Monday, June 19, 2006

Milestones

Before we get to this post, a little side note: Last week Ben’s wife and I had a series of e-mails during which she let out what our wive’s must be thinking – at least it is pretty accurate of my wife’s view. While I assume many have read her post via Ben’s blog, I recommend it to those who have not read it yet. I do so because it is so much a part of where my thoughts are bouncing of late and has helped me focus.

This is my 100th Post. Somewhere after my second post as I found myself in the land of pure sex bloggers – not a bad land, just not my land – I decided to stop. In a desperate flurry of Googling, I found Raven’s blog and from there this community which has become a part of me. Somehow I feel this should be a momentous post – that nine months after I started sleeping with men, six months after I started blogging, and five months after coming out to my wife I should have some direction from it all. And I do, though by next week the winds of change will surely have taken their toll. But somehow discussing where I am as part of a milestone post gives credence where none is really deserving. So I will write of these things, just not tonight.

Tonight is another milestone, a much more sober one. As I drove home tonight I glanced at the clock – 6:30 PM. It was that time on June 19, 1996 – ten years ago exactly – that I was getting into a cab to the airport. The driver asked when my flight was and he told me we could not make it. I told him he would be paid either way. The plane took off late, with me on it.

My Dad had been sick for a few months and the only question remaining was when he would choose to draw his last breath. My sisters, KA, and I took turns going to South Florida to be there. One of my sisters was keeping us posted throughout that day and after hearing her voice I called my other sister who lives in a suburb on the other side of our City and at 6 PM we decided. We headed to our respective airports with the goal of meeting in West Palm around midnight. We both made dashes to our airports and barely made our flights. We found each other and a rental car and went to the rehab facility.

After a little time by the bedside – Dad was not really aware by this point – we took turns going back to his apartment for a little sleep. The next morning we gathered by his bed again and at 11 AM with all of his children by his side he passed on. I never saw death before – I was a city boy, a land where the natural flow of the universe is well hidden. Yet there, sharing a room - a bed - facing death, I discovered a comfort I never would have imagined. It is a strange comfort that will always remain a part of me.

My Dad was a human with all of the complexities. We knew his strengths and we knew his weaknesses. It troubles me at times to see how many of his weaknesses I ended up learning so well, but I continue to work on keeping his good traits and "softening" the others.

I sometimes wonder how he would react if he was alive today and I had the courage to tell him of my struggles. He would have done okay I suspect. When I divorced he was like most parents appalled – “what about the children?” But when most friends and family harbored an upset with me and downright coldness to my new wife - KA, my Dad saw through it all: he knew how special she was, how lucky I was. His penchant to be judgmental melted from the reality, both the reality of our love and more importantly the reality of KA. It is a lesson I hope in some small way is a part of me. It was a lesson in seeing the shades of grey that make up our lives.


As I sit here re-reading this post I realize: it is about honoring my father with love and respect. But it is also about honoring my children with that same love and respect, even - no, especially - when they try my patience. Love is learned and now it is our turn to teach.

Little did I know 100 posts ago how blessed I would be to find this little world.
Thank you all.




6 comments:

Brad said...

Nate, it's been my pleasure. One hundred posts from now I'd still be happy for you to share your life with me, whatever direction it may take.

I'm proud to know you as a friend.

Flip said...

Nate, I for one am extremely grateful you are in this little blog-world sharing, so often, things that help me better understand myself.

Keep up the great work.

bear said...

yeah! congrats and thanks so much for sharing.

Geoffrey said...

I just discoved your blog, and I'm so glad i have. I'm in a similar situation. I've only read Jan but look forward to the rest of your archives and the ongoing posts. I have come to a point in my life where I'm sitting on the fence. Not a fun place to be.

Nate said...

Geoffrey
I see you found Flip also. Welcome to our world - maybe a tad incestuous at this point, but an incredible community which has been a life saver for me.

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