I Am Now, Truly, An Orphan

Source: nightmaresaboutyou.tumblr.com

Since Sunday night at 5:20 p.m. to be exact.  For about 36 hours now.

Though I had felt as if I had no parents for many, many years, this made it a hard core reality.  I had shunned both of my parents long ago, never wanting to have anything to do with them (damn, I was so proud of myself, being so independent and all).  My mother had died 17 years ago, but there was still another half of the parenting duo alive, and despite the fact that we were  separated by hundreds of  miles, my father was always there for me to ignore.

What a hollow victory this turned out to be.

A week ago my aunt Mary called from the hospice center where they had taken my father.  Apparently what the doctors diagnosed five weeks ago as a urinary tract infection, turned out to be a stroke, and his condition had deteriorated since.  It’s been a bit on the stressful side, due to my oldest brother’s immoral and illegal conduct – I’m setting that one aside for another blog…or a novel…**counting on fingers how many times he has tried to screw the family**…No.  Definitely a novel.

I apologize, I digress.

So, last week my aunt called me from the hospice center to let me know my father was unresponsive.  She offered to hold the phone up to his ear so I could say something to him. I hesitated, because I really had nothing to say.  I had made my peace on my own, so what was left?  But my brother was on his way out to Arizona from California, and once he got there, I knew I wouldn’t have another chance.  I didn’t know what I could say.  All I knew was that I didn’t want to have any regrets.

Death is a process, a very personal journey, and I wanted to respect that.  So instead of taking the stance of daughter-to-father and get in his face, I decided to go toe-to-toe, soul-to-soul.  I could see no other way.

Later my aunt would tell me that when I first spoke to him, with her cell phone to his ear, his labored breathing had slowed, as if to hear me better, and as I spoke, his eyes moved behind his lids.  He had heard me.

I opened my heart up as wide as I could and tried to see the playing field for what it was.  Completely off kilter.  I was strong, healthy, with at least another 50 years with which to make good with myself.  His body was shutting down.  His life was coming to an end.  Another soul, another incarnation, just waiting…waiting for whatever moment souls wait for before they let go.

I couldn’t even begin to question his life’s plan, because I don’t really even know my own.  All I knew was that moment was not the time to speculate.  That would be his job…once he had passed.  Neither was it a time to judge, condemn, or hold a grudge.  That never did any good anyway – in life or death.

So I said what I needed to say and told him good-bye, feeling as if there was so much more to say, regretting that I didn’t say more.  But it didn’t matter.   My brother had arrived at the hospice center, threw a hissy fit as only my 50-year-old brother can, and my aunt, my only connection to my father, left the hospice center for the last time.

A week had passed since then and each day my father did what he had to do to complete his life.  I wish I knew what went on inside his head – so different, I’m sure, from what went on in mine.

To everyone who might ask, “Are you okay?”  My answer is:  I think I am.  I feel a touch of sadness, perhaps for what never was and never could be – at least with any sort of normalcy.  I feel cheated, like…This is it?  Is that all I get?  Born into a dysfunctional family, growing up in an abusive environment, separation, and then death?  What the hell was that all about?

I’d released the hold he had on me, but his passing truly severed it.   Now there is no going back.   There is only moving forward.

You may be wondering what I said to him and, as always, my friends, I invite you into my head.

“Whether this was a part of the plan we agreed upon in Soul Place, or you just made really poor choices and went way off course, we both ended up in a place I wish we hadn’t.  I’m sad for the years that could have been, happy for the years that weren’t.

I love your soul, but not your heart, because it never was with me.  I trust you will find your lessons learned and the time here well spent.  For now, Godspeed. I wish you well.

Say hi to Mom for me.  I’ve tried, but with all the voices in my head, I can’t hear her say anything back.

I don’t know what else to say, so I guess I’ll say good-bye for now.  

I’ll catch you on the flip side, Dad.  I’ll catch you on the flip side.”

My dad

About Diana Murdock

California-grown, writer of contemporary and YA paranormal with enough energy to write, raise two boys, run, and dream.

Posted on October 18, 2011, in Family, Parents, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 37 Comments.

