Wednesday, December 14, 2011

HVB - 4/15/23 - 12/10/11


Good Morning Peeps

Over the weekend my father passed away at the age of 79. Pretty much through most of my adult years my relationship with him was pretty tumultuous. It was difficult to have a coherent conversation with him because of battles with diminished capacity to some extent and frankly his stubbornness was as much a culprit.
Upon hearing the news of his death I did have more emotions than I thought but frankly they were not all good emotions.
I’ve told many close to me in conversations over the last several days that much of what I did not like about him I dislike in myself.
My moodiness, vindictiveness, stubbornness, course temperament with a touch of arrogance, short sidedness and sometime argumentativeness was at the core of who he was. Thank goodness for my mother much of what makes me tolerable was because I did manage to get some of my mother’s gentle, peaceful and compassionate nature.

Yes it is the coarseness we get from our dads that makes us men in some respects. My independent nature, my basic conservative ideals when it comes to life and how to live do indeed come from him.
My father never preached or practiced prejudice in any way shape or form; he always preached the virtues of self-reliance, personal independence and responsibility and to never make excuses for your chosen lot in life.
I use to get a kick out of him saying to those around him that his proudest achievement was being able to raise three boys who never went to prison and I remember cringing at that commentary because frankly that should be a given. However to a black man and father in today’s world that is a not far-fetched statement or goal   

I myself have a very distant relationship with my youngest daughter and that mostly stems from the vales my dad taught me. The level of irresponsibility displayed by my daughter and the decisions she has made has often left me questioning my role as a dad and I often feel like a complete failure.
I’m certain if I died today and she were to write a piece about me she would be critical of me as I have been with her. I tend to be course and unsympathetic of her own self-induced plight  I simply don’t condone self-pity because it is at the core of why you see these Occupy Wall Street idiots protesting and bitching and moaning about what some people have versus others.
It is the class warfare mentality prevalent in today’s politics and why today’s youth are woefully irresponsible and hopelessly apathetic.
If it is one aspect or trait I got from my dad it was not accepting or tolerating this mindset. I’m not rich, or even well off, I have a decent job and a few extra dollars at the end of my bill paying sessions but I know I am exactly where I am in life due to my own choices right or wrong. I don’t blame any negative issues with my dad for my fate.     
We all as human beings choose our own fate we deal with the cards we are dealt in life and we can choose how to play them accordingly.
I did not have a difficult childhood by any stretch of the imagination. I was raised slightly upper middle class and for much of my developing years I had no real worries. However I started to see changes in my dad where his behavior became increasingly irrational and unpredictable where many of the negative traits listed towards the top of this piece became apparent.
I am currently at the same age where I noticed those changes taking place in him and I exhibit many of those same traits.
Today we have a much better understanding of mental health issues and because I use to work for a woman who specialized in the field and helped me to understand my own behaviors although controlling those behaviors are difficult at times I do understand them. Unfortunately those in my father’s generation perceive these mental health issues as a weakness and refuse to act accordingly.
Full disclosure I took psychotropic medications for a few years and the moment I went off those medications I went into a total personality reversal to the detriment of an ex-wife, friends and family.
My dad went through those struggles with virtually no support through much of those years and his own stubbornness exacerbated the situation.
Today as I sit here am I following in those same footsteps... in some ways yes, although my network of support is much better than he ever had.
He lost his parents long ago and all of his brothers died before the age of 65, he did have one sister still living but by all accounts they did not get along too well.
He was a difficult man to deal with and to be perfectly honest to you people reading this I never really liked him not even as a little kid.
Some days his presence annoyed the shit out of me, not that he beat me or abused me or anything one of my unfortunate personality gifts is I have this innate sense of reading people and processing who and what they are. I can sense people who are fake and deceptive and who are not true to themselves. My dad always seemed to care more about what other people thought of him more than what his own family thought of him.
If you ever met someone who gave you a wet noodle handshake or did not make good eye contact your gut can tell you all you need to know about someone. However my dad was a good showman and salesman to the outside world one of the first multi-million dollar black insurance salesmen in the country. He started several businesses from a gas station to a trucking company.
He married his one and only true love but royally fucked that up with his boorish behavior and chauvinistic persona and he treated my mom like a second class citizen as most men do.
But when she had the guts to finally get the hell out of dodge I was never prouder of her and I told my dad this he scoffed at first but the bottom line was he spent the rest of his life trying to get her back to no avail.
In the last decade or so conversing with him was next to impossible but I learned how to deal with being around him. My last conversation with him a few weeks ago was like talking to a child a shell of what he was bold and cocky and more than willing to give you his opinion even when it was not sought.
Did I love him yes, do I appreciate what he was in my life yes. He at least did what few men do these days and that is TRY to be a decent or even an available father. He made a lot of mistakes but he was a decent dude.
I am sometimes asked do I really believe the stuff I post here and the answer folks is… yes. Like it or not right or wrong much of who and what I am is because of my dad.
I did try to not repeat the mistakes he made parent wise and that was hit and miss. I never developed the need for attention, the ambition or the drive to be some big shot dude with lots of cars and women I don’t care about any of the shit because it is fleeting and meaningless, it is the real relationships and friendships that matter and unfortunately my dad’s personality never allowed him to make real, sustainable, substantive and valuable relationships.
Thank goodness I do have a few people who when I feel like I have painted myself into a mental corner they are willing and able to pull me out… thank you! That is the one mistake my dad made that I will work like hell not to duplicate. Be a friend... a true friend and Love strong and true.
He was a flawed man just like… well… ALL of us are, some more flawed or fucked up than others. We all crave the Leave it to Beaver father son relationships, mine was far from that but it did have its own value.
As I write this I do mourn and he will be missed. I sure hope he can finally rest in peace.
My biggest regret is that I never got to be with his true healthy self. I only saw glimpses of it. My dad I bet would have been a pretty cool dude to hang with back in the day. But he did what most of us do take what we truly have that is good in life and take it for granted.
If your dad is alive and all is well with you call him or hug him and if he is deserving, thank him. The sands in the hour glass continue to fall people, don’t waste time.

Peace, Gaius 

3 comments:

Phelps said...

You have my sincere condolences.

No man is an island.

beercan43 said...

Much like my Dad--but he did as he was taught/raised during the depression , then off to war He provided for his family as he knew how and did a decent job.

I never really was able to talk with him "man to man', as he always viewed me a little boy . He left early and I do miss him.

Anonymous said...

Condolences and hugs. No matter your relationship, losing your dad is hard, and I wish you peace and the comfort of your family as you deal with all of this.