Friday, January 19, 2007

You're not in it until you're in it

Last night's Grey's brought the death of George's dad, and I have to admit that it hit home. My dad was unconscious in the ICU for a month before he died, so I could relate to a number of scenes: the tension in the waiting room; the commiserating with other families in similar situations; the family tearfully gathered around a table while making the decision to remove life support; the weight of the responsibility that comes with making that decision. The scenes were familiar enough to make me tear up... but only a bit. But this, this (paraphrased) exchange between Christina (who's father is also dead) and George, this is what killed me:

Christina: "There's a club. The 'Dead Dads Club'. And you're not in it until you're in it."

George: "I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."

Christina: "Yeah, that never really changes."

I turned off the TV and sobbed. When my dad died, I felt like I'd lost my connection to the world. I remember my vision of myself at that time: alone, on the top of a cliff, with all the rest of civilization existing in the ravine below. They were close enough that I could see them; even be heard by them if I yelled loudly enough; but I couldn't reach them. With no way down off that cliff, I felt separated from them forever. In all my life, I've never experienced a loneliness that even begins to match it. There's still a hole where my dad once lived. I can point to it. It's in my abdomen, about an inch above my belly button. Something used to be there - like a third arm I never knew I had - and it was ripped out of me when he died. I can still feel the emptiness, the hollowness of it. The severed nerves have begun to grow back, reconnecting tissue and erasing some of the loneliness as they go. But they are following a different path than their original connections, traveling around the hole instead of through it. Half of who I am is gone from this earth, and I am mentally, emotionally, and physically a different person for it.

And if I sound completely crazy and you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's because of this: There's a club. The dead dads club. And you're not in it until you're in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't relate to what you went thru, but after reading your post I understand how painful it was and somedays still is for you...

I'm sorry you had to join 'that' club...

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