Wednesday, February 18, 2015

UNKNOWABILITY

I seem to have been unable to forget my father's death. He died of non hodgkin's lymphoma. It was a protracted suffering and his last years were very painful. We were witness to his inexorable demise. There were many moments when we wished he'd die sooner and faster, if only to be relieved of his suffering. He was never querulous, demanding, fractious. He bore the burden of his illness with calm courage. I think consciously he knew the end was near but never when. He extracted from this interlude of ill health all the intellectual joys and delights he could. He left behind stacks of diaries, culled from painful experiences, redolent of past healthier days and suffused with penetrating observations about how to negotiate a life with the exigencies of ill health, with the accompaniment of good cheer.
After his death, the very after i felt anger, anger that his suffering had been extended so long and that he felt profound discomfort in his body.Chemotherapy had failed him. I was angry with his doctors for not devising a better prophylactic, i was angry with him for bearing up initial signals of distress than take speedy action. His lump he dismissed as a lipoma and the cataclysm unravelled therefrom. We all loved him deeply but towards the end i felt for him a yearning, piquant, astringent emotion that i couldn't quite define. In retrospect, it was this anger.
I told my partner the day he died to come over. She stood by me, her hand on my shoulder, with a gentle squeeze. I regretted calling her, having her witness my grief but i needed the presence of someone calm and composed to get me through this traumatic interlude. Any death, however anticipated, leaves behind a bewilderment. And despite my rational coming to terms with the fatality, even in advance, i couldn't contain the tides of tumultuous feelings that buffeted me.
What i also bemoaned, though never articulated, was the absence of rancour on my father's part. I was experiencing anger as much on his behalf as of mine. My partner and i fucked indefatigably throughout the night. In the shadow of mortality we strove to, with the gentle rhythms of our undulating flesh, affirm a modicum of life. The morning after i was numb and undemonstrative. So our commingling was but a simulacrum but one that still obviated the distress of a lonesome night which, given that my siblings were away, would have been inevitable.
I've been reading through my father's journals.It seems that he had an insight into my unconscious as he wrote. He enjoins ,in psychic despair, the intervention of an analyst. He counsels patience in allowing the process of grief to take its natural course, the necessity of a communal sharing and giving back in reciprocity. And all this he adumbrates as lessons he learnt himself when our mother died before him. His words, transmuted from her unconscious to his now make their way into mine. I feel momentarily a burst of resentment at being talked down to. I experience a moment of hatred so intense that had my parents been there i'd have murdered them. Eventually, though, love prevails.

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