Weathering the storm

A valuable lesson in checking your e-mail on a timely basis:

This past Sunday I opened an e-mail from Jabba explaining that her dad had died that Friday night.

It seemed both crazy and not at all unexpected.  He’s had health issues for some time.  I also know that the last few times I asked Jabba how he was doing, her response was “not good” though she never really elaborated. I suppose I should have expected such curt responses from her.  After all, we are divorced; but I was always legitimately concerned with her father’s welfare.   I wonder if I’ll ever get used to the fact that I am now at the age where my parent’s generation – The Baby Boomers – are slowly beginning to die off and we, the children of the Baby Boomers – Generation X if you will – are inheriting the Earth.

Jabba’s Dad was always very good to me; regardless if how bizarre her mother got at times.  Even after Jabba and I split up he was very friendly with me when I was in SC dropping The Kid off at their house. During my previous life, I even got to the point where I began to address her parents as Mom & Dad; so it was a little weird when Jabba and I initially split up and I began to call him by his first name.

As I always tend to do when someone I know dies,  Jabba’s Dad’s death has me thinking of mortality:  mine, my parents, The Auteur, even our kids.  Life is too short and I often feel like I’ve been just spinning my tires.  I’m 40 years old and what do I really have to show for myself? I know, it often takes years for people to rebuild their lives following a divorce; but for me it feels like the same old problems in my life.  Something, a lot of things, need to change.

I really worry about how The Kid is taking all of this.  He’s holding up pretty well, from everything I’ve seen and heard.  This is probably the first death of a real close loved one he’s dealt with.  Jabba’s dad lived with them for almost two years after her and I split.  That’s got to affect him more than we realize.  Jabba’s mother died a few years ago, but he was way too young to remember that.  The sights and sensations of a funeral may stay with him for a long time.  I wish I had the means to be there for him tomorrow.  Even if I could, I’m not sure how appropriate it would be for me to be there.

The funeral is tomorrow, so Jabba and The Kid are in town as Jabba’s dad is being buried in his hometown here in Michigan.  The Kid and I got together for a few hours yesterday.  Though the reasoning behind The Kid’s visit made me sad, I was so happy to see him yesterday.  We played at an indoor playground called The Treehouse.  It was the kind of pure unadulterated fun that I desperately needed right now.  I’m especially happy to say that he’s still small enough that I can life him up and put him on my shoulders.  I know that sounds corny, but I want him to remain small for as long as possible.  I already miss far too much of his everyday life for my taste.    Saying goodbye to him was, of course, sad.  I hated to see him go. I know he hated saying goodbye to me too.

I miss him more than I realized.  I miss doing everyday stuff with him:  playing, hearing about his school day, meeting his friends.  I have to find a way to visit with him this summer.  I’m not sure where we’ll stay or for how long, or how I’m going to fund such a venture, but I have to find a way to make it happen.   The truth is, I’m not involved enough in his life.  I have to change that.  I have to force that change if necessary.

There’s a sign in the classroom that I’m subbing in today that reads “Conflict Facilitates Change”.  That’s some food for thought today.   We’re watching a clip from “America:  The Story of Us” covering the start of the Great Depression. The overriding theme of this segment is the American “Can Do” attitude and our ability to persevere through adversity; again, more food for thought.

Maybe Shirley Manson said it best when she sang “the trick is to keep breathing.”

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