My father died on Monday. He was buried on Friday. He had an aggressive cancer that he left untreated because “God told him” that he could heal it himself by taking extra Vitamin C and by giving himself enemas with coffee.
His dad had a similar cancer a few years ago. He had a doctor advise him on treatment, instead of God. Grandpa is alive and cancer free to this day.
One time, before he got so bad, I argued with dad about his decision. The books and articles “God was using” to direct his treatment sounded distinctly like conspiracy theories to me. The conversation ended when he told me I was making him think he was crazy and roared at me to GET OUT.
Which I did.
I was very angry.
I was in the process of moving out already. Not because I had enough money. I just couldn’t stand being home anymore. It was too crazy making.
Towards the end, when it was clear that he was going to die, he wept pretty frequently. About even little things. It’s possible the tumor was growing into his brain. It had started in his throat, after all. One day he wept and told me he was so sorry he had yelled at me- that day when we argued.
I was sad too. I didn’t give a flying fuck that he had yelled.
The evening after his death I went to see my family. The front room, where he had been all day every day for the past week, hallucinating and begging to be allowed to get up, had been cleaned.
The furniture had been brought back in. The hospital bed had disappeared.
The spring peeper frogs were singing in the ditches. A night wind was flowing through the fields around the house. Someone had set a jar of lilacs on the dresser. Words and phrases from a poem were eddying in the back of my head, but I couldn’t recall them all or fit them together.
The dresser is an antique. I believe it came from his mother. I never knew her. She died in a car wreck when my dad was- 19? Hit by a drunk driver.
He was angry at his dad about something then and moved out.
Dad was born in March- like me. His mother died in May.
The drunk died in the wreck.
-T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland, The Burial of the Dead