Home safely. Damn, what a long, energy sapping, soul-sucking drive! Traffic on the Grapevine was straight out of Dante’s Inferno. Worse than that was the trip home itself. I hate it. It’s no wonder that I only make it twice a year. The dust and clutter in dad’s house is bad, but the sediments of his battle with depression fills me with the deepest sadness, second only to the sadness I felt when mom died.
We had grown closer in the last phases of her illness, and it was truly heartbreaking for her to pass on without that last touching of the fingertips. I was reaching across the chasm, and she was reaching back, but those last few feet of distance remains, and will remain with me until I die. I hope you don’t take such memories into the grave for both my mom’s sake and my own.
Dad, on the other hand, is always there to touch. It’s a different kind of anxiety with him as it seems that he is already partially in the grave. In the beginning, after mom left me, my dad, and my brother Brenden, Dad tried to go venture out on his own and start up a new life, but he eventually got tired of it and one day went and got a shovel out of the tool shed and started digging a grave.
Now that it’s been dug (metaphorically, at least), it’s like he has taken off his shoes and started dangling his feet inside of the hole to test the waters so to speak. When I reach for his hand, it is always with the attention of pulling him to his feet, shaking him briskly, and then making him put his damn shoes back on. I wished he realized just how hard for it is for me to take his hand and to peer into that void behind his eyes.
He’s also taken to reading the Russians, and I think that this is a bad sign. Them guys are serious as heart attack. They should have a warning printed on the covers that reading them might lead to “ Seriously doubting the purpose of existence.” Dad even told me that Tolstoy had to hide things like guns and ropes from himself for fear that might trigger him to commit suicide.
Yeah, like I want my Dad to be reading that shit! I keep telling him to get his head out of those fucking books long enough to see a therapist, but he just argues that his reading is his therapy. I shouted back at him, “Dostoevsky needed a fucking therapist too!”
He just looks at me with that stupid grin of his and shouts back, "Yeah, but if he had seen a therapist, he would have only written the Twilight series." Then later when he noticed I wasn't laughing, he would say softly, "I know, I'm trying....I'll try harder. I know I have to do better."
Who else has to talk to their dad like that?
I have always thought of him as being a wise man, but lately, He's been more of a wise ass. I want him to come back to life, to emerge butterfly like and open up colorful wings. My brother and I need him to be stronger.
Ironically, that was what my mom needed too.
Peter Jordan- thoughts while driving 12/27/2018
I know I worry the kids, and I wish it wasn’t this way. Lacy told me I need to get therapy again, and I know she’s probably right, but I also know that I will probably never do it. I don’t completely understand why, I just know it probably ain’t going to happen.
I figure it has something to do with knowing that the human race has gotten by for thousands of years without it. Life just went on with paths and actions determined by lessons learned. I really don’t know if we are actually in a better place because of all the progress and advances we have supposedly made. Life sucks a lot and knowing the hidden causes of why it sucks a lot doesn’t magically make it un-suck.
There is also something inside of me that stubbornly insists the key is in perseverance and learning how to live from the mistakes you make in living. I mean I learned at an early age that it’s a big mistake to mix beer and wine. Seems trivial, but I no longer mix beer and wine. Add enough of these little life lessons together and they add up, and they are no longer trivial; they change behavior and help determine future action.
When you get older the lessons become a lot more important, a lot harder, and a lot more expensive. It's no longer a free education. The student loan comes due, and you have to pay up front for future courses. You'll say, "OK, I'm fine right here with my high school diploma," but you are not. Besides every level of old age requires an advanced degree. You either continue with your education, or you die prematurely.
My dad lost his home, his mom, and his sister at an early age, but he always laughed, and he made people around him smile. My grandfather was placed on trial for the murder of a man who showed up and testified on the last day of the trial. He lost everything he had built because of a false accusation. My mom said he was one of the nicest men she ever met.
They didn’t learn to laugh and be kind by going to therapy. They learned because life had reached out, grabbed them by their collars, and literally slapped the living shit right of them. Before they did anything else, they had to learn to get over that initial Slap-down, and then once they got back on their feet, they got slapped down again. Life is a slapper downer, and it doesn't seem to like people being excessively happy.