  1. Your words, your emotion, your experience shared moved me. Deeply. Thank you for giving voice to so much and allowing others to be moved by it.

  2. Very touching, Diana. I’m sorry for your lose.

  3. Oh Diana, a sequence of {{hugs}} to you for your loss and for having the strength to openly share it with us. What beautifiul final words you shared with your father. You didn’t have to do that, but did for you, and that is all that matters. Take care and comfort.

  4. Wow!
    Sending you the biggest hugs there are along with all the support, comfort, strength, and peace that can pass through these virtual lines.
    You are a spectacular woman. The words you left with your father were so moving and beautiful and a reflection of your own heart and nature. Stunning.
    I am moved beyond words. Thank you for sharing so openly with us.
    Take care of you….

  5. Diana, I am so very sorry. I want to grab all the right words to wrap you in.

    My prayer is that God will draw you close to Himself and whisper every comfort into your spirit that will fill the holes of your pain.

    I love you!

  6. That was something special! Unfortunately for me, I truly understand your dilemma, and once again realize something I already knew. You’re a much stronger woman, than I may ever be a man. For when that same time comes for me and my father, (I hate to even call him that) I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to draw the strength that you did to forgive him enough to say goodbye. I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks for writing that.

  7. Diana my heart is sore for you, my friend – you are in my thoughts and prayers and I am here if you ever need someone to chat to.
    With all my love xx
    Debs xx

  8. My heart goes to you, Diana. You are an amazing, beautiful and strong woman. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words are very powerful and moving. You dad will rest in peace now and soon you will find your peace too. I will keep you both in my prayers. Be strong, my special sista. Love.

  9. You know what you got out of the misery of your past? A beautiful, lyrical soul that can’t be crushed. Out of the most awful of circumstances comes deep strength, kindness and grace. I see it in every post you write. You rose above the pettiness and drama that could have made up your life… and you have much to be proud of.

    Sending you lots of love and warm hugs — I hope you can feel it…

  10. Well first off – I’m very sorry. No matter what the relationship with your dad was, it was still your dad.

    I feel very close to what you describe regarding your family. I have my load of crap to write about, haha, it could easily make a trilogy at that rate, but I’m happy to have made peace with my father and brought it to my side. We were enemies as long as I lived under his roof, but once I left, and started living on my own, we became close. There’s still a weird feeling between us, and sometimes I disagree with the way he thinks and acts, but I respect him as my dad. I protect him as my dad. I love him as my dad. He was there when I had issues with my husband, he was there when I left my husband, he was there supporting me when I went through the separation and now divorce. We don’t really need to talk much either. It’s more a silent understanding of what goes on in our heads.

    You know, as much as you can mourn the death of somebody or something before death actually happens, it never feels quite the same as when death really comes and take away whatever you had. The bad and the good, death just puts an end to it, without explanation, without warning. But death gives you the peace you deserve so you can move on with your life.

    Look at the bright side, smile and live like there’s no tomorrow.


  11. It’s a strange sensation to be an adult orphan, isn’t it? I’m glad you had a chance to say such grace-filled words to your father before he died. You took the ugliness of your past and created your own beautiful soul – you’re amazing!

    As you say, it’s hard to consider your dad’s death a loss in the true sense of the word, but it’s certainly a change, which can be just as difficult. My thoughts are with you.

  12. No words, just love and hugs heading your way.

  13. I’m sorry for your loss, Diana. After reading and chatting about your other posts related to this one, I can imagine the tumult of emotions your experiencing. Thank you for sharing.

    And here I am again…crying at work. I really need to remember to read your posts at home ;p

  14. I suspect that had to be hard for you hitting the publish button in the end. But also liberating. This process will help heal you. I am so sorry for your loss. May the peace wrap its comfort and warmth around you now that you have made the move towards recovering. It was a blessed and wise thing you did, coming to terms with your father and meeting him on such level ground.

    A novel, I think, may help with the other internal issues. 🙂

  15. Loss is hard, especially when it’s complicated and it’s final. Regardless of the past, grief is real. For the record, I refuse to believe you’ve EVER been a doormat. There are different kinds of strength and not all of them are loud and mighty, some are quiet and constant.

  16. We are the sum total of our experiences, are imprinted by everyone who touches our lives, can be whatever we choose to make of ourselves. May love and peace of spirit guide you as this loss is processed through your soul.

  17. I constantly marvel at your open and raw honesty with us. Your ability to reach deep inside and articulate what is there so, so, clearly and sensitively is truly a gift. Your writing only benefits from this as does, I hope, your ability to heal. I can only reinforce what so many others have stated – you are a fine woman with a beautiful and strong soul that will continue to direct your life along a peaceful path.
    I recently read a memoir which offered this reflection. “Death does not end a relationship, but rather transforms it.” I have thought about this a great deal and leave it with you.
    (((((((((a very, very warm hug)))))))))))))))

  18. Diana, those years away were never lost. They were the healthy years you spent raising your boys and becoming a forgiving and whole mother capable of raising healthy children. Never ever look on those years as possibilities, they never were. You did the right thing for your mental stability and the stability of your own family.

    My prayers are with you. When my father passed, all I thought of was, Now he knows the truth. All my love and support.

  19. First off, I’m sorry for your loss. Whether you were close or estranged there is a parent/child tie. Your eloquence in your final words to your father is amazing and is testament to the woman you are. May you find peace as you move forward.

  20. I’m sorry for your loss, Diana. You show an amazing maturity and strength. I hope you write that novel for all the children who do not have your strength and your voice.

    I send all the hugs and support I can.

  21. Diana, I am so sorry for your loss. Your blog post and story are absolutely touching. Sending many hugs and let me know if I can do anything for you.

  22. You are such a beautiful woman and full of grace and dignity. Much love and light to you and I hope you find the peace that eluded you once.
    Hugs & love to you.

  23. Once again, you’ve written a very powerful, vulnerable post, Diana. You are such a strong woman. You will work through this as well. *hugs*

  24. Diana…You have a powerful gift inside you that makes you write these wonderful posts. So heart-wrenching. Sending you a lot of positive energy, warmth and endurance.

  25. Oh, my friend, I’m just now seeing this and I wish I could offer you a shoulder to lean against, if only to share the load of your emotions for a bit, to make them lighter even for awhile.

    Your last words to your father were a gift to you both and shows what a pure and authentic relationship you have with your own soul.

    Warmth, support and friendship! {{{HUG}}}

  26. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I’ve had a difficult relationship with my mother (putting it mildly) for the past several years. When my grandmother passed away this summer, it opened the door for healing. I’m on the path, but it will be a journey.

    Thank you for being so open and honest about your feelings.


  27. Your writing is amazing, but your personal growth is also mind-blowing. To rise above what has happened to you to become who you are, and give a goodbye like this that you gave to your Dad- well, let me just say I want to be like you when I grow up. Even though we’re like the same age. Thank you for sharing this.

  28. And only in the hush no wind stirs it.
    And in the light vague trouble lifts and breathes,
    And restlessness still shadows the lost ways.
    The fingers shut on voices that pass through,
    Where blind farewells are taken easily . . .

    –Isaac Rosenberg

  29. Diana,

    As someone who has lived life with a father who…it’s hard to describe them in a few words, isn’t it? How about a father who wasn’t the “dad” you wished for. (That’s how I think of mine these days.)

    Abusive has always seemed like an ineffective word to describe a parent who leaves your soul out in the cold. It’s a continual wound that they don’t see the heart of who you are, as much as you would have liked them to.

    I’ve always thought it almost harder to lose a parent that did not do well by you – you grieve what they WEREN’T as much as what they were. I’m so terribly sorry for your loss, and delighted that you’ve built a safe space for yourself where you can mourn in peace. Be well.

  30. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you.

  31. Diana, leaving comments on your blog is difficult because you write with such openness, clarity, and vulnerability that I am usually speechless. Truly, your posts stay with me, in an assortment of ways, and cause me to reflect and re-evaluate. I’m sorry for your loss, but happy that you will have no regrets. Peace to you.

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