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Dad's smoking again... - The Rancho Commons
Note to self: no whining, no slacking
aspiring2live
aspiring2live
Dad's smoking again...
Yeah, post-CABG, 64 years old, and a family of history heart disease, Dad has decided he wants to smoke. I drove up on him the other day, unexpectedly, while he was working his job as a security guard at a local bank. He was standing outside and was obviouisly hiding a cigarette in his hand. When he recognized me or my car, he tried - rather clumsily - to toss it into the bushes. I gave him the tomato that we didn't want to rot while we were out of town, asked him to pick up our mail and put it inside the house, and told him he could reach us at our cell phones while we were gone. Just before I drove off, I rolled the window back down a bit and said, "Oh, and don't forget your cigarette over there." I drove off before he could think of a way to deny it, because experience has shown me he might well try. He's the smartest man I know, but he does some of the dumbest things.

Why do I care if he smokes? He's lived a life of hard work and sacrifices and doesn't have much to show for it. So, maybe the sooner he checks out the better for him? Is that how he looks at it? I don't know, I can only see my own, arguably selfish, view of the situation. He's been absent from my life so many times when I was growing up, away sometimes for over a year while in the Air Force. I needed him so much. And when he was home, he was always so committed to whatever job he held at the time. It seems he's given more to employers who couldn't have cared less about him than he ever did to his family. I guess I feel like I've been abandoned enough. And yes, that is a way selfish sounding statement considering the reality of my life is that there was always someone to provide for me and to love me; even though it wasn't always him. But that's another post about dysfunction for some other day.

It appears I've always expected more from my father than he was willing (or able?) to provide. Though, I don't feel I've had outrageous demands, but reasonable requests for a son to make of a father. They've gone frequently unfulfilled nonetheless. Now, when it seems like he should be more introspective than this, he still seems hell-bent on leaving me again. In the movies, the old man always realizes his shortcomings as a father and, though he can't undo the damage of the past, he makes amends as best as he can. He offers reparations to the son, who, perhaps hesitatingly at first, accepts and embraces a father who wants to do the right thing. It's like, we're on the stage, it's the final scene, and he's forgotten his lines. Or no, he's refusing to speak his lines. Or no, he doesn't have the capacity or emotional depth to grasp the lines. And so, we stand, as awkward as ever, as I reach out to the blackness of a near empty stage.

As they always do, my thoughts turn to my own sons at times like this. That's a post I don't have the nerve to write yet. Maybe I need to be older. Maybe not. It's never too late to make amends is it? Or too early?
6 aspirations -{}- aspire with me
Comments
brknconfidents From: brknconfidents Date: March 31st, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just when you thought he was going to do the right thing and stick with it this time...huh? It's not so much that he's smoking...it's that he plays us all for fools over and over and over and over again and doesn't seem to care how that makes us feel. Does he care at all?

You have memories and disppointments I know nothing of...some I wasn't even alive for, and if I was, I was much too young to understand. But I've heard about it more than likely. My memories and disppointments are different. The worst day of my life was the day we moved out of that house. Before that, it was when I got a letter denying me my transcripts from Sheets when all I was trying to do was go to college. Before that, it was the day I got kicked out of Sheets because my tuition wasn't paid. *sigh* What a tangled web we weave...

Mom has her crap that she's done as well, but I still feel so defensive of her. I don't even want her know because she's gone and let herself trust him again. How many times must one's heart be broken before it's enough?

This bothers me more than I want it to...makes me angry too. It's been a while you know since he's gone and done something that upset me...guess I was due. I'll never understand how someone who was in my life, took care of me, paid for me to have and do a lot of things, loved me I think...could never open up to my feelings, say he loved me unless I said it first, lie to me, leave behind such raw wounds and memories for his children...I'll never understand that man.
mygyzmom From: mygyzmom Date: March 31st, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
My heart breaks for both of you, for not having the kind of father that all children deserve. And for my boys, who may never know the kind of grandfather that many kids are lucky enough to have. My dad was "absent" in a different sort of way, with his alcoholism and all, but like you two, the scars from that broken relationship will always be with me and still affect the way in which I view the world. I am sorry...
brknconfidents From: brknconfidents Date: March 31st, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks...because I know you know and feel it too...and I know you know the same pain from different circumstances that I never had to feel. I am thankful for that, but sorry just the same.

I think we are all sorry...sorry for things that aren't and never could be our faults. The things that scrape and cut our souls are the very things that teach us to guard our children. They have taught us how very precious the heart of a child is...and how very much the sins of a parent can hurt.
bd1 From: bd1 Date: March 31st, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure what to say. Too many of my own feelings are captured in this post. It must be frustrating to watch him start smoking, especially when he hasn't learned the lines to such an important scene.

Every time I think about my relationship with my dad I think about my relationship with our child (soon to be children) as well.

Is it possible to talk to him or won't that change anything?
aspiring2live From: aspiring2live Date: April 1st, 2005 12:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, you are pretty new to my LJ so you weren't prepared for my semi-annual (maybe quarterly) "bad father" post. We learn how to be fathers from our own fathers by both the right and wrong things they did. The important thing, I guess, is that we learn better.

I've had some of the hardest talks ever in my life with my dad over things like this. My feelings, more than anything else, are that I shouldn't have to talk to (or teach) my parents about right and wrong. My parents both taught me better than they live themselves, and this is my primary frustration with them. If they were not family, I would have cut them out of my circle a long time ago to avoid the hurt. It isn't so easy with family.
bd1 From: bd1 Date: April 2nd, 2005 03:14 am (UTC) (Link)
No apology necessary. It didn't bother me. I just didn't have any advice or inspirational words to share. I believe you should write whatever you want/wish/need to write in your journal. Much of what you wrote could have applied to my relationship with my father. Wait until you read some of my "bad father" posts.

I agree that we shouldn't have to tell our parents about right and wrong.
6 aspirations -{}- aspire with me