy?

– He died.

– What do you mean he died? What do you mean by that?

– Pause.

*

The shocking stiffness of their body. In death our flesh loses not only its warmth but also its softness and plasticity. We turn into cold, hardened objects. I had some idea about stiffness but not about the stonelike sensation and the alienation that comes with it when you touch them. The shock you have when you hold into your arms the hardened body of someone you love is something else and nobody can prepare you for it.

*

Resurrection is a collective dream mankind has got since the beginning of time. A Jungian archetype I follow faithfully. Since he died, I dreamed about him three times and in all of these dreams he was resurrected. Not just alive, as if nothing had happened, as if the setting was before his death and we were oblivious to it. He did die and we all knew it, but through some bizarre interventions (in one my mum gives him some CPR, incredulous of his actual death) he was brought back to life. He is now weak, fragile, unwell but we are all happy he’s got another shot at life. I wake up in a state of frenziness, overwhelmed by this mixture of joy that he is alive and the disappointment that is not true. Schizoid is my middle name.

*

You can’t replicate with humans the bond you have with an animal.  There’s an intensity to it that humans cannot provide with the same continuity. Because animals are simpler creatures, the bond with them is stronger and almost indestructible. Until death do us part is better matched by our animal friends than by the bond between humans, which are fragile and fickle and rarely survive the wear of time. The imprinting mechanism, that in most cases, sits at the core of their attachment to us cannot be written off. We are their world, their life, their gods, their mothers, their fathers, their kids, their lovers, their everything. Who on earth can possibly match that? What human can compete with that level of faithfulness and religious devotion?  When we lose them to death, we lose access to the purest form of unconditional love and loyalty we can get, matched only by the bond between a mother and her child.

*

Guilt-ridden. For not putting her to sleep. For not releasing her from suffering sooner. For not humanely killing her. For not being able to look into her eyes while she would take her last breath into my arms. As regrettable as it might sound, I owe my sanity to this weakness. I have no doubts that putting her down would have tipped me over the edge to sheer madness. I would have lost it completely. With my dad is the other way around. I carry a sense of guilt for not pushing him harder, for not going the extra mile to buy him more time. Guilt is indeed a nasty companion of death.

*

Even now, six months later after his demise, dad’s shirts and pants are hanging in the same places. As if nothing happened. I am seated at the kitchen table, in my parents’ home, eating, while from some hangers on the wall his shirts are staring back at me, making me uneasy. In one of his pants you can see the pocket is full, bursting with stuff he used to collect obsessively (wires, keys, pieces of paper, money, corks etc). Once or twice I buried my head in them shirts and wept like a child. Leaving things untouched after someone’s death, in an attempt to freeze time, is a clear sign of depression. But I wouldn’t challenge my mum on this since, when it comes to dealing with death, I’m not much different. I procrastinate. I linger. I dwell on it. Anything but admitting the finality of death.

*

La capela, dupa predica, lumea se grupeaza in bisericute. Catching up as usual. Copii, pandemie, joburi, nepoti, inflatie, nunti, botezuri, sfaturi despre muraturi, vaccinuri, concedii, you name it. Nimeni nu vorbeste despre tata. In afara de mama nimeni nu pare sa stie de ce se afla acolo. Nu stiu ce e mai trist, sa nu vina nimeni la priveghiul tau sau sa ai un priveghi care sa nu fie despre tine. Ca un politist de pompe funebre, incerc constiincios sa il aduc pe tata la propriul lui priveghi, sa il introduc in subiectele de discutie. Bag vreascuri pe foc dar simt mereu ca fara inputul meu focul se stinge repede de fiecare data.

Exista intotdeauna o prejudecata pe care o avem fata de cei carora le moare cineva. Credem ca e dureros si stanjenitor sa vorbim despre cei morti cu cei indoliati. Ca e de preferat sa trecem totul sub tacere. Sa nu stingherim cu indiscretia noastra. Cand dimpotriva, reflexul pe care il avem cand ne mor cei dragi e sa vorbim intruna despre ei. Sa-i netacem. Sa-i nemurim vorbind despre ei. Sa nu-i lasam inghititi de uitare. Dureros pentru cel indoliat nu e sa vorbeasca ci sa nu vorbeasca despre cel pierdut. Un priveghi in care esti injurat e de preferat unuia in care nu esti pomenit.

*

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The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

Mind, Body & Soul

Quality Education & Advice

literatura e efortul inepuizabil de a transforma viaţa în ceva real

The priest: Aren't you afraid of hell? J. Kerouac: No, no. I'm more concerned with heaven.

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