Monday, July 26, 2010


Last night I dreamed of my father's house. I roamed the halls, looking at everything. Seeing the overflowing ashtrays, the coating of dust. The cheap wood paneling bumped under my fingertips. The room he should be using, the big room, sat still and silent, the bed made. The room he had chosen to use, the small one, sat still as well, but with a stained mattress covered with a tattered blanket.

His chair sat alone in the dining room, the pillow he rested on crooked. A blanket lay on the floor.

It smelled of cigarettes, dust, dishes.

I wandered back and forth, waiting for him to come home. Convinced he would be around a corner or standing in the kitchen. I looked in the fridge, and rotten food spilled out. I looked out the window into the roadway, watched the gravel and dust lift in the wind.

I waited.

He never came.

I felt helpless, forlorn, sad, and bitter.

I have this dream often. The landscape rarely changes. Sometimes I can find him, but he acts as if I am not there. I cry, I yell. Nothing. He doesn't see me.

I was going through cards the other day, and I came across one that he sent when Lily was born. Sweetness echoed through every word. It was written in steady hand, one not shaking from drinking.

Just 3 1/2 years ago.

And now he sits in the hospital. He went in April. He was self starving, stopped taking all of his medication, and had open sores with maggots in them on his legs. He was drinking and fell. He was on his floor for 2 days.

This is my father's life. I cannot wrap my mind around it.

And now he is going to be sent to a nursing home, to live out his life there. He will not be going home again. It is the best thing for him, but it makes things very real for me.

He will not go home again.

I think of him when he wasn't drinking. When he was so strong and good. I loved him so very much. I still do, the same way. I love him, but I see him for who he is, and it breaks my heart. He is a broken man, and always had been.

There are no more chances to make this right. His mind is not what it used to be. Resolving this rift between us will not happen now. I can either move past it or not. I am stuck here, in the in-between.

I love him, and I wish things could be different for him. I am not sad for myself, or for what's missing from me, I am sad for him. I am sad for what he is missing and what he is choosing to miss. He has always held me at arm's length. I don't know why, but now I know it won't ever change.

I am sure I will still dream of his house, of his things. In my dream, I will run my fingers over his glasses, his mail. I will straighten his shoes and close the washer.

I will look for him without finding him.

As always.