BEFORE I LAY MY FATHER DOWN TO REST

“Hey,” my father said just as we were hanging up. “Keep your nose to the grind. I need you to work hard. Go ahead and make those millions. I may need you someday.”

It was the first time in my entire life that my father considered he might need his only daughter and if he had the notion before, he would never admit to it. My father does not need anyone because he is a man. Men do not need.

My dad asks for nothing and he gives nothing in return. If nothing means stuff you can buy. My dad has always known that his true value is to teach and his wisdom is all knowledge. Of course he knows everything. There can be no denying what is right. “Open your eyes and LOOK at the world in front of you. Stop watching that television. I am telling you they are poisoning you. They are brainwashing you.”

Now television is what my dad does the most. He lives by Fox news and the TV makes up most of the world. He is home most of the time and his friends are dying around him. Last year it was his best friend and roomate. Life took him out slowly. I was there to see him to turn from man to rot. I drove the hours to clean up the puke and the mess of what happens when our bodies start to spill out and over onto the floor.

“I want to be a princess,” I whisper it to myself because if only Walt Disney could adopt me my wishes would come true and magic would soon be here to undo the life that has brought me to my knees.

It’s funny because when I have been dying myself I feel like apologizing. Late nights rushed to the hospital while my family is half-asleep and up when they should be sleeping. They could be living normal life instead of being held back by me. If I am a burden now…

I have three parents and a daughter. All will need care within these years and here it is that my whole life I imagined that I was supposed to have someone to take care of me?

I do though. I have love and as sad as I am to know that I am at the threshold of saying good-bye I can not undo this sentence. No one will ever find my glass slipper and if they do it will be to what end. Things end. I don’t want this to end.

Before I lay my father down to rest I will tell him that there came a time where I understood my purpose and the value of what it is that I do as a writer, as a photographer. I am the keeper of his life’s lessons and of memories. The ones he thought I never listened to. Like I could ignore him. My father is savage and serious. He is also gentle and wounded. Like a lion who didn’t get one thorn, but twenty.

I am much like my father. My father was certain I would find myself killed as a child. He came to this conclusion because I find the good in every soul and even if I think it is evil I want to get close enough to understand if love can change it. I ran away from him in the city once when I was very young. I wanted to ask homeless people how I could help them and if they were OK.

“You do not look at them,” my father was stern as he shook my tiny shoulders. I was five or so. His eyes were popping with anger as spit flew to spatter my face. “You walk with your head high, eyes straight ahead, alert always. Those people will gut you. You may think they are good people. There may even be good people among them. This is not about good people. This is about how bad people really are when they are bad. There are bad people in this world. People who find pleasure in hurting loving people.”

Today my dad was frantic as he told me about a homeless man he is friends with. The man is dying of liver cancer in the hospital. My dad was enraged because the staff was trying to send him away. “You do not understand. I just got of the phone with his sister. He is on the fourth floor. He doesn’t have a friend in the world that gives a sh*t about him and I want him to know that I care. I am here.” They called security because my dad had the man’s name slightly wrong. He refused to go. “I told them they would have to arrest me!” He was hurt that he had to fight so hard for what have should been simple. I could tell as he told the story that he is wishing for that. Some more of simple.

Before I lay my father down to rest I will find a way to make Disney dreams real. I will let him see the seed that he worked so hard to plant grew to make magic real again. I will let him know that I remember every word and they are a gift. I write so that we can be remembered. My dad is a GAVE.

6 thoughts on “BEFORE I LAY MY FATHER DOWN TO REST

  1. The word ‘need’ hasn’t always been as such. And I will certainly grant that many families tend to afford loved ones liberties we know better than to allow strangers in and about our daily tidings, such as when a rather nervous / heart-broken man I recently met while waiting for a bus, who had just finished confiding in me that he had yet been able to cease smoking attempted to bark in my ears “strong” advice on how to quit just after dutifully listening to me share with him some of the techniques I used to rid myself of the habit for what is now more than seven years. Perhaps it was because my weight had shot up to 310 pounds at my heaviest, and having only lost 40 of them so far, he though he could get away with it. Perhaps he was interested in more than just friendship and I had not realized it, perhaps not, and his body is so chock full of toxins his brain stopped thinking clearly – if it ever had – many moons ago. Or perhaps his grief at seeing what had become of his stomping grounds in his youth by way of downtown Olympia had rent his integrity asunder. — As far as your story is concerned and your website, it seems to me you have taken on quite a bit as far as mixing business branding and personal proclivities. And while I certainly wish you well if for no other reason that you have had the temerity to carry a rubber chicken to and for which in and of itself is charming in my book. Best Wishes. P.S. I agree with your Dad. I probably would have dropped out of law school by now if I hadn’t dropped the television viewing habit like it was bad. — I have since renewed my interest in drawing. Perhaps he might enjoy getting in on the production end of visual art and or entertainment instead of the consumption end as well?

  2. (i) If you get in a jam feel free to email me or if you see me mucking about I haven’t bitten anyone in public yet; however no promises either. (I came by way of studying law after getting an MBA and taking quite a few accounting classes,… I’m sometimes slow about getting back to people, especially when the advice is intended to be charitable, if for no other reason than because I can’t afford to compete with business teachers, but we do at least seem to share a few of the same proclivities as far as wanting to be able to claim our own stake in the ground etc., and one of these days I do plan to get at least some head shots made by an excellent photographer and “of course” for the “right price.”

    (ii) In prospectively covering thine own arse: As far as my prior comment was concerned the guy at the bus stop was the one lamenting about what had become of the park downtown, before skedaddling on a bus back to Tacoma. I have only lived in Oly for a brief bit after visiting a few times in my youth with all old friend / hiking buddy, and finding it mostly charming. And I still do; mostly.

    (iii) Finally on second-thought, maybe your Dad might enjoy contributing to a podcast or making one of his own in addition to, or perhaps I suppose if he must,… in lieu of drawing? Anyway,… I had better back to tending the grindstones, or hades and or damnation will soon come aknocking by way of the ramifications for having fallen too far behind and not being able to catch up. Cheers, ciao, and cheerio!

  3. * haven fallen. Not that we law students are beset with attempting to make the law beholden to the ways and or means of the grammarians. Once again,… not in a position to compete in and or around that arena either.

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