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Fathers

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I recently discovered that the Uncle Bonsai albums are available on CD. They're still not available via the iTunes Store, so I ordered a couple of the CDs, and imported them into iTunes, and got to listen to some of the songs for the first time in years. (I have them on tape, but haven't listened to tapes in a while.) Good stuff.

When their song "Silent Night" came up in shuffle play the other night, I was hesitant about listening to it--it's a lovely song, one of my favorites of theirs, but it's also very sad, about a young woman whose father has died. But I went ahead and listened to it. A piece of it goes:

Oh you look so pretty

Don't forget to say your prayers

I will rock you 'til you're sleeping

And I'll carry you upstairs

And I'll see you in the morning

I'll see you in your dreams

I will always be here when you need me

I was doing okay until I checked email a little later and found a note from a friend whose father has brain cancer, and it's suddenly gotten much worse and he doesn't have much longer to live.

And another friend's stepfather is also most likely dying.

And then, on the other hand, two other friends have recently mentioned ongoing lack of connection with their fathers, and fathers not being there for them. Interaction with parents is often fraught with difficulty, and freighted with longstanding emotional baggage. As I said a while back: The reason our parents are so good at pushing our buttons is that they were the ones who installed our buttons. So I'm not saying everyone should go out and try to connect with their parents; sometimes that's just not the way things work.

But for those of you who can, and would like to, be on better terms with your parents, I recommend trying to make that connection. A lot of us seem to have reached the age of our parents or our friends' parents dying, and once they're gone, so's the chance of a better connection.

Heh--last night Kam and I watched the pilot the new Flash Gordon series on the Sci Fi Channel. It was terrible; we ended up skimming much of it. But there were many (heavily cliched) moments involving Flash missing his father, who allegedly died in a lab fire when Flash was a kid; and of course (this is a spoiler, but such an obvious one that I don't think it counts) later we learn that there's a chance Dad is still out there, so of course Flash sets out to find him. I wouldn't want to give too much intellectual credit to this particular show, but it just occurred to me that the situation could be seen as kind of a metaphor--the missing father who the kid really wants to please, the long-held belief that the father is beyond reach, and then as the young man enters adulthood and takes on adult responsibilities, the attempt to reach out to the father and make the connection once believed impossible. . . . Okay, so maybe that's a stretch. Just a passing thought.

The other thing that keeps running through my head is another bit of another song. I'll leave you with this thought (not, as the web seems to think, by Pete Seeger (though his version may be the best-known these days), but rather by Harold Rome, from the musical Fanny):

Be kind to your parents

Though they don't deserve it

Remember they're grown-ups,

A difficult stage of life. . . .

7 Comments

This snippet of lyrics made me cry. I still can't believe how much I miss him.


*HUGS* for both of you.


I am always so very grateful for my father. I don't think I've told him that in a few months, though. Thank you for the reminder.

Now if I could just simplify my feelings about my mother...


I _always_ cry at that song. And that was before my mother died.

In a bit of 'pat-myself-on-the-back-serendipity", if you can call it that, yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my mother's sudden death. In two days my Dad is traipsing off to Belgium for his first vacation since we were kids; and possibly his first international vacation. My Mom didn't enjoy travelling, especially as she got older.

I've connected a lot more with my father since Mom died, and my brother Josh as well. My Dad has handled it really well, with what appears to be an adroit combination of grieving and coping. But Mom's passing has also meant that she passed from some sort of psychological space between us. Calling home (and I was never very good with the phone) was always complicated by the fact that talking to my Mom in the evening could get unpleasant. It's meant that I'm paying more attention to checking-in with Dad and Josh; both with how they're doing and how I'm doing.

Also, telling Dad that I care about him -- in as many words -- is a lot easier now.

What a shame that I couldn't do this with Mom before she died; what a blessing that I can have this now with him.


Lots of hugs.

I still remember my uncle telling me when my grandmother died. "I feel like an orphan." He was 59.

My father and I get along well. Much work on my part I must admit but worth it.


Thank you for the notes, all. Sympathetic *hug*s to Haddayr and kairon_gnothi and anyone else to whom they'd be relevant.

I should mention that, like many of my entries, this one managed to somewhat obscure one of its main points in a mess of sidetracks and excess verbiage. The main thing that I really meant to say here was that a couple of my friends are going through rough times, with seriously ill parental figures, and that a couple of my friends aren't connecting with their parents in various ways; I meant this to be primarily a public extending-of-sympathies, though I've also said those sympathies in private. But somehow the entry ended up coming across as being all about me being sad about the loss of my parents--which I am, but I didn't really intend this entry to end up being all about me.

Anyway, I'm really glad to hear about y'all who are working on your relationships with your parents in various ways; and especially, k_g, glad to hear that you're connecting more with your father, even if one might have hoped for the circumstances to be better.


It's funny ... although goodness knows I have bugs in my relationships with my folks, I think they must be very mild.

On the other hand, I yearn desperately to know how to be and become the sort of parent my son will not have terrible difficulties with. (I have no idea how to say that grammatically' I wish I did.)

Advice on that side Oh most welcome...


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