Sunday, August 02, 2009

To Be Continued

I'm still so very tired. So tired.

I'm trying to find my own place of calm in which I don't get obsessed with other's problems.

My father isn't going to go to China after all. They have informed him that he is too old. He doesn't know what he will do. For most of us that would be a disappointment, but we would cope. For my father, it is worse. Life without something to do everyday, without even the hope that there will once again be something he needs to get up to do everyday is a production "Waiting for Godot" on auto-playback, except without the witty dialogue ... or the cast. Just endless time waiting for something that will not come.

He has no hobbies and no real friends. Life passed him by. I told him that I had recently read The Picture of Dorian Grey. He told me that another scholar recently told him the name of the book that Dorian Grey claims was his ruin. Dad was pleased to informed me that he is one of maybe five people in the world who knows. Then he tried to remember how to pronounce it, but couldn't. I nodded. I did not tell him that the information was almost certainly available on the Wikkipedia. (It is.) My father comes from a time in which scholars were the keepers of secret information. They revealed it in lectures. Now the information is out there, all of it, available to anyone who can type. Professors help students to sort, evaluate, and assess.

He still mourns the canon. He is outraged that students no longer read Milton and instead take courses in "Women's Voices in Latin American Poetry." It is too awful to be borne. Sadly, he can not even find as many people willing to agree with him that it is a tragedy.

So I don't know what will happen to him this year. I don't know if he will find something to do or if he will start drinking again. This isn't the first time that I have seen him in danger of spiraling out of control. As before, I find the thought makes me sad and tired. I know that if he does finally kill himself I will feel many things and one of those things will be relief. I've stopped feeling guilty about that. I've accepted that acoholism is, if untreated, a terminal illness. I know it is normal for the families of people with terminal illness to experience relief when the disease finally runs its course.

And then there is my sister.

I think I am the person she talks to when she is most angry or scared. I think that when she is feeling hopeful, especially about her marriage, she is less likely to talk to me. I understand better than I think she imagines that it would be normal for her to cycle back and forth between those places. I would not repoach her for hoping that her marriage can be saved, that her husband will want to change his ways and be a better father. I understand though.

She called me Friday crying. The nieces finally got angry. They got their clothes back -- a pile of things that were saved and a list of things that could not. They have lost more than the list would indicate. They now have skirts with no top and tops with no skirts. The clothes they were attached to cannot strictly speaking be replaced. They are no longer in style. They are not thrilled to be able to buy the latest fashion. They have very clear ideas (or their church does) about hems and necklines. They like THOSE clothes.

I don't think it is a coincidence that they fell apart the day after their father finally left from his extended emergency leave. I think the clothes matter to them, but that the emotions they are expressing are about everything that has happened. Finding out for certain how much of their own possessions are really lost is just making it real.

I was traveling when I spoke to her and I lost the call. When I tried to call back it went straight to voice mail. Since then it has either gone to voice mail or she has not picked up at all. I do understand. She doesn't want to be upset in front of the kids. She is trying to hold it together. I can accept that she can't talk to me, but still I would like to hear from her.

I know I can't fix things for either of them. I'm not brooding over that. I do however feel like I am reading a bad serial novel, each chapter ending "to be continued."

I need to get some more sleep. I need to get busy in my own life again: start planning my own courses. Something.

First though I may take a long bath.


  1. hope you find some time to relax and relief some stress

  2. Wishing you Peace, Quiet and Rest.


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