Thursday, October 03, 2013

We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars . . .

 Dear Dad,

I've been listening to Evita over and over and lately. I know you'd enjoy this; it was one of the soundtracks of my childhood.

I remember you brought pillows with us to the theater so I could sit tall enough to see.

Last week I got this wild hare to hear it, and now Jordan is hooked as well. He holds my phone out to Nick and says, "Daddy, these are show tunes."

Undelighted, Nick replies, "Yes. Great."

Three years ago today, we went out on Nick's boat and scattered your ashes in the Potomac. It was a pretty place, but a cold grey day, and even though I believe that once you're dead, your soul, spirit, whatever it is, departs your corporeal being, I still hated leaving you out there in the cold.

I was going to say that it's better than being stuck on the mantle or in the closet, but I don't know - you're like me, not so outdoorsy. You were, I mean. But you loved the water. I think we did the right thing.

You know, I rarely make that mistake with tenses anymore.

I've had so many reconnections lately: Peace Corps friends, my friend Leigh from Rome. And couple months ago I got together with a bunch of Delhi friends - kids you knew and liked. We're hosting a reunion here next May - it'll be a party I know you'd enjoy. They remember you fondly - your generosity, your smile, your laugh.

I like hearing those memories.


I've been working on my book, although I don't know if you'd be proud or not, because so much of it is about you in some way. I mean, it's about me. But the susurration of suicide echos throughout.

This would make you angry, if you were still here. I know it would. I've been reading through my archives, and you were so angry that I talked and wrote about what we went through with you. You were angry that I claimed my experience with your choices and behavior as mine.

It was self-preservation to start talking, to start writing, to seek support. I do hope that moving forward, we can eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

I know it was shame that made you so angry. It made you feel weak, which you despised.

You've now been gone for almost four-and-a-half years. In some ways, you were gone long before that. Most of your joy was, anyway. And in others, you are still very present.

My kids are so energetic and delightful, and they fill up all of our lives. Jordan is funny and creative and sensitive. India is a little bulldozer.  They both adore books, and I could easily picture them sitting on your lap, listening intently.

Both of them would make you laugh.

While time is so unkind in so many ways, it's the only thing I've found that actually eases emotional pain. Four-and-a-half years. They've helped. Mom is doing a lot better. I'm doing a lot better.

The other day I started to write, "The bad thing about suicide..." I stopped and was all, well, Lisa, the bad thing about suicide is that you're dead.

And then I laughed really hard, because yeah. The bad thing about suicide is that you're dead.

Today you would be 77. That's a pretty cool number. Happy birthday. I miss you.

Love,

Lisa

18 comments:

  1. I don't mind it so much when you make me cry at work. I'm glad you wrote and continue to write about this. And happy 77th to your dad.

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    1. Love you, Kaysha. You actually made me giggle with "I don't mind it so much when you make me cry at work." Big hugs to you.

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  2. 77 is a cool number. More hugs to you, Lisa!

    And, I'm excited to see that the research you mentioned is indeed for a book you are writing. I was hoping that was the case! I think I speak for many when I say: I will buy the shit out of that book.

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    1. Oh, Laura! Love love love to you! And so glad I could help with your Evita emergency!

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  3. Happy birthday to your Dad, Lisa. Hugs to you, may the coming year bring you continued happiness and moments with strong and lovely memories and new memories from celebrations with family and friends....and time to write and keep moving forward.

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    1. Thank you, Heather. Thank you so very much. Hugs.

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  4. I hope i can get hold of a real paper back book version of your book (kindle versions are more common) in India. Im sure, people who commit suicide don't live to regret them. Its better to avoid it all together.

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    1. Yes, definitely better to avoid. Here's hoping I can have a book in paperback!

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  5. I love when you write about your father. His influence on you has always been such a powerful, underlying feature of your writing. Hugs to you on this day when I know his absence is felt even more.

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    1. Big hugs to you, Lisa. Thank you.

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  6. I love 7's. Happy Birthday to your dad. Here's to your continued healing and the hope for progress on the elimination of the stigma of mental illness.

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    1. Yes - 7s are cool! Thank you, Stacey. Hugs to you.

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  7. You know I write letters to my (dead) father on my blog too, and your Dad and I share a birthday, somehow this makes me feel much closer to you. Yes, time heals the pain, but they stay with us forever and ever, and that's a good thing.

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    1. I like that you write letters to your dad as well. You know I like the very personal blogging best. I didn't remember that you and my dad share a birthday - happy belated birthday!

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  8. Reading your post made me sad but comforted. Comforted to always know that someone else has lost their dad and continues to be conflicted and sad. Sad because I'm about to have my first child and I can picture my Dad so happy and so present and I wonder if he would have killed himself if he had grandchildren...if that would have been enough, even though I know it wouldn't have...Thank you for your honest posts about suicide.

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    1. Oh, Heather. Thank you, and I'm so sorry. No, it wouldn't have been enough, although I have thought the same thing over and over. If he could only have held out a little longer! He would have been so happy with little Jordan! He'd surely have stuck around to be with my baby! And congratulations on your first child - what joy, serious, intense, crazy joy!

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