They also learned that they only had two choices, to stand there sniveling and wiping the snot from their noses with their sleeves while their hearts hardened into stone, or to stand and defy gravity every step of the fucking way. It’s an insane choice, utterly devoid of reason, yet it seems to be the only choice that can put a smile on your face despite the often immense sadness of being.
You don’t go to therapy to learn to defy reason. I know that many people need therapy because they have fallen hard and are incapable of standing back up without help. It’s just not for me. At least, not yet.
This is also what every great author, philosopher, or religious leader has ever said. Persevere! Stand up in the face of the fact that life has been designed to suck a lot. Evidently there is something that we need to learn from the situation. I mean like whatever it is, it’s gotta be worth more than picking up a few scientific tricks on learning how to deal with shit.
The Bible says that God sent Abraham on a three-day journey to Mt. Moriah. That’s a long time to stare into the abyss, an even longer time to contemplate on the anguish that he faced. Three days! They make my last three years look like child’s play. I just need a little time to get back my feet under me. I just prefer reading to pretty much everything else, that is except eating. I like to eat.
I still have a lot of hope. The world doesn’t become a true hell until all hope is lost and hope, by its very nature, is always around somewhere. You might have to look under a rock sometimes, or peer into a dark closet, but it’s there hidden. You might find an old seashell tucked away in a box that reminds you of a day you once spent at the beach, and when you put it to your ear, you see yourself in a mirror and laugh.
I wish though, for my children’s sake, my house wasn’t as dusty and my coffee table wasn't all covered with books; I wish my mind wasn’t so cluttered, and that I didn't have such a need to know what life is all about.
I wish that I was a master chef whose specialty was blending just the right amounts of material ingredients with the perfect dash of the spiritual . I wish that I could build a house from scratch and turn lead into gold. I wish I could play the lead guitar on Pride and Joy and sing the solo on Bohemian Rhapsody all while laying down new hardwood floors in the kitchen.
I also wish, for my children’s sake, that I was a lot stronger. Ironically, it’s the same thing I wished for my wife’s sake too.
Brendan- email to Lacy - 12/31/2018
Damn Lacy, he makes me so mad sometimes. On Christmas Eve, I found a picture of mom. She had written on the back of it that the cure for homosexuality is ceaseless prayer. I posted it on Facebook with some angry remarks about so-called Christians and their hateful beliefs, and Dad saw it. He asked me politely to take it down. We argued. He defended Mom as usual. He was in his "be a bridge mode", and it made me angry. Told him that sometimes I just need to shout. He said that it was okay to shout, just do it quietly. I yelled that he needs to shout too. He smiled and said, "I do." I hate it when he tries to go all Buddha on me. Brad and I finally picked a date. It's going to be San Diego in June. Dad said he would be there. Sorry I didn't tell you Christmas, but I was mad that Brad had to go to his home without me. Love #1
Peter Jordan - Journal writing from 1/1/2019
Today's Reading: War and Peace (pgs. 532-556), Electric Kool-aid Acid Test (pgs.-100-127)
Thoughts on Reading: Damn, Natasha dodged a bullet. No thanks to her own actions. I wonder what The Dude was trying to say there. It had me sweating like a school girl watching The Hunger Games. The Wolfe book stirred up some old memories, and I went to sleep a little agitated.
Personal Thoughts: I'm going to try writing in this journal that Lacy gave me for Christmas. She seems to think it will help me get stuff out in the open and force me to deal with whatever's troubling me. I'll try it for awhile; can't hurt I guess. I don't know why they're all in hurry for me to be over grieving. Lacy seems to think that I have been fighting depression for over 12 years. I think she's got the wrong diagnosis. I was hurt when her mom left, and I had gotten over a lot of it, the family break-up and starting over part. Then Jenny died right after my dad died. I am grieving still. Grief is not a thing you rush. I tried that with Dad, and it came back on me. Hell, it's been two years, and I've barely gone back to using the road that runs by the cemetery. Lacey's frustrated with me, and Brenden's marrying Brad. God keep them safe and allow them as much happiness as they can have without making the Olympians jealous. I only wish...