My Father as Schrödinger’s Cat

Family drama really sucks. Sometimes you can cut someone who loves you so deeply that they will never forgive, and never stop bleeding. Families can be a blessing, or the darkest curse.

My father has been slowly dying of cancer for a long time now. We’re strong in this family, we can last forever, and my father is the strongest and bravest person that I know. It’s been two years. Cancer is an ugly disease and a very ugly death – not something that any of us would wish for someone whom we love. No matter how much you wish that you could shield them or take any of the pain or indignity away, there is nothing that you can do except just be there for them (as my sisters and I have all been there for my father).

One of my sisters called me the day before yesterday and said that my father had decided that he had had enough and that I should call him to talk to him one last time as they were all on their way over to the house to be with him. We talked about what that meant and talked about being strong for him. Afterwards I called my dad for the last time and we talked. I told him how much I loved him and how proud I was to have him as a father (he has always been my role model in life). I asked if he was afraid, and he said no – in fact, he had actually slept the night before and woke feeling at peace. He was too weak to talk for very long and after more I love yous I said goodbye, trying and failing not to cry. (I call him often, and we don’t speak of his illness – I save up funny stories for him and try to keep it light. I figure that he has enough that is horrible in his life right now and I don’t need to add to it. But this time I sobbed.)

I called my sister back and asked for her to call me or facebook me or whatever, anything, after they had spoken to him. And I waited. I was still waiting the next day and felt sick all day. Still felt sick this morning, and had no word from anyone. From some of the things that had been said, I am guessing that one or the other of my sisters managed to talk him out of what he was planning and that makes me feel hot and ill and furious inside. Yes, I’m going to call her and force her to talk to me tonight.

There is one sister that I am not speaking to right now…to be honest, I’m fine if we never speak again. We’d had an argument about two paintings that I had done for my daughter which had somehow ended up with her. No big deal…but she caused a huge drama, involved my father and ruined the last visit with him that I will ever have. I’m not going into all the family drama and all the hurt that it caused, but it is affecting the current situation.

It seems both horrible and surreal that at this moment I don’t know if my father is still alive. I just know that I’m going to hear about it when one of the kids posts about it on Facebook. Like Schrodinger’s cat he exists for me right now in a state both of being and not-being. I seem to have given up my rights as part of this family by moving so far away (which was actually said last time I visited). I would not have thought that distance or greed or material things could ever have put a wedge between us, but I was wrong.

I have another post planned about my father, who was a pretty amazing and inspirational figure for a lot of people. He is the backbone of our family, the central sun that we all circled. When he is gone, I fear that my sisters and I will all drift apart and eventually become strangers, as the heart of our family will be gone…and that is the final tragic scene. All is loss and decay and sadness.

I miss my family.

EDIT: I talked to my sister tonight and she filled me in. It’s been hell on earth there, and I am so sorry that I am an ocean away from all the really hard stuff. But talking was good.


I’ve disabled comments on this post, as it wasn’t written for sympathy. No one can make me feel any less torn up about this than I already do – I just needed to document it for myself. Even though I write less and less about personal things now than I did when I started this blog over ten years ago, it is still a personal journal for me.