Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Dad is Dying

On a good day, I call myself introspective. On a bad day, I'm self-centered.

Regardless, even through my empathy toward my father and imagining what it must feel like to be facing his own mortality at only 64 (the thought of it takes my breath away, it's so incompressible), it's all getting filtered through my own mind and experiences and how I feel about it.

I met my dad about a year and a half ago. So, I already have many years of abandonment issues after my mother died of cancer when I was 13 and I became a ward of the state. I have issues and issues and issues, that I felt like I had come to terms with and was able to recognize and work around in my day to day life.

Meeting him was total fantasy fulfillment. My dad was a race car driver and a soldier and cerebral. He'd used his time to become some big-shot chemical engineer project manager, traveling the world setting up power plants for different governments.

He also gave me insights into myself - my tendency to disconnect with people who I don't have enough contact with, the low desire to build a family unit or traditional life, being almost sociopathic in my ability to read and manipulate, my avoidance of that label because of my empathy. Basically, meeting him made me understand why I was an alien in my family. Because he was a cuckoo who laid his egg and flew.

Since meeting, we've spoken a handful of times, texted, and done some emailing. We had plans to meet up once he was fully retired and settled into North Carolina. He was going to get a house in the woods and have my husband, dog, and I for a long visit.

We were supposed to have years to know each other.

But instead, my father is dying of cancer and has months. And he doesn't want me to visit. And I'm 13 again.

It's weird, because I can see myself so clearly now. I can see the ways I deal with this and how it's been programmed into me by my previous experiences with trauma. I have friends and an aunt and a husband who want to talk to me and be here for me. Instead, I don't want to talk about it at all. I have this little ball of sad/rage rolling through my body and occasionally finding its way out through my eyes. Normally, though, it's just something I bat away. I don't want to talk about it because I'm not a sad-girl.

My sad/rage ball keeps bouncing around, and the outside world is irritating it. I feel like I just need a respite, but work needs doing and I don't want to tell my boss I need a personal day to get my head together because I don't want to be seen as anything other than together. Together-girl doesn't need a personal day to get her head together. She works through it, makes a delicious dinner, and has many laughs after a hard day at the office.

But I am sad-girl. I'm pretending to be together-girl, and if I act like together-girl, and if everyone thinks I'm together-girl, does that make me together-girl? Is this imposter syndrome?

Regardless, my dad is dying of cancer. In the future-perfect tense, both of my parents will have died of cancer. My dad is dying of lung cancer, my mother died of uterine cancer (though it made its way to her lung, and half of one was removed). I need to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist because now I have cancer trickling its tendrils into me from both sides of the family tree.

I'm going to be an orphan again. Makes sense, since I was one for so long. Things return to their natural state of being.