From time to time, things that I’ve believed that I’ve 100% dealt with, on all levels, will pop back up, perhaps just to double-check my convictions of where I believe I am. Then, as if to try to complicate things just a touch, add in a dash of other people’s expectations, and their apparent belief that they know better than me, what I really want and/or need.
Earlier in my life, it’s highly likely I would have caved. I might have allowed the pressure of others to dictate my actions, but it seems I’ve moved out of that unhealthy place of living. I’m pretty glad to see that.
A touch of background. (Not too much, really). My father and I have only talked to each other and spent time in each other’s presence when it couldn’t be avoided since sometime in the mid-1970’s. Prior to that time, it can best be described as a dysfunctional father/son relationship. And that might be too kind.
I am confident that he absolutely did the best that he knew how to do and truly meant no harm.
Over the decades, there has been a lot of work completed on my part, to first get to neutral, then to do some deep forgiveness work and to get to a place where I could appreciate that he and I had agreed upon the type of relationship we would have when we were in a pure spirit form.
It was a game changer for me, when I got to the point that I realized that he loved me enough to be the asshole that he could be, to teach me what I’d asked to be taught. He actually did teach me a lot of things! Many of them were more along the lines of things I did not want to be, do, say. When I had a fatherly quandary with my own children, I would sometimes ask myself “what would Duane do?”, and then would likely head in the opposite direction. That too, seemed to work out well for my kids and me.
Now, at 90 years old, he’s significantly closer to the end of his life day by day. A while ago, he had what has been cryptically described as ‘an episode’. Not one that required an ambulance or trip to the ER, but one that took him to the doctor the next day.
The alarm was sounded in the form of a text. I felt an interesting peace, and frankly distance from the situation. For me, PEACE is the goal, so I took that as a good thing.
I have spent a fair amount of time wrestling with the ‘when the time comes’ scenarios over the last years. I tend to revisit it every few months, checking in with myself to make sure that when it is his time to leave this life, that I will be ok with my choices, not wracked with guilt. Yep, time and again, I find that I’m 100% good with where I am.
The bottom line for me is that for 40+ years we’ve had little or no interaction or communication, most often it took place when it could not be avoided. Given that communication is a 2-way street, I can only assume that lacking any attempt on his part to modify that, he must have been ok with the status quo.
What possibly would be gained by an awkward, approaching the exit ramp visit? For me, nothing I actually want or need.
I walk into this process completely in neutral. Toward him, toward the alarm sounder. I’m really happy about that. Apparently, the old buttons have been re-wired or moved, and that’s wonderful. Each person involved gets to make their own choices on how they will walk through the process. If they will grieve, how they will grieve. Certainly anyone can have their own opinion on what another ‘should’ do, they actually would be well served to keep that opinion to themselves, unless it is requested.
One of my goals each day, is to walk gently, to avoid conflict if at all possible, to never look for trouble and to never throw the 1st punch.
But when backed into a corner, or when the situation requires a stronger, less peaceful response, I do have everything and anything I could possibly need to respond in a way that leaves no room for misunderstanding my position. (See, even there, I’m being gentle).
A word to the wise. I am a fully functioning 64 year old human. If you are not me, you probably lack a good grasp on who I am, so it stands to reason that you also don’t have any real idea what is or is not best for me, or important to me.
So if your actions are driven primarily by your apparent need to drive the bus, I’d remind you that I drive my own bus. I’m sure that in many areas of your life, others allow you to drive their bus. But be clear, this is not one of those times.