Intellectual and Emotional Perspectives

Emotionally, I have to admit that I’m not doing so well right now.

Intellectually, I recognize the symptoms: my unwillingness to leave the house, to do things, to see people, to prepare for my students, even to go to movies. Intellectually I force myself to get out a little, to visit a little, to study a little, but even my physical therapist recognizes and remarks on the changes in my demeanor, my body language, my physical health as a side affect of this loss and its related challenges.

Intellectually, I recognize that the problems of Patrick’s estate—and there are many—are of his doing, not mine. I have no reason to feel like I’m a failure, yet in many ways it’s like I’ve disappointed him, been unable to clean up his mess the way he wanted me to do. Despite his best efforts and intentions to share things equally between his kids and Stephanie’s family, he left a mess.  I’m sure he didn’t mean for a paltry sum to permanently rupture things between my sister Jennifer (who is actively defying his wishes) and the rest of the family, but it has.

Intellectually I should forgive my father for his mistakes (in life and in dying), my sister for her greed, and myself for allowing this pain to surface in such unbecoming ways.

Intellectually, I think things through, but every thought is overridden by the sadness I feel for losing him.

I miss having to remember to call before noon because of the nine-hour time difference. I miss the occasional short stories of his life when they popped up in my inbox. I miss hearing him rant and worry about the horrors of the US and the world, the decline of music, the joy of Ivonne’s company, the sadness of Stephanie’s loss.

And I miss those awkward moments when we each forced out the words ‘I love you’ to the other, a phrase our family shunned for decades, three little words we subconsciously refused to utter for fear of further hurt.

Yes, it was time for him to check out—as one of his dear friends observed, there was nothing left of him inside his sweatshirt except pain, emptiness, and more pain—but selfish me wished for more time with him, more conversations, more laughter, more wine.

Now I surrender to the sadness, for that too is part of the healing process. At least, that’s what the intellectual me recites in my head. I shall return to a functional state again, and be happy again, and enjoy racing and teaching again, but for now, I’ll hunker down in my house a bit longer, type a bit more on my computer, listen to his voice a few more times.

Intellectually, I’m going to be okay. Emotionally, it’s gonna take a little time. I’ll catch up soon enough.

— JP