So my father died a couple of months ago.
Here are some random notes from my notebook.
At first, a grin. Ah, the moment has arrived. But I cannot locate a feeling. The overwhelming need to tell jokes takes over.
But a few hours later, the first sadness is a sadness that he couldn't be a better human before he died (though after talking to my brother, maybe he did learn a little wisdom, a little grace)
Then, in the middle of the night, tears leaking out of my eyes, the sadness was one of abandonment, Oh poor me, poor me....
Later still, there is a sadness that I couldn't love him enough to make things better. That I couldn't, or wouldn't. That I didn't have my brother's grace.
My father was a man of big successes as well as big failures.
There is a fruit fly in the casket with my dad.
The priest and 2 parishioners came by to pay their respects and lead a prayer, I pretended I was Catholic. I made the sign of the cross, mumbled the Lord's Prayer and Hail Mary. Said Amen where appropriate. No one suspected I was a heathen inside.
The chants and gongs from the Daoist/Buddhist wake next door in the funeral home mingle with the Catholic prayers and hymn from my father's wake.
Stories about Dad:
"Clever to talk"
"Clever to make money, clever to spend"
A cousin talks about having to break down the door after climbing over the balcony to "rescue" Dad after he threatened to commit suicide. He had to carry an inebriated Dad down the stairs. This would have been after Mum left him.
The aunties can never forgive Doris. They think a woman should stick with her man, even if he abuses her, beats her.
Tonight under the full moon, under a tent, more than a hundred people. I am related to most of them. A common ancestor four generations back.
The aunties ask me why I am not staying with my brother. I say, I need my space. They say, oh, that is the western way.
Aunty Rose talks about carrying Sandra to her mother's after Dad and Frances broke up. How she cried as she carried Sandra in her arms. Aunty Jenny talks about how cute and beautiful I was as a baby, as a child. She also remembers carrying me in her arms. I saw the love in these women. They have all been my mother.