Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

people ask, how’s your dad, you are you doing, how’s your mom doing? Saturday was a bad day for Dad. it was 3 days after the chemo treatment. my sister read that the third day tends to be the worst day. Sunday he was feeling better.

my standard answer is that we’re all living with the minimum amount of denial necessary for coping. it sounds facetious but it’s not. dwelling on the worst doesn’t help. we know the possibility for the worst is there, but we often act as though nothing is wrong. sometimes we even forget about it! this happened when i was home a week and a half ago. we’d be doing our usual things -- digging post holes for new bird feeders, raking dead branches, taking trips to the dump, attempting to patch a leak in the roof -- and i’d forget that Dad was even sick. then i’d remember. i only cried around him once, after i took him to an appointment at with his personal doctor -- he’s being treated by the V.A., and he’s happy with the care they are giving, but he wanted confirmation by his longtime doctor and friend -- and then we had to rush back to the hospital where my uncle -- Dad’s older and only living brother -- was being rushed into emergency open heart surgery after his angiogram came back with bad news. Dad & i were there for the angiogram, then we had to rush to Dad’s appointment, where his friend said, “you don’t need a doctor, you need a priest,” then we rushed back to visit with my aunt -- whom my dad has known since they were teenagers -- and my cousins. Uncle Pete is recovering well, but that was a hell of a day. i cried briefly in the car, between the doctor’s office and the hospital, quietly, so as not to draw attention, and Dad made a couple phone calls about his brother and pretended not to notice me, because noticing wouldn’t have done him any good.

so i go about my busy days and then occasionally break into tears and that seems workable for now. we’ll find out whether the treatment is doing any good in 6 or 7 weeks.

songs that have made me cry recently:

Barry Manilow’s gorgeous cover of Glenn Miller’s gorgeous “Moonlight Serenade.” i love Barry and especially Glenn, who is probably my dad’s favorite, which is interesting to me: Glenn being my dad’s favorite would be the equivalent of the Beach Boys being my favorite: the music of our respective infancies.

James Taylor’s cover of “Getting to Know You.” so sweet, so tender, and i heard it at a parent/child class that i’m taking with Mr. Jumping Chocolate Pudding, and hell, it’s SO TRUE! when these little howling creatures are born and for months after, we have NO PROCREATING CLUE who they are. and so the song came on & in my emotionally volatile state i started crying, quietly, so as not to draw attention to myself. i’m the only dad in the group. Ah! i see it’s Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Getting to know you / Getting to know all about you. / Getting to like you, /Getting to hope you like me. // Getting to know you, / Putting it my way, / But nicely, / You are precisely, / My cup of tea. // Getting to know you, / Getting to feel free and easy / When I am with you, / Getting to know what to say.” if that don’t describe the early months of parenting . . .

Jimmy Durante’s version of “Make Someone Happy.” it’s a love song in the mating sense, but love has other applications as well. “it’s so important to make someone happy.” i first heard this years ago on an old record in an old small-town house that my dear friend John de Roo was living in; it was his grandmother’s house, and her records, and she was now to old and frail to live there. and this great shmaltzy Jimmy Durante record, with his great, gruff, emphatic phrasing offset against the lush orchestra & choir -- it sounded great that late Michigan night. i heard it again the other day and burst into many tears, and played it over and over.

Sarah Vaughan’s version of “The Hands of Time,” which is the lyrics-version of the theme from “Brian’s Song,” that tear-jerking TV cancer movie I haven’t seen since I was probably 10. beautiful song, amazing singer. with throbbingly yearning lush orchestra arranged & conducted by the song’s composer, Michel Legrand. lyrics by the Bergmans, yeah it’s about death:

All the happy days would never learn to fly,
Until the hands of time would choose to wave good-bye!

hell, sorry to be morbid. but that’s where it’s at right now. still hoping for some victorious battles, enough for another good year if possible -- that would be great. hoping and hopeful despite a realistic assessment of the terrible odds against it.
